Whereas in the early 1990s, in the context of the collapse of the Communist dictatorships, the hypothesis of an end of history (Francis Fukuyama) and of the triumph of democracy and human rights staged something of a comeback, the past decade has tempered that optimism to a considerable extent. A wind of identitarian sentiment, populism and hostility to migrants is blowing through the West, both in Europe and the USA. And if fundamental rights and freedoms remain emblematic of democratic values where those two continents are concerned, it is interesting to note that in Europe, for example, the defence of these values sometimes has to go beyond the realms of mere assertion to retain a degree of effectiveness.
Jean-François Drevet stresses this point in this column, showing how the European Union sees the question of human rights with regard to its own members, to candidates for European integration and to the countries associated with its neighbourhood policy. As he stresses, though the EU has available to it instruments theoretically well-adapted to achieving respect for human rights and freedoms, in practice it can be seen to be making trade-offs that might compromise its credibility in this area.
Rassemblant les contributions de huit spécialistes de la Chine, Antoine Bondaz, Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Mathieu Duchâtel, Alice Ekman, Marc Julienne, Agatha Kratz, Françoise Nicolas et John Seaman, ce livre évite les écueils des ouvrages « sous la direction de » et ses différents chapitres explorent les grands enjeux de la politique étrangère chinoise. Les ambitions diplomatiques de Pékin ont longtemps été reléguées au second rang car la priorité allait au développement et à la sécurisation de l’approvisionnement en matières premières. Ce n ...
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The worsening geopolitical context around the borders of the European Union (Ukraine, Georgia, Syria) and the aggressive attitudes of Russia and Turkey towards several member states raise questions about the pertinence of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) being pursued by the EU today. That policy is based on the European Union Treaty, which encourages the development of “a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterized by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation.” How is it being pursued today? Is it still appropriate to the context? Jean-François Drevet looks into the ENP, stressing the need to review its detailed implementation and proposing some ways that it might be revised by adapting it to developments within the geographical and strategic environment of the EU.
The last two years have perhaps marked a turning point in the — relatively peaceful — international relations that had prevailed in the developed world since the end of the Cold War. A wind of change has been perceptible for some time now, with the growing resonance of populist movements, particularly in Europe, a newly expansionist China and Russia, and the spread of Islamic terror onto European soil etc.
And, as Jean-François Drevet shows here, three recent events confirm that there is cause for concern: first, Brexit, the consequence of a form of populism that runs the risk of leaving the UK isolated on the international stage; second, the accession to power of Donald Trump, whose erratic behaviour in the diplomatic field — also tinged with populist overtones — is tending to cause or aggravate crises rather than resolve them; and, last, the clampdown in Turkey by President Erdo?an who, like Donald Trump, manages his foreign policy on an emotive basis, without always foreseeing the consequences. These three events are changing the way international relations are conducted and raise questions over the future security of Europe, since, with the foreign policy of three of the EU’s major neighbours or partners being dictated by populist considerations, Europe has to be able to cope with new crises and to do so alone, outside the US umbrella. That will no doubt be one of the major challenges for the European Union in the medium term.
Il est toujours intéressant de lire le point de vue d’un Américain motivé, observateur attentif de l’actualité européenne et donc bien informé de ses développements. Le titre annonçant « la fin de l’Europe » comme d’autres nous ont fait croire à « la fin de l’Histoire  », l’auteur est plutôt pessimiste. Peut-être l’aurait-il été un peu moins s’il avait publié son ouvrage plus tardivement, après avoir suivi les aventures d’Emmanuel Macron et de Theresa ...
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Le projet de Corridor économique Chine-Pakistan (CPEC) se met progressivement en place. Il donne un véritable coup de fouet à l’économie pakistanaise, qui va profiter d’infrastructures modernes et des sources d’énergie qui lui manquaient cruellement. L’installation systématique de sociétés chinoises qui s’ensuit apparaît plus problématique pour l’avenir du pays, comme l’enseigne le précédent des interventions chinoises au Sri Lanka. L’examen de ces deux cas jette une lumière crue sur les perspectives que ...
