Guerre

Tribune européenne

Géopolitique

Foresight Studies and the Run-up to the 1914-1918 War

As we are putting this issue to bed, Europe is undergoing one of its most serious diplomatic crises since the end of the Cold War. Ukraine is currently torn between those who favour closer relations with Europe and pro-Russian activists, Crimea having seceded and become part of Russia once again. The sound of marching armies is perhaps not far off, which seems staggering to several generations of Europeans just a century after the outbreak of the First World War. That was a war with enormous consequences for the continent. The retrospective analysis of the political and strategic choices that brought it about is not without interest from the standpoint of foresight studies.

Jean-François Drevet homes in here on three elements relating to strategy or forward planning from the outbreak and conduct of the 1914-18 war, which had outcomes that were at variance, to say the least, with what the parties concerned had anticipated. These are the Franco-Russian Alliance, which, though presented as a force for peace, led to a generalization of the conflict; the Schlieffen Plan which, by violating Belgian neutrality, led to a British intervention that was decisive in the defeat of Germany; and the French strategy of all-out attack, which proved very costly in human lives in the age of the machine gun. Such errors of foresight, committed by competent, well-informed personalities persuaded of the rightness of their positions, shouldn’t be forgotten, says Jean-François Drevet, particularly in a current context of economic and financial crisis in which the forces of international high finance –the contemporary equivalent in power terms of the early 20th century’s armies– regularly flout the warnings and calls for regulation emanating from the rest of society.

Bibliography

Géopolitique

The Future of Insurgency

À travers une étude rétrospective des insurrections des dernières années, les auteurs de cet article identifient les tendances qui marqueront les insurrections de demain. Quatre grands axes sont explorés : les causes des insurrections, leurs stratégies, les soutiens extérieurs dont elles peuvent bénéficier et enfin les tactiques des insurgés.Les causes des insurrections passées sont avant tout à chercher du côté de la faiblesse de l’économie des zones affectées. En ce sens, l’Afrique reste pour les auteurs la zone ...

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Bibliography

Géopolitique

Du programme Olympic Games aux récentes cyberattaques de la Chine contre les États-Unis

David Sanger est journaliste, correspondant en chef du New York Times à la Maison blanche et spécialiste des questions liées à la sécurité des États-Unis. Lors de son intervention, après avoir évoqué la mise en place du programme Olympic Games du gouvernement américain, il s’est interrogé sur le périmètre de définition de la cyberguerre. Ce programme, qui visait la destruction de centrifugeuses iraniennes grâce à l’introduction d’un ver informatique, marque, selon D. Sanger, le début d’une ...

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Bibliography

Relation homme-robot

Le progrès technologique, combiné à une réticence croissante à exposer la vie des hommes au danger, a entraîné le développement de l’usage de robots, aériens, terrestres ou navals par les armées. Mais l’interface homme-robot pose question à plusieurs titres. C’est pourquoi l’IRSEM a commandité une étude à la Fondation pour la recherche stratégique (FRS) et à Securymind pour comprendre les enjeux sociologiques liés à l’usage des robots pour la défense. Le rapport s’appuie sur ...

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Note de veille

Géopolitique

Les avatars quadrupèdes de la modernisation militaire de l’Inde

Selon le Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), l’Inde, avec 10 % des importations mondiales sur la période 2007-2011, est le plus grand importateur d’armes au monde et le restera probablement au cours des prochaines années [1]. Les négociations portant sur l’achat d’équipements sophistiqués — avions, hélicoptères, sous-marins, etc. — pour des montants qui atteignent des milliards de dollars US, focalisent l’attention des experts et des médias [2]. Dans ce contexte de modernisation des moyens militaires, sous la ...

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Géopolitique

When Disasters and Conflicts Collide

L’ODI, un think-tank anglais spécialisé dans la réduction de la pauvreté des pays en voie de développement, propose dans ce rapport une analyse des liens qui s’observent entre la vulnérabilité aux catastrophes naturelles et l’insécurité politique dans les pays en voie de développement, aujourd’hui mais aussi dans le futur. En 2011, famines et sécheresses se sont ainsi cumulées dans des régions d’Afrique de l’Est qui en plus connaissaient de fortes instabilités politiques. Entre 2005 ...

