LV 151 : Behind the wall | What does America tell us ? | Lorgnette : High-Karabakh

Letter from La Vigie n° 151 of September 30, 2020

Withdrawal behind the wall

The construction of walls is accelerating in this world. However, this tactical mode of action has never been able to contribute structurally to sustainable strategic action. Similarly, it reflects a withdrawal into oneself and a fear of the other when we need dialectics.

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What does America tell us?

The American election campaign is particularly abnormal: not only because of Covid, but also because it demonstrates the confrontation, block by block, of two irreconcilable Americas ready to fight, refusing in advance the victory of the other side. Beyond the disappearance of the WASP cement, it is a conception of modernity that is moving away. Finally, this issue of La Vigie looks at the consequences of the victory of D. Trump or that of J. Biden: in both cases, the prospects are not great.

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Lorgnette : Nagorno-Karabakh

Should we be surprised at the resumption of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan? No. First of all, because the dispute is ancestral and we see no negotiated solution to this conflict. Moreover, the outbursts of recent days seem to have been orchestrated more for internal reasons on the Baku side than by the desire to regain military control of this territory. The fact remains that the cannons have spoken and that some are alarmed.

Let us recall here that a frozen conflict does not mean an extinguished conflict: the freezing only means that it does not degenerate, but that it is maintained, on the other hand, by more or less noisy or deadly skirmishes. By this yardstick, the battle of the last few days would be normal.

For all that, it is at odds with Azerbaijan’s skillful policy (LV 134). The two great godfathers of the region, Russia and Iran, should quickly signal the end of the episode in Baku. But this is counting without the Turkish activism, about which one wonders here what he is pursuing: in the complicated multi-band game of the East, this is probably not about the Transcaucasus but more likely a message to Moscow and Tehran.

JOCV

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La Vigie Nr 140 : Coronacrisis : a strategic recession ? | Covid in America : the flip-flop | Lorgnette : truce in Yemen

Letter from La Vigie, 15 April 2020

Coronacrise: a strategic recession?

A few ideas for France and Europe for waiting to prepare for a form of strategic recession on the planet and get out of a few probable impasses. The world according to the coronacrisisremains undetermined for some time.

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Covid in America: the flip-flop

America is now the epicentre of the global pandemic with exceptional figures confirming that it remains the country of all extremes. The political, economic, military and diplomatic consequences are already numerous. However, this crisis is accelerating the turning point that has already begun in the 21st century, that of leaving American centrality.

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Lorgnette: truce in Yemen

Coronacrise precipitates events. By a trick of history, the pandemic that strikes the royal families of Saudi Arabia causes in Riyadh a notable evolution: that to stop the expenses in Yemen.

Everyone knows that this war was ordered by the impetuous Mohamed ben Salman, who believed he could easily and by force resolve the Yemeni imbroglio. This conflict, which has been going on since 2015, has led to the intervention of a Saudi coalition. It has never managed to achieve its goals, including that of driving the houthists out of their positions in the North of the country. The conflict has caused more than 110,000 deaths and the worst humanitarian crisis of the moment.

That is why the Kingdom offered a ceasefire last week, which was rejected by the houthis, who never believed the Saudi offers and are in the process of retaking Marib province. They are in a position of strength and de facto, Arabia finds that it has lost the war. The issue at stake is how to settle the accounts and manage relations with Iran. But a first case of Covid 19 in Yemen risks accelerating things and pushing the Saudis to withdraw unilaterally.

JOCV

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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.

JOCV

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 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!

To read La Vigie Nr 116, click here

JDOK

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 n° 97 (20 June 2018) : Kim-Trump : Two winners ? – Governance : towards syncretism – Seen from la Lorgnette : Aquarius

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

Kim-Trump : Two winners ?

The recent Singapore summit between Presidents Kim and Trump resulted in a rather flat and uncompromising statement: yet both protagonists were very satisfied. However, this is not a “win-win” agreement, since basically everyone thinks they have deceived each other. In fact, beyond the nuclear issue (yet nothing less than anodyne), the most interesting lies in the ulterior motives of the two leaders. They did not say a word and no commentator has deciphered their real calculations. They are much more subtle than we think.

