LV222 : The temptation of bukelism | Vinius empty-handed | Lorgnette : commission uner control

Letter from La Vigie, dated 19 July 2023

The temptation of Bukelism

The recent riots in France showed that society was deeply divided and that the signals it was sending to those in power were not being heeded. While the latter are the guarantors of public order and tranquillity, recourse to Bukelism (in reference to the President of El Salvador) could be considered as a way of “closing ranks” among the population, a necessary condition for the implementation of a national strategy.

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Vilnius empty-handed

The Vilnius summit was billed as a renaissance. It has to be said that the results have been disappointing. President Zelesnky left empty-handed, a sign of the summit’s two unanswered questions: the first concerned the extent of support for Ukraine, and the second the strength of American interest in Europe.

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Lorgnette: Commission under control

The European Commission, headed by Ursula van der Leyen (nicknamed VDL), is once again at the centre of criticism. An American (Scott Morton) has been appointed Chief Economist in the Competition Directorate. Apart from her nationality, the fact that she has advised the likes of Apple, Amazon and Microsoft raises questions, given that one of the challenges facing the directorate will be to examine the weight of the American digital majors. This is problematic, as both Paris and the European Parliament have pointed out. In the end, she will not be taking up the post.

But this affair comes on the heels of several others, such as the text messages exchanged between Ms von der Leyen and Pfizer’s CEO at the time of covid, and the clumsy outbursts from the same VDL on international affairs, which is not her role but that of the High Representative.

Is this simply amateurism on her part? Remember that she was unconvincing in her previous ministerial post in Germany and that Berlin was very happy to get rid of her. Or is it a more or less conscious structural alignment with Washington? Just asking the question is embarrassing.


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LV 221 : Germany’s new security strategy | Croatian crossroads | Lorgnette : Legitimate violence

Letter from La Vigie, dated 5 JULY 2023

Germany’s new security strategy

Last June, Germany published its first-ever national security strategy. Even though the document is obviously general in scope and its concept of “integrated security” is not necessarily convincing, it has the merit of seeking to instil a culture of security in all Germans and to open up a democratic debate. France also has a special place in this strategy.

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Croatian crossroads

Croatia is traditionally seen as a Balkan country, although it also sees itself as a Central European country. A good pupil of the EU and NATO, it is gradually freeing itself from the historical legacy (Austro-Hungarian and Yugoslav) that has long corseted it. The Rafale purchase should encourage France to move closer to the country.

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Lorgnette: Legitimate violence

The recent riots in France have raised the question of violence in politics. It is seen by some as an alternative route when democratic processes are blocked. Thus, many have justified the violence committed during the Gilets jaunes crisis or the pension reform by a so-called democratic deficit. At least in these two cases there was a political background. This does not seem to be the case with the riots that have been shaking the country for the past few days: the observer gets the feeling of gratuitous, anarchic and destructive violence. While there are undoubtedly social, educational, police or judicial motives behind these actions, the violence nonetheless seems crude and lacking in any political objective.

Faced with this, the State must react and ensure public order. This is why lawyers explain that it has a monopoly on legitimate violence. Legitimacy comes from the sovereign people, who delegate to the State the task of organising life in society. The whole issue is that of the violence to be used in response to raw violence. Measuring violence is the way to confirm this legitimacy.

This is certainly a difficult task.


Photo crédit : archer10 (Dennis) on Visualhunt

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LV 214: The Second 21st Century: An Inventory Essay | The end of the American dream | Lorgnette: street violence

Letter from La Vige, dated 29 March 2023

The Second 21st Century: An Inventory Essay

Here is a first attempt at an inventory of the global governance that prevails after the change of strategic era caused by the Russian aggression in Ukraine. What has disappeared, what remains, what is emerging, what we do not know, the consequences for France … Uncertainties and vigilance

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The end of the American dream

America has lost its soft power and now only shows its hard power. Disinterested in the world’s margins, no longer able to influence the whole planet, it is pulling its European ally into its anti-China obsession, without seeing that the rest of the world is organising itself without it.

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Lorgnette: street violence

The successive demonstrations in France show a level of violence that is increasing. The precedents of the Notre-Dame des Landes ZAD and the Yellow Vests have indeed convinced many radicals that violence can change the course of things these days. The governmental retreats of the past authorise current audacities, which are all the more vivid because political life is sluggish. Whatever the legality of the political representations given by the institutions, the authorities have lost their majesty and therefore the auctoritas that accompanied them, and hence their legitimacy. But the disaffection with political power may go back further, when the 2005 referendum was disavowed two years later by a reform made on the sly.

Let us note that the democratic crisis is general, in Europe (Great Britain, Germany) or elsewhere (huge demonstrations in Israel). Elections do not guarantee democracy. Unfortunately, demonstrations rarely prevail, see the recent examples of Iran (LV 202), Sri Lanka (LV 190) or Algeria (file 11).

Political disorder leads to disorder in the streets. Politics needs to be refounded.


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La Vigie Nr 127 : The incredible Mr Trump – Europe, a continent? Lorgnette: Face to face

La Vigie Nr 127 : 16 October 2019

The incredible Mr. Trump

the American political scene has been shaken for several weeks by cases originating in the country’s foreign policy: here the “Ukrainian case”, there the Turkish offensive in northern Syria. Each time, an initiative of President Trump that provokes uproar inside: a procedure of dismissal is thus launched while the Republican Party is deeply moved by the betrayal against the Kurds. No one knows yet whether this is a turning point, but these events demonstrate the deep distrust of the United States, torn between its interests and its values.

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Europe, a continent?

At a time when the future of the European institutions is more uncertain than ever with the looming Brexit crisis, we are wondering what defines Europe’s geopolitical uniqueness. Europe is not the result of chance, it is determined by constants and France is representative of this Continent which transcends the ups and downs of current events.

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The Lorgnette: Face to Face

The face becomes a geopolitical object. Indeed, many contemporary debates raise the question of the visibility of the face. First of all, here is the question of the Islamic veil and in particular the veil hiding the face, the burka. In an open society, can you hide your face on the street? No,” replied the Hong Kong leaders, who are facing massive demonstrations in which opponents of the pro-Chinese government veil their faces in the name of their democratic struggle: can hiding their faces be a sign of oppression, a sign of freedom?

The question is all the more difficult because, beyond this question of public order, there is another question: that of governments’ control over the social life of citizens. This is basically the debate that Mr Cedric O, Secretary of State for Digital Technology, is asking when he says that manufacturers must experiment with facial recognition and that, at the same time, we need safeguards.

Once again, technology appears to be ahead of the law and there are abuses of civil liberties in China that it could allow.

The face is a subject of freedom.


N° 88 : Citizens mobilization | Economic reason, political reason | Nuclear posture review

La vigie, 14th Feb 2018.

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Citizens mobilization

the SNU, universal national service under examination is a short citizen conscription that closes the civic training process provided by the National Education. Breaking with the outmoded practice of military service, the unequalitarianism of the national service, it will have to preserve however the variety of civic sectors preparing for civic responsibility. To strengthen the cohesion of the country and mobilize youth on the same republican project, it is desirable to favor citizen conscription for all in the year of 18.


Economic reason, political reason

Since the 1980s, we have been living under the economic reason that undeniably dominates political reason. Globalization has initially reinforced this trend, but we have been witnessing, for the last ten years or so, a slow shift towards the return of political reason. Here is the real contemporary cleavage, more than the one between openness or closure, liberties or populism, conservatives or progressists.

Lorgnette : Nuclear posture review


Crédit photo :  Eric Constantineau – on Visualhunt /CC BY-NC

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