LV 241 : Raids in the Middle East and the threshold of disuasion | NATO’s decoupling | Lorgnette: 7 years on

Letter from La Vigie, dated 1st May 2024

Raids in the Middle East and the threshold of disuasion

The reciprocal attack by Iran and Israel in April was the first direct aggression against the Hebrew state for decades: a threshold of escalation has been crossed. But it pits two powers on the nuclear threshold against each other: does the classic grammar of deterrence still apply?

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NATO’s decoupling

The entry of the first Russian troops into Ukraine prompted NATO member states to support the invaded country. European voices then proclaimed that the Alliance was being strengthened, as evidenced by the accession of Sweden and Finland. However, decoupling mechanisms (not just transatlantic) are at work, threatening the Alliance’s very survival.

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Lorgnette: 7 years on

7 years after the 1st speech at the Sorbonne (LV 107), 3 pages of text later, where does France and Europe stand? A list of successes, still implacable observations, progress to be made, incentives to build the European pillar of the Alliance, to implement common strategies, to apply the strategic compass, to rethink energy and agricultural policies, to use France’s nuclear weapons to protect Europe…

There’s nothing fundamentally new here, apart from the fact that we can guess at the impact of farmers’ protests against rising energy prices. We have already dealt with these issues in a previous issue (LV 237), which gives this speech a surprising tone. Can we keep repeating the same observations and the same proposals, betting on our listeners’ amnesia? Some of the German press echoed this perplexity, while French columnists did not hesitate to evoke a “strategic rupture”… Europe is thus at a turning point in the face of uninhibited powers, the risk of falling behind, and the battle of the imagination. “I have come to talk to you about Europe”, he said 7 years ago.

What if we were now to take action?


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La Vigie Nr 196 : NATO: Renaissance or mere respite? | The drone-cannon couple | Lorgnette: Supreme division

Letter from La Vigie, 6 July 2022

NATO: Renaissance or mere respite?

The Atlantic Alliance summit held in Madrid at the end of June showed a renewed unity of the Allies after three difficult years. The war in Ukraine has simplified the common approach, which has resulted in a new concept, the accession of two new members and a strengthened defensive posture. However, structural differences remain and the proclaimed renaissance may be no more than a respite.

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The drone-cannon couple

The recent conflicts in the Caucasus and Ukraine have revealed the complementarity of the drone and the artillery gun. However, this tactical innovation, which is based on known and potentially cheap components, raises new questions. How are our armies preparing for these new threats? Is it still possible to extend the drone’s field of action? Is autonomous production of each component of this couple possible?

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Lorgnette: Supreme division

The recent decision of the US Supreme Court has already caused a lot of ink to flow. The Vigil will not comment on the legality of this court decision, let alone the substance of the problem.

On the other hand, it must be noted that it reinforces de facto the creeping division of the country. We in LV have long signalled the end of the ‘consensus on consensus’ in American politics. Until now, institutions have always triumphed over partisanship. However, it was a close call on 6 January 2020 when, unlike 6 February 1934 in France, the crowd entered Parliament.

Another institution with recognised legitimacy, the Supreme Court, is reviving a debate that shows no signs of abating. By referring the decision to the local constitutions, it justifies in advance the local decisions that will be taken on the outcome of the elections. All that is needed is for them to be close (all indications are that they will be) and the coup that almost took place will this time be legalised.

American disunity threatens and this should worry us, much more than all the strategic shifts of the moment, even if they are particularly numerous.

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Photo credit: NATO

La Vigie Nr 129 (Free) : Europe and the North – Dead NATO – Lorgnette : Social and geopolitics

Letter from La Vigie, posted on 13 Novembre 2019 (free reading)

Europe and the North

The margins of Northern Europe are an area that is not well known in France and yet essential for European balance. We analyse the Nordic countries’ tension between Washington and Moscow as they try to maintain a European foothold. This area is of interest to France in the development of its Arctic strategy and towards Russia, but also and above all in the context of its European strategy.

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President Macron’s interview with The Economist has the merit of saying out loud what was being whispered in small circles: at least the next Alliance summit in London next month will be interesting. These words are thoughtful and not just a short sentence: they are the result of a thoughtful diagnosis of the transatlantic link and Europe’s raison d’être. E. Macron can be blamed for a very French arrogance: but this is perhaps still the French exception, that of saying necessary things even if they seem unpleasant.

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Lorgnette: Social and geopolitics

What does WhatsApp have in common with a metro ticket? Not much: the proposed tax on the former has triggered the largest protest movement in Lebanon in years; the increase in the latter has had the same result in Chile. We have talked a lot about revolts (Algeria, LV 112 and DS 11; Sudan: LV 115 and 123) or social movements (Brazil LV 104; Yellow jackets: LV 106 and 109). Everywhere, demonstrations are mobilizing crowds who no longer have confidence in their governments: in addition to the examples cited, let us mention the cases of Hong Kong, Iraq, Guinea, Ecuador and Catalonia.

There are many reasons for this: the fight against corruption or the rejection of an oppressive system, they all have in common a willingness to be listened and the search for the common good, which the elites in power are accused of not wanting (or being able) to develop.

Let us note a globalization of demonstrations, for various reasons but with mobilizations that are not drying up and that time or repression are having difficulty extinguishing. This is a new factor that cannot be overlooked.


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La Vigie Nr 110 : Demographic impact | NATO : friend’s discord | Lorgnette : The Aachen chapel treaty

La Vigie Nr 110 (30 JAN 2019)

Demographic impact

The strategic impact of the demographic revolution that has seen the world’s population triple since the end of the Second World War is considerable. To go around is to evaluate the new geopolitics of the peoples, to question the African trajectory and to worry about the residual relevance of a world governance that this revolution has jostled.

NATO : friend’s discord

The Atlantic Alliance was born out of war, in the face of the Soviet threat. It had then been recycled, between European unification and an expeditionary model. But threats to the east or south were no longer enough to maintain its cohesion, while European disunity and D. Trump’s anti-atlantic instinct dissolved it deeply. The Alliance seems to be at the end of its rope.

Lorgnette : The Aachen chapel treaty

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