La Vigie Nr 123 (double issue) : Lassitude | Miscellaneous | Sudan : end of games | Commanding space | Reading stickers

La VIgie Nr 123 ( 31 JUL 2019)

Strategic fatigue

In the face of approximations and inconsistencies, weariness becomes the strategist’s fatigue. It must recall some obvious facts: the false concept of weapons of mass destruction, which combine special tactical weapons and weapons of strategic superiority in a catch-all; the vicissitudes of arms control; and finally, the strategic confusion of inclusiveness, a new French strategic dogma that mixes everything up without really deciding anything.

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Lorgnette 1: Political Miscellanea

The first half of the year was full of political reflections, those prompted by the Treaty of Versailles or the 75th anniversary of the D-day. We also enjoyed reading the Tocqueville Conversations, which this year dealt with the future of nations and the debates on Brexit and European disorder. As is often the case, it is a question of the past and the future, the contours of which are difficult to define in the present. But if history never repeats itself, it always continues. To ignore it would be a mistake. The nation-state of the 20th century is transformed into a connected state of the 19th century. But then what to keep from the past? What European, Community and strategic achievements should be preserved? What lessons can be learned from missed appointments and peace? The time for the collective heroism of peoples has passed, but their dispersion in singular trajectories will not be progress. In Europe more than elsewhere, inter-state disasters have been experienced. We need different rules of the game on the Eurasian continent to manage our nations, which are being blamed for inclusive globalisation. So instead of claiming innocence, i.e. to a justice without force, let us try to be a little stronger, even at the risk of being a little less just (Pierre Manent).

Sudan: end of game?

The death of the Tunisian president reminds us that popular pressure can change the system. The Algerian victory in football delays the blocking of this pressure. Finally, the agreement in Sudan gives the illusion that the system is changing: it is probably only an illusion, the dual regime put in place probably allowing the extension of the power system.

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Lorgnette 2: Commanding space

France will soon have a military space command: The new space strategy recently presented provides for a real space force (new surveillance satellites, nano-satellites, small reactive launchers, power lasers). Everything would be launched from 2023 (next five-year period). 700 million have been generated on the current LPM, €1.5 billion on the next. The doctrine would be aligned with that of deterrence: active but not offensive and “not first engagement”, in order to protect and defend our space interests. Of course, this will be done in a Europeanised framework (no one notes the German delay in this area). The new space command will be installed in Toulouse while the 2008 Space Operations Act will be reviewed to allow for genuine military specificity.

This new strategy acknowledges the ongoing arms race, driven both by the proliferation of state actors (Japan, China, India) and private actors. Space was placed between deterrence and intelligence: it is now becoming autonomous. The Air Force is in charge of it.

Reading stickers :

Some books we read : Les défis chinois (E. de La Maisonneuve) – La mesure de la force (M. Motte) – Vision(s) du monde (Ch. Grataloup) – La puissance au XXIè siècle (P. Bühler) – L’orthodoxie (N. Kazarian) – L’affolement du monde (Th. Gomart) – L’archipel français (J. Fourquet) – Le désert et la source (R. Cagnat) – La France et l’Otan en Syrie (R. Hureaux) – Les guerriers de l’ombre (JC Notin) – Babel minute zéro (GP Goldstein) – Piège au levant (R. Pietrini) – La bombe d’Alger (M. Bowman) – Les invasions allemandes (N. Isigny).

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JDOK

La Vigie Nr 122 : Pariahs and States | Under the thresholds | Lognette : In Kosovo

La Vigie Nr 122 : 17 JUL 2019

Pariahs and States

The current conflicts are often the result of the inability of international society to enable communities to establish themselves as viable and stable states. The reason is to be found in the dislocation of empire systems that leave orphaned peoples, in the inconsistent diversification of international law and in the transformation of international actors. To regulate global tensions, we must offer everyone the perspective of the state they need.