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Revue

Géopolitique - Recherche, sciences, techniques - Société, modes de vie

Critical Infrastructures and Cyberwar

The vulnerability of developed societies is not a new notion and has been very clearly set out by, among others, Ulrich Beck. It does, however, acquire new meaning with the increasing extension and interconnection of real and virtual networks. For example, electrical and digital networks play a part today in the operation of almost all other critical infrastructures and systems. This underlines their importance and the issue that protecting them represents in most countries. As Pierre Bonnaure shows here, the Internet is subject to frequent attacks and cyberthreats are increasing, emanating as they do from “hackers” with very varied objectives, whose actions may have major consequences.

Outlining the risks of a cyberwar, Bonnaure shows the strategic character of the battle against cyberthreats and the way people are beginning to face up to them in most of the countries affected by the phenomenon. It is highly improbable that any country will be able to forearm itself totally against cyberthreats and the system risks that ensue from them, but the ability to identify them and fight them when they do become reality is, most certainly, a significant strategic asset.

Chapitre de rapport annuel vigie

Géopolitique

Chapitre 4 du rapport Vigie 2012 : Géopolitique Partie 1 : Rapports de forces

Tendance 1. Diminution de la conflictualité dans le monde Tendance 2. Vers un rééquilibrage mondial de la puissance Tendance 3. Vers un monde nucléaire multipolaire Tendance 4. Persistance et mutations du terrorisme

Futurs d'antan

Entreprises, travail - Géopolitique

The Berlin-Baghdad Railway… at the Heart of German Strategy in 1914-18 (Future of Yesteryear)

In 2010 a book by the American historian Sean McMeekin, The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany’s Bid for World Power 1898-1918 (Cambridge [Mass.]: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010) was published, telling the story of the Berlin-Baghdad railway in the early 20th century and its role in the political, economic and military strategy of the great powers at the time. In terms of subject matter, this work in a way represents, as Bernard Cazes argues, a corrective to a counterfactual developed by the writer John Buchan in his book Greenmantle of 1916 (Thirsk: House of Stratus, 2001; new edition). He presents some of its salient points here that will undoubtedly be of interest to geopolitics buffs, showing, in substance, how Germany, drawing on support from the Ottoman Empire, attempted to de-stabilize its enemies of the time by encouraging jihad in French and British colonies and Zionism in Russia – a strategy that would have paid off if the work on the Berlin-Baghdad railway had not fallen so far behind schedule.

Bibliography

Géopolitique

World Development Report 2011 : Conflict, Security, and Development

En préambule à cette édition 2011 du Rapport sur le développement dans le monde intitulée Conflits, sécurité et développement, Robert B. Zoellick, président du groupe de la Banque mondiale, rappelle les circonstances qui ont entouré la création, en 1944, lors de la conférence de Bretton Woods, de la BIRD, première institution de ce qui est devenu depuis le Groupe de la Banque mondiale. Le premier prêt approuvé par la BIRD à été consenti à la France en 1947 pour l ...

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Revue

Géopolitique

The Primacy of Geography. On the Article, ‘The Revenge of Geography’

In a recent article entitled “The Revenge of Geography”, published in the journal Foreign Policy, Robert D. Kaplan draws on three great U.S. and British classic authorities on geopolitics –Alfred Mahan, Sir Halford Mackinder and Nicholas J. Spykman — to reassert forcefully the precept that “man proposes, but nature disposes”. Following these authors’ view that physical and human geography is the main determinant of the development of the global geopolitical situation, he attempts to show what will be the main zones of future tension or even conflict. Bernard Cazes has examined the argument and reports, in this brief analysis, on its tenor and limitations.

