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.
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.
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.
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.