Under the thresholds

The notion of threshold has been well known to strategists since the development of nuclear deterrence. Below the threshold, we would live under the reign of conventional warfare. Yet, in the post-Cold War world, this category struggles to explain all the conflicts we have experienced over the past thirty years and, above all, the latent but intense conflict of the contemporary world. It is therefore necessary to determine a new threshold, well below the nuclear threshold: it allows a better understanding of the conflicts of the moment.

Lorgnette : In Kosovo

There was to be a summit in Paris in early July between Serbia, Kosovo, Germany and France. It was cancelled. The diplomats hoped to resolve a political dispute that had been dragging on for 20 years: the separation of Kosovo from Serbia. There was a conflict, a NATO operation and since then things have calmed down: the time has come for negotiation.

We know the principles, since both Belgrade and Pristina agree to proceed with territorial exchanges. However, this ancestral practice seems extremely complicated to carry out.

The first reason is public opinion, whether Serbian or Kosovian. However, prior media preparation should succeed in overcoming the obstacle. Secondly, the two capitals have recently adopted blocking measures that will have to be lifted to allow discussion: the ultimate firm stance before the negotiation, or lasting stiffening? To see. Finally, Germany is not very much in favour of the principle of land exchange. This is the most embarrassing, because it introduces a principle of the inviolability of borders that is pernicious and counterproductive.

So let’s make way for diplomats….

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JDOK

La Vigie Nr 121 : There is no cyberwar | Equation of strategy | Lorgnette : Desescalation

La Vigie Nr 121, 3 July 2019

There is no cyberwar

The term cyberwar sounds good and is regularly used by many: Yet it is false, which does not mean that there is no latent cyberconflict marked by opposition by all against all. Moreover, war does not ignore cyberspace because there is on the contrary a lot of cyberspace in the conduct of war and military operations.

Equation of strategy

the Grand strategy is the art of combinations. The equation of the strategy of France is simple to state, mixture of defense of interests, exercise of responsibilities, values assumed, valued assets and compensated weaknesses. In the current strategic slump it is difficult to establish, especially in the presence of a deep European crisis and a breakdown of multilateralism.

Lorgnette : desescalation

Between Iran and the United States, the rag has been burning for weeks and observers are struggling to decipher threatening speeches, avenging invective and provocative statements. It should be noted that the deregulation initiative has come from Washington for the past two years, from a president who has thrown away the Paris Agreement, the Iranian JCPoA, the INF Treaty and any multilateral mechanism that would undermine the position of strength from which he wants to restore the dominance of American interests in the world. It was noted with interest that the European clan had remained united in preserving this agreement with Iran and that it had engaged in resolute resistance to the American position. The West is nothing more than a fiction, interests and methods diverge.
There remain two embarrassed countries that are trying to get in touch with each other with the assets to do so, Japan and France, whose strategic analyses are converging more and more, particularly on maritime issues. At the last G20 meeting, which was quite disappointing, they were also responsible for de-escalating the situation.
De-escalation is the great strategy of which France must be the tireless craftsman in the world (LV 89).

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JDOK

La Vigie Nr 119 : Innovation and prospective | A European army ? | Lorgnette : changing era in Japan

La Vigie, Strategic Letter, Nr 119, 5 June 2019

Innovation and prospective

Innovation and prospective studies are two methods to understand the future. They contribute to the strategy in a different way. They are not exclusively technological, contrary to a common perception. Useful, they must also give way to a change in approach to strategic thinking: an innovation, in essence.

A European army ?

The European army generates interest again even if it remains a tight conjecture between NATO and EU. Despite multiple attempts, it will probably emerge only from a deep reflection on the European geostrategic space. But it could already begin with a local security neighborhood coordination within the flexible framework of a European guard.

Lorgnette : changing era in Japan

A calendar is also a representation of the world. Muslims date their years from the Hegira, the Japanese speak in eras… Thus, Japan has just changed imperial era on the occasion of the advent of the new emperor, Naruhito, who succeeded his father Akihito. The land of the rising sun thus passes from the Heisei era to the Reiwa era, which can be translated as “beautiful harmony”, which is intended to herald a new spring.