Chapitre de rapport annuel vigie

Géopolitique

Chapitre 4 du rapport Vigie 2010 : Géopolitique

PARTIE 1 : RAPPORTS DE FORCE Tendance 1 : Émergence de la Chine, résistance américaine Incertitude 1 : Le risque d’un « accident de parcours » PARTIE 2 : TERRORISME ET PROLIFÉRATION NUCLÉAIRE Tendance 1 : Essoufflement d’Al-Qaïda, persistance du djihadisme Tendance 2 : Vers un monde nucléaire multipolaire Incertitude 1 : Le risque d’attentat NRBC PARTIE 3 : GUERRES ET CONFLITS Tendance 1 : Diminution du nombre de guerres Incertitude 1 : De nouveaux ressorts de conflits ? PARTIE 4 : CYBERSÉCURITÉ Tendance 1 : La croissante cyberdépendance des sociétés Tendance ...

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Note de veille

Géopolitique - Recherche, sciences, techniques

La maîtrise de l’information, dernière arme stratégique en « AfPak » ?

Alors que la situation continue de s’enliser en AfPak (la zone Afghanistan-Pakistan), les États-Unis préconisent une nouvelle stratégie. Désormais, le chemin vers la victoire passe par la maîtrise de la primauté de l’information et la circulation de celle-ci, une idée déjà présente dans le dernier rapport sur la transformation de l’armée américaine (1). La route s’annonce cependant longue au vu de l’importance des systèmes de communication mis en place par les Talibans en Afghanistan tout ...

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Revue

Géopolitique

The Problematic of War Revisited. Science, Technology and the Theatrum Belli

The first Jean-Jacques Salomon Seminar on "Science and Politics" was held at Futuribles on 5 December 2008. Above and beyond paying homage to Salomon, the aim is to take forward his work on the complex relationship between science and society. On this occasion, Geneviève Schméder, contributing to the session on "War and Peace", dealt with the technical aspects of the development of warfare over the recent period, showing how the theatre of war has expanded substantially in the last few decades.
This article reproduces the main elements of her presentation. It begins by recalling the circumstances in which "electronic warfare" emerged and reminding us of its foundations. Though we have entered "a new age of combat", a military victory is no longer sufficient today to bring a war to an end. Geneviève Schméder here outlines the various obstacles to the effectiveness of ultra-modern military resources, particularly in asymmetric conflicts. These include excessive destructive power (ethically problematic to employ), an increase in the number of irregular combatants with small arms that are difficult to detect, the hi-jacking of civilian technologies for military ends, the use of modern information and communication media etc. She argues that these "weapons of the weak" render the concept of victory on the ground obsolete and make peace-keeping missions virtually impossible, particularly in a world with very rapid circulation of information and easy media access. The many developments currently observed that tend substantially to modify the paradigm of "classical" warfare force us, in Schméder's view, to develop an entirely new culture of security, "substituting for the notion of state security a concept of human or individual security" which she describes here in broad outline.

Bibliography

Géopolitique

Le Choc des identités ? Cultures, civilisations et conflits de demain / The Clash of Identities ? Cultures, Civilizations and Tomorrow’s Conflicts

La thèse du « choc des civilisations » de Samuel Huntington continue, 15 ans après sa formulation, à hanter les esprits. Nombreux en sont les détracteurs qui pourtant s’évertuent à employer eux aussi le terme de civilisation, concept pourtant flou et délicat à manier. Un véritable risque géopolitique pèse sur les conflits futurs dans le champ des facteurs socioculturels, des valeurs et des croyances. La question des identités et des métissages culturels devient un enjeu clef pour comprendre les lignes de ...

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Revue

Géopolitique - Population

Iraq: Migration and New Sources of Conflict

Ever since the intervention in Iraq by the coalition led by the United States, begun in 2003 and continuing today, Iraq has been the scene of terrible conflict. The fighting between coalition forces and the army of Saddam Hussein has been followed by civil war, the rivalries being in some cases religious (Sunni versus Shia), in others ethnic (Kurd versus Arab), with in addition violence of various kinds against the occupying forces. In August 2007, the number of civilian Iraqis killed since the start of the intervention is estimated as somewhere between 70,000 and 76,000 (according to Iraq Body Count).
Faced with this situation, increasing numbers of Iraqis are fleeing their country and seeking refuge in neighbouring states. François de Jouvenel examines where matters now stand with regard to the population movements and the problems they raise - not just humanitarian but also social and political - in the receiving countries (Syria and Jordan in particular), and highlights the geopolitical risks that result from them for the region as a whole.