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Le 19e congrès du parti communiste chinois (PCC) se déroulera à l’automne 2017 et fixera les orientations politiques pour les cinq prochaines années. L’année 2021 est une date clef puisqu’elle marquera le centenaire de la fondation du PCC qui, selon les objectifs fixés par les dirigeants chinois, devrait voir l’avènement d’une société de moyenne aisance. Publié par le Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), ce rapport, coordonné par Kerry Brown, rassemble plusieurs contributions qui ...
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L’analyse présentée dans ce rapport du Dahrendorf Forum porte sur les relations de l’Union européenne (UE) avec ses voisins et ses partenaires stratégiques à l’horizon 2025. Elle présente une gamme de scénarios contrastés, aux titres parfois attractifs, concernant les relations avec la Russie, la Turquie et les pays d’Afrique du Nord et du Moyen-Orient, et se termine par des recommandations politiques. Dans la mesure où nous sommes dans une période de crises, qui se multiplient à ...
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Based on a review by Corinne Roëls This report, which is the third foresight-related publication by the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP, which describes itself ‘a German Institute for International and Security Affairs’), is on the subject of ‘grey swans’. Grey swans are the cousins of the black swans, those unpredictable events which seemed highly improbable and yet proved to have major consequences. Since 2007, when Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book The Black Swan was published, strategists have taken the ...
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Ce rapport, qui est la troisième publication de la SWP (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik / German Institute for International and Security Affairs) sur la prospective après la parution de Expect the Unexpected en 2012  et d’une étude publiée uniquement en allemand en 2013 sur le thème « continuer à se préparer à l’inattendu  », porte sur les cygnes gris (grey swans). Les cygnes gris sont les cousins des cygnes noirs (blackswans), ces événements imprévisibles, hautement improbables et susceptibles ...
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In November 2016 it will be up to America’s voters to decide who will take over from Barack Obama in January 2017 as the next president of the USA. Before that date, at their respective primaries, the two main parties on the American political scene –the Democrats and the Republicans– will have to choose the candidate to represent them in the presidential election. In recent years, in a context heavily shaped by economic preoccupations, foreign policy questions have been somewhat on the back-burner. Of the key issues in the campaign, it may be the case, given recent events (such as the increased number of terrorist acts carried out in the name of radical Islamism, including on American soil), that these questions come to play a crucial role once again.
After eight years in which foreign policy has had a less prominent place than under preceding administrations, how are the different contenders positioning themselves? Laurence Nardon, a specialist in US studies at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), has examined the question and in this article outlines the declared principles of the various candidates, both Democratic and Republican. She reminds us, in particular, of the traditional divisions in this area –interventionism/isolationism, realism/idealism, unilateralism/multilateralism– that might serve to define US foreign policy after the election of the new president.
After more than two decades of relative calm around its borders, since 2010 the European Union has been faced with increased tension in the South of its territory in the wake of the Arab revolutions that occurred in several countries in North Africa. In recent weeks it has also faced tensions in the East as a result of the events that have taken place in Ukraine and the Moscow-supported secession of Crimea. Such a context represents a genuine test of the Union’s capacity to assert itself as a player of substance on the international stage. Is it capable of passing such a test?
This is what Michel Foucher looks to evaluate in this article through an analysis of the EU’s place in the world, its power of influence and the prospects for future development, given the major trends at work in global geopolitics. After reviewing the conditions for the Union’s influence and the scale of that influence, all of which is very much interlinked with the impact of the national interests of the member states, Michel Foucher presents the international context in which the Union will operate in the medium term. This is, admittedly, a more interdependent world, but also a highly uncooperative one. As a result, two lines of action seem indispensable: to respond to the challenges by asserting itself as a real global player on the international scene, and to define shared centres of interest and strategic objectives. On this latter point, Michel Foucher frames a number of crucial strategic recommendations “for getting beyond the [current] discordance between the level of economic interests and that of political action”.
Though set in place in 1993 by the Maastricht Treaty, the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy has had difficulty establishing itself. This is even more the case in a Union that now comprises 28 member states whose foreign policy concerns are far from convergent. There has, however, been no shortage of opportunities in the last few years to implement the policy and use it to reinforce European power on the international scene (the rebellion in Ukraine, the Arab springs, the conflicts in Mali and the Central African Republic etc.).
