LV 234: In war, there is only wealth in men | Depolarisation | Lorgnette : Other Eastern tensions

Letter from La Vigie, 24th January 2024


In war, there is only wealth in men

For three decades, it was thought that expeditionary wars required professional soldiers. The wars of the 21st century show that the debate between quality and quantity, cannon fodder and technology, professionalisation or conscription, active and reserves, nationals and foreigners needs to be revisited.

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With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the polarised world gave way to a unipolar moment and then to a multipolar world. The proliferation of conflicts that no single power has been able to stop, the collapse of political movements, cultural bases and economic models have led to the emergence of a depolarised world prey to the appetites of the most voracious. However, France has the means to take advantage of this particular moment to reassert itself so that it does not have to choose voluntary servitude.

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Lorgnette: other Eastern tensions

For many analysts, the main issue in the Far East is the Chinese question, with regard to its neighbours or the United States. But the Korean question is likely to become much more sensitive. Last year, Kim Jong-Un stepped up his demonstrations of force (ballistic missile tests), which he is continuing this year: bombing of Yeonpyeong Island, testing of an underwater weapon and a hypersonic IRBM missile. The Constitution once again designates South Korea as the first hostile country.

In South Korea, after attempts at détente (LV 90), a hardening is underway (LV 211), which will be the focus of the April elections. But Kim was humiliated by the negotiations with D. Trump in 2016 (the latter left the table before the end of the talks). He sees that America is embroiled in multiple crises and is in an election year. He has strengthened his ties with Russia and delivered millions of shells for the war in Ukraine. V. Putin will visit Pyongyang this year.

Bluff again or march to war? The Ukrainian example may have given the Korean leader some ideas, despite China’s opposition to this tension.


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Persistent nuclear background noise

As the summer is drawing to a close, the pressure around North Korea’s nuclear power is monopolizing attention (as is Iran’s request, to a lesser degree). Their lead correspondent being the United State’s, the world’s biggest nuclear power. But in the beginning of summer, we remember the resignation of the « C.E.M.A »(Chief of the general staff headquarters of the Armies) during a budget related controversy due to, amongst other things, the renewal of our strategic nuclear arsenal.

Let us not forget that the nuclear issue is a passionate one, and that from Hiroshima to Fukushima to Chernobyl, it rouses the sciences as much as consciences.


So where does our reluctance, nay our overall hostility for the exploitation of the atom come from? The answer is well known: From it’s first use which was a military one, and a tragic one.

The military use of the atom stems from the great scientific adventure of the 1920’s that was then put to use by the military necessities of the 1940’s. The atomic bombs that were then dropped on Japan revealed the unequalled power of unbridled nuclear energy, but also indefinitely branded it with the hallmark of inhumanity. Indeed, the atomic bomb combines power and lethal lasting damage, never before seen with another explosive. As no shield can protect from it’s effects, no war based on an exchange of nuclear strikes was therefore winnable in a useful way.

Thus, after 1945, the emergence of the atomic bomb  contributed to the progressive change in the way we wage wars now. If the victors of 1945 made war illegal with the U.N Charter, the atomic bomb made it unwinnable and those that had it, untouchable.

The dynamics of strategic nuclear deterrence progressively developed on this basis at the end of the Second World War to then establish itself at the heart of the strategic equation of the Cold War. Then it was perverted in the world in crisis that succeeded the bipolar balance of terror.

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