However, this change is still a challenge, given Japan’s seemingly unchanging nature. Having become the bridge between the Far East and the West, anchored in the Western camp, downgraded to 3rd world economic power (thanks to China’s rise and 30 years of unfavourable economic conditions), the leading conservatism keeps Japanese society very far from Western standards.

Paradoxically, it is in tune with the new international mood, which is undoubtedly very attentive to the roots to be preserved in the face of the standardization of globalization. This permanence goes hand in hand with advanced technology and a certain market economy. A formula to be observed because it may herald spring.

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JDOK

La Vigie Nr 116 : Common good and defence | Notre-Dame revelation | Lorgnette : Trump and Mueller

La Vigie Nr 116 (24th April 2016)

Common good and defence

How to define and defend the common good for France in the current emotion? It will be assumed to be the result of an unacceptable common and a shared desirable . There will be concern about a latent distortion between a mobilized population whose frustrations have been expressed by the Yellow Vests and a political elite that wants to value France in its own way in globalization.

Notre-Dame revelation

The Notre-Dame fire immediately shut down all conversations. Suddenly, a “patrimonial emotion” appeared, a collective and first French emotion in the face of an affected heritage. A public good beyond all value, the mutilated cathedral touched the souls of the French because Notre-Dame brought together the opposites, sacred religious and sacred national at the same time. Some official reactions immediately appeared staggered, yet the international surge of compassion reminded us that the world still expects something exceptional from France. This expectation of France is now too often disappointed by uprooted leaders.

Lorgnette : Trump and Mueller

The Mueller report was therefore made public and the opposition to President Trump is very disappointed: there was no collusion or even direct obstruction of justice.

Let us first pay tribute to this American democracy, capable of challenging a president through a public inquiry and at the same time acknowledging, at the end of the day, that there is no fault (even if there are many ambiguities). Not that Trump was perfectly honest, not that there was any confusion, not that the Russians did not want to influence the election: but nothing that goes beyond the limits and practices.

To the great displeasure of the Democrats. Because most of their political discourse over the past two years has been based on the “stolen election”. However, D. Trump won “in the regular” (in the face of a bad campaign by a bad candidate) and above all, it shows a radical evolution already demonstrated by B. Obama: the one that refuses the takeover of an establishment dictating what to say and think but ultimately serving the interests of a few. And so, the aspiration for a real democratic return that had become outdated under the influence of economism (LV 88). Doesn’t the lesson learned also apply to Europe and France!

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JDOK

La Vigie Nr 108 (2 JAN 2019) : Clarification in Syria | Perspective 2019 | Lorgnette : Fraternity

Lettre de La Vigie (2 JAN 2019)

Clarification in Syria 

President Trump’s decision to withdraw French troops from Syria is a clear indication of realism. Turkish President Erdogan hoped to take advantage of this to defeat the Syrian Kurds, but they reached an agreement with the legal government in Damascus, which found a way to regain even more control over its territory. As for France, it still gives moral lessons without effect.

Perspective 2019

The strategic deregulation observed in 2018 should continue even if most of the security of France will be played first on the domestic scene with the overhaul of the current political project and the reconstitution of a common base with neighbors themselves weakened. The world march should take a more regional turn and global governance continue to deteriorate.

Lorgnette : Fraternity

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JDOK

La Vigie Nr 101, (26 SEP 2018) : The return of military services – Strategic genetic coding – Lorgnette’s view: CHOD’s strategic vision

La Vigie, Nr 101, 26 Sept 2018

The return of military services

The universal national service (SNU) which is established in France will have very little military character: military service is often considered obsolete. However, several countries are in the process of resettling it, in Europe and Africa. The reasons are diverse: strategic, military, social or political, often with a mixture of all these reasons. Is this movement a mere coincidence or does it reflect something more significant? What is its strategic significance? Can we draw ideas for the French SNU, for example, the initiation of a cybersecurity module for all the young people who will be passing through it?

