Pathways of Power

Thinking Geopolitics in the 21st

If there is one paradox of our time, it is surely as Frédéric Encel describes in his latest book, Les Voies de la puissance [Pathways of Power]: on the one hand, the decline in living conditions may well, in the future, make the race for power appear risible; on the other, power, whose main characteristic is the possession of a credible dissuasive military force, remains the sole guarantor of sovereignty and the capacity to influence.

Encel Frédéric, Les Voies de la puissance. Penser la géopolitique au XXIe siècle, Paris: Odile Jacob, March 2022, 304 p.

As a central concept in geopolitics, an “evolving combination of factors,” power is therefore a subject that merits elucidation by this international relations expert in order to grasp its subtleties and to analyze the conditions for laying claim to it and the means for exercising it. Skillfully backing up his arguments with a wealth of examples drawn from contemporary or more distant history, Encel considers the pathways of power in all their forms. Though at times he risks stating the obvious, he also debunks misconceptions and emphasizes overlooked aspects.

No one would deny that a military, with human and material strength and a significant projection capacity, i...