La Vigie Nr 193 : Technologising armies | What is the outcome of the war? | Lorgnette: Taiwan’s defence

Leter from La Vigie, dated 25th May 2022

Technologising armies

The technologisation of modern armies, which is supposed to give them a significant advantage over their enemies, is showing signs of running out of steam with the Ukraine campaign. Already threatened by the asymmetric response of improvised devices, these armies are also facing a strain on their basic components. Supplies and their delivery no longer seem to be secure in a conflict with global repercussions.

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What is the outcome of the war?

Traditionally, wars were concluded with peace treaties because the enemy was not demonised. Since the 20th century, the enemy is often portrayed as an evil that must be annihilated: it therefore seems difficult to deal with him. However, war most often requires an end to be reached, and this is achieved through negotiations: one must know how to end a war.

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Lorgnette: Taiwan’s defence

In response to a question about the US military commitment in the event of a Chinese attack on Taiwan, US President J. Biden said on Monday: “Yes, that is what we are committed to”. This statement is a departure from the usual ambiguity: since the Taiwan Relation Act of 1979, Washington had always left uncertainty as to the nature of its support for Taipei but also its respect for the Chinese doctrine of “one China”.

Is this a new outing to which J. Biden has become accustomed, using words and expressions that are often undiplomatic? In any case, his administration was keen to correct the president’s remarks. Several interpretations are possible: there is a difference of opinion between the President and his administration, or following Ukraine the President wants to assure his allies of the solidity of his support or, even more subtle, to be ambiguous in the exit of ambiguity towards China.

One last hypothesis is not mentioned but is worrying: J. Biden is allowing himself to speak without consulting his entourage, a criticism that was long made of his predecessor. This would be worrying.

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photo credit: Visual hunt

La Vigie Nr 187 : East from West | War in Ukraine | Nuclear factor (Free reading)

Letter from La Vigie dated 2 March 2022

East from West

Europe did not define its eastern border because it did not reunify at the end of the Soviet era. Little by little, the new Russia has been sidelined by Europe and the Ukrainian issue has become the cause of Moscow’s recent power grab to demilitarise Kiev. For its part, Kemalist Turkey, which was oriented towards Europe, has given way to a frerist Turkey, which is deployed all over the margins of Europe, Western Asia and Africa. Turkey and Russia are competitors of a European Union that no longer knows how to think about its East, which is also the East of the West.

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War in Ukraine

The war between Russia and Ukraine is attracting a lot of attention. It is appropriate to briefly review its causes, both distant and immediate, and the factors that led V. Putin personally to decide to start it, the goals in the war and the possible aims of the war, and finally the global reactions, both from the Atlantic Alliance and from third countries, especially China.

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Lorgnette: The Nuclear Factor

This crisis obviously has a nuclear dimension. Indeed, the Russian aggression in Ukraine is a conventional war fought in an disymmetric framework (Ukraine cannot win on the ground). It is a change from the asymmetric conflicts we have known for the past two decades, which operated below a certain intensity threshold. In this case, that threshold has been crossed. But it does not only operate in the land, air and sea domains: the other domains of multi-milieu and multi-field operations (M2MC, FR equivalent to MDO) are also open: space, cyber, electromagnetic, cognitive…

In so doing, this conflict raises the question of another threshold, the one that overhangs it and separates it from the nuclear domain. Indeed, physical aggression calls for the mechanics of escalation. This is why V. Putin quickly set this limit by threatening reprisals for any attempt to counter his offensive militarily. The French Foreign Minister replied that the Alliance was also a nuclear alliance. This is a reminder of the rhetoric that defines the grammar of deterrence. It is another sign of a return to a new Cold War in Europe.

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Crédit photo :Ministère de la défense d’Ukraine