Governance : towards syncretism

To save the idea of a minimal governance of the planet, we will have to introduce a dose of diversity in the principles and values that administer it, especially at the regional level because the universal always has a local color. To preserve the gains of the old multilateral structures that are going down (UN, NATO, EU), it will be necessary to focus on identifying the factors of peace and development that they carry. To contribute, France must be out of alignment.

La Lorgnette : Aquarius

 

JDOK

La Vigie n° 95 (free) – 23 May 2018 : Trump, Iran, and impotent Europe – An impossible regulation – Lorgnette : Iraqi populism

Lettre n° 95,  La Vigie 23 May 2018

 

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Trump, Iran, and impotent Europe

Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal only surprised the gullible. It confirms an electoral promise and implements its policy of questioning the state of the world. Of course, it has consequences in the Middle East and on the nuclear order. Above all, it has very deep economic effects that affect Europeans first and foremost. These are in the hour of truth, realizing that the rogue state is not the one they believed. Will they react firmly or will they demonstrate, once again, their helplessness?

 

An impossible regulation

Control and regulate the strategic nuclear system has been a long process slow to establish itself in the bipolar world of the cold war. Deregulation began at the end of this one with multipolarity, tolerances, exceptions and manipulations. It is growing with the US withdrawal of the 2015′ Iranian agreement that threatens the exit of the Korean stalemate, ignores the need for nuclear power, sends countries to reassure towards a creeping military nuclear proliferation. Nuclear disarmament is not for tomorrow.

Lorgnette :  Iraqi populism

JDOK

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n° 92 (10 April 2018) : Nuclear Patchwork – Time is covering – Homicides in Brasil

La Vigie, n° 92 :

Nuclear patchwork

The Cold War was based on a very deep ideological rift between two well-identified camps. This opposition was a perfect match for the construction of a nuclear deterrence based on the strategic dialectic between two actors. Today, the complexity has settled: not only are there several theaters of nuclear opposition, but these still bring together more than two actors and finally, there is now a general connection of these local theatres, without a super actor to polarize the whole. Therefore, a new strategic grammar seems necessary to think about this nuclear patchwork.

Time is covering

The political guaranty and the moral advantage that the countries of freedom derived from their virtuous behavior in the service of global governance have eroded with the wave of globalization whose economic stakes have perverted democracies. In the absence of any benevolent leadership and possible internatioanl regulation, sanctions are resorted to and dangerous games of intimidation are played. It’s a collective regression. Other political and strategic models could then emerge, devoting effective alternative actors. Weather is getting worse.

Lorgnette : Homicides in Brasil

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JDOK

 

Indecisive decisions

Observers of international affairs sometimes have trouble understanding the scope of the decisions announced with much communication.

Last week, two examples of these « indecisive decisions » were offered up to us.

A savoir avant de se décider Source

The first is that of Carles Puigdemont, the leader of the Catalan independence movement. After having been constantly maximalist these past five years, always choosing the most radical way, he’s hesitating. While he had just organized a referendum, albeit very controversial and foregoing any democratic guarantees we can expect from any State, be it African or fallen under the watchful eye of the « International Community », here he is balking at the ultimate hurdle. Declaring without really declaring, but declaring Catalan independence and provoking dissatisfaction from everyone, Spaniards and Catalans alike whether they are anti-independence, or fairly to vehemently pro-independence… Mind boggling. In fact, the Spanish PM, Mr Rajoy asked Mr Puigdemont to clarify what he meant by his obtuse declaration…

The second is the declaration of D. Trump voicing all the bad things he had to say about the Iranian nuclear deal, and then in the end asked Congress to seriously think about it even if he thinks they shouldn’t certify the deal. Do you understand ? We don’t. Is he for it ? Against it ? He’s against it, but not enough to it, just enough to not say he’s for it.  So here we have a non-decision that only has disadvantages : It aggravates the Iranians, turns the International Community against him, doesn’t weigh in the balance, leaves it up to Congress…(see Thomas Flichy de La Neuville‘s article).

Many examples of these non-decisive decisions could be given.

They illustrate the contemporary difficulty with doing real politics. The end of ideologies and collective causes prevents the formation of new divides that orders society and incites them to regulate themselves. An impression of disorder and inefficiency then follows due to the gap between a system that is too complex and the peoples aspiration for cut and dry simplicity. Non-completion becomes the norm and clogs up situations in unsatisfactory middle ground.

Deciding ?  An illusion !

 

JDOK