Strategic genetic coding 

European countries with their business cards marked by strong national strategic experiences are struggling to find themselves in a European project that tends to converge with a globalization that is drying up. This is because the people of the old world have their own strategic code that states can not free themselves from and that the economic genetics of the EU can hardly take into account either. Elsewhere, however, American, Russian, Chinese or Turkish power affirmations are shaking up the rules of the game of power. France does not find it easily.

 

Lorgnette’s view: CHOD’s strategic vision

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JD & OK

La Vigie Nr 100 (12 SEP 2018) : A vicious strategic circle – The end of atlanticism – Lorgnette : conference of ambassadors – Fall readings

La Vigie n° 99, a strategic letter by Jean Dufourcq et Olivier Kempf

A vicious strategic circle

Disqualifying the classic war has facilitated strategic terrorism; by declassifying nations and states, the governance of the world has been delegated to transversal forces. These two vicious circles by combining creates a general confusion against which we must fight, particularly in France by a large strategy articulated on the return to civil peace in the interior and a new ambition of regional neighborhood abroad. Such is the thesis of this issue number 100.

The end of atlanticism

We must note the end of Atlanticism, visible as well at the last summit of the G7 as at that of NATO. This project, born during the Second World War, closer to what some call “the West”, brings together both banks of the Atlantic on an economic, military and moral domination. Now, these three factors disappear simultaneously, and D. Trump is more of a revelator than a trigger for this movement that comes from far away. The decline seems irreversible, but many conservatives believe they can thwart it rather than build new strategic forms.

Lorgnette : conference of ambassadors

Fall readings

JDOK

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La Vigie Nr 98 (4 July 2018) : Building the balance of power – Farewell old Europe – From lorgnette :Deraa and realism

Letter n° 97,  La Vigie, 20th  June 2018 (to read this issue in French, clic here)

Building the balance of power

Conflictuality evolves and breaks down into various modes of friction: games of go, chess games, commercial negotiations. To be respected requires more than ever a combination of scattered actions by multiple actors in various fields of action. For France, an obligation of lucidity, coherence, strategic planning and internal exemplarity to try to weigh on the march of the world.

Farewell old Europe

Europe is more than the EU, it is a distinct geographical reality characterized by its unity and its differences. The EU was built to solve a European civil war, according to an ambiguous division of power between an unpopular technocracy and states retaining the reality of the decisions: this mechanism was seized, first with the crisis of 2008 then that of the migrants . As for NATO, it falters because of D. Trump who doubts its usefulness. Initiatives are flourishing in both western and eastern Europe. The institutional mechanism built after the Second World War is running out of steam and we are only beginning to discern what will succeed it.

Seen from lorgnette :Deraa and realism

JDOK

N° 83 : Neo-Caledonian stake | Digital strategy | Lorgnette : Diplomacy and strategy

 

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Neo-Caledonian stake : In a year, New Caledonia, French Asiatic territory, will have redefined the terms of reference of its sovereignty as provided by the Nouméa agreements (1998). It is possible that this political TRendez-vous will lead to an original form of independence delegating in return to France a part of its strategic responsibilities. This formula could serve as a basis for other statutory developments of the French overseas and to draw a new personality of a plural France on a world scale

Digital strategy : Far from the public fantasies around Artificial Intelligence, the armed forces are facing the fourth computer revolution, after that of the personal computer, its networking and social networks. The digital transformation is thus a new challenge that will be added to those of C4 and cyber. From the Internet of Things to Cloud Infrastructure, from Augmented Reality to Artificial Intelligence, here are so many strategic challenges that need to be tackled, from the technical, tactical, strategic or skills point of view: a new field of reflection opens up to us.

Lorgnette: Diplomacy and strategy

JDOK

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