LV 134 : New military strategies | Clever Azerbaijan | Sahel, no Pau

Lettre from La Vigie, dated 22 JAN 2020

New military strategies

Military strategy must articulate both nuclear strategy and the response to asymmetric adversaries. Without dwelling on fashionable concepts (Hybrid Warfare, A2/AD), let us note the return to concerns of high-intensity warfare, which had been forgotten. Opposition between peers or quasi-peers is back on the agenda, without overshadowing other priorities. 2020 is an opportunity to think calmly before the turmoil of the next presidential campaign and the subsequent LPM.

Clever Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is thus on the borders of Europe and Asia, the Russian world and the Middle East, and is of interest to both China and the United States. As a Muslim, Shiite and secular country, it has just presided over the Non-Aligned Movement. Rich in abundant oil, it does not waste this income and succeeds, thanks to skilful diplomacy, in asserting its interests despite the persistent dispute with neighbouring Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. These are all exceptions which would almost be worthy of a model and in any case arouse interest.

Lorgnette: Sahel, no Pau

France convened the leaders of the five G5 Sahel countries at a summit in Pau last week. It asked them, as it were, to confirm their desire to see France intervene in the region, in particular through Operation Barkhane. It was a question of finding political support at a time when the French presence is routinely decried in regional public opinion. In short, to force the said governments to come out of their duplicity. In exchange, France announced the dispatch of 220 additional troops and the refocusing of the operation on the Tri-border region.

220 troops is a 5% reinforcement: no one will believe that this can change the balance of power. As for the concentration on the three borders, it is a change that is at best operative, it certainly has no strategic significance. As for the rest, nothing changes and the stalemate will continue. For the old moons that have been proper and ineffective for decades will continue without changing the political behaviour of the region’s rulers: what if we put them face to face with their responsibilities?

JOCV

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La Vigie Nr 125 : The growing importance of strategic intelligence | Strategic reliability | Lorgnette : Saudi Arabia is burning

The growing importance of strategic intelligence

Strategic intelligence is an increasingly crucial activity for many organizations facing infobesity. It serves strategic objectives (anticipation, security and mobilization), does not only operate outwards and is not limited to improved documentation: it must take into account the contemporary hostile environment where information is both energy and weapon.

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Strategic reliability

The reliability of a strategy is assessed with several indicators: its ability to manage uncertainty and assess possibilities, its pragmatism and agility in the face of the unexpected, its ability to combine determination and restraint… It is an essential factor in its sustainability and in the consolidation of the country’s security interests.

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Lorgnette: Saudi Arabia is burning

A coordinated attack by air seriously damaged a Saudi oil site on 14 September: it is not known whether they are drones or missiles or where they come from (Yemen, Iraq, Iran?) and who fired them. The reduction in production capacity has led to a surge in oil prices and affected markets. And yet, while the accusations flourished very early on, there was some restraint in Washington and Riyadh . Here, the bogging down in Yemen highlights the war limits of the kingdom, which cannot engage in an open conflict with its Iranian rival. Here, an already open election campaign is preventing President Trump from opening a new front, against the deep desire of his electorate.

Let us move on to the capacity limits of ground-to-air protection (detection and destruction) in the Saudi kingdom or to the surprising technical innovations of an aggressor capable of launching a salvo of devices operating several hundred kilometres away: let us note the boldness of this strategic initiative and its success, as it reveals the military and political limits of the American-Saudi alliance.

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JDOK

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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