But as Jean-François Drevet shows here, in the light of four recent events (the revelation of US spying activities, the French interventions in Africa, the rivalry with Russia in Ukraine and the nuclear agreement with Iran), the scope of this policy is, to say the least, limited. There is little chance, then, of Europe as such emerging as a global power in the immediate future. Nevertheless, middle ways might emerge to lift the Union out of the diplomatic passivity that too often besets it and produce meaningful results at the international level, in spite of the internal obstacles maintained mostly by the British.
The tragic fighting seen in Syria over the last two years or more and the chemical weapons attack of this August have stirred diplomatic services –particularly Western ones– into action in recent months. As is often the case in Europe, the question has been about the limits, particularly the ethical and moral limits, beyond which it becomes necessary to act and about appropriate types of action. In an effort to answer these questions, particularly where the Middle East is concerned, Jean-François Drevet begins by reminding us of the three major types of action resorted to by the USA in comparable contexts over the last 50 years (directing operations from behind the scene, threatening with the “big stick”, supporting “moderate” Islamist regimes) and the limits of those types of action. He stresses the particularly chaotic situation that has prevailed in the Middle East since the “Arab Springs” and the failure of the Islamist governments elected in the wake of those events. Lastly, he emphasizes the need for the European Union to show diplomatic coherence (to advance the humanitarian argument, but to do so without exception) and also to draw on its own experience to encourage regional integration that will, at the very least, make it possible to promote peaceful conflict-resolution.
The various crises the USA has experienced in recent decades (the attacks of 11 September 2001, the economic and financial crisis of 2007 etc.), against a background of deadlock on such major international questions as the fight against climate change and the emergence of new powers in Asia, have called into question the USA’s status as a global superpower. If this decline on the part of the USA in the management of international affairs continues and no other –national or regional– power takes over the reins, the future of the world looks very gloomy.
This is Zbigniew Brzezinski’s diagnosis in his latest study, in which he details the elements that have brought this situation about (the handicaps affecting the USA and contributing to its decline), maps out the perspectives that might ensue in the years to 2025 and suggests, by way of a “strategic vision” (mainly intended to guide American policy), the means for avoiding the chaos that might arise out of a leaderless world.
Bernard Cazes has read this book for Futuribles. He reviews its main ideas here and traces the general outlines of this new “strategic vision”.
In the current context of the “Arab springs” and the victory of the Islamist Ennahda Party at the elections held in late October 2011 in Tunisia, the situation in Turkey is attracting more and more interest. As we saw last month in these pages, this country situated at the boundary between East and West, which is secular and democratic and yet led by an Islamic government that has enjoyed broad popular support for almost ten years, is currently reclaiming its diplomatic independence and acquiring unprecedented regional and international scope. Does this mean Turkey is turning its back on Europe and looking toward the East? That seems highly unlikely, but it is clear, as Jean-François Drevet shows here, that the new foreign policy of Ankara has – and will have – important consequences for the relations between Turkey and the EU, and perhaps on its prospects of membership of the Union.
Apart from the longstanding difficulties posed by the Cyprus problem, the Turkish determination to give a religious dimension (in this case, an Islamic one) to its foreign policy could raise a new obstacle on the path to membership, as could the difficulties Ankara is experiencing in its attempt to eliminate all the problems from its relations with its neighbours (particularly, Israel, Greece or Armenia). And though Turkey may seem to Europeans like an important regional partner, we should not – provided that the country remains interested in joining the Union – fall into a policy of culpable indulgence towards it, akin to that long practised by the USA.
With the economic and financial crisis on the one hand, and the regional instability caused by the Arab spring on the southern rim of the Mediterranean on the other, Europe finds itself faced with a particularly tricky geopolitical and economic context. Unfortunately, as Jean-François Drevet shows here, the more serious the situation has become, the less the member states of the European Union have provided themselves with the means to confront it jointly and hence, the lower their chances of success would seem to be.
This is attested, in particular, by the Union’s inability to establish a single command structure to manage the operations planned as part of the common defence and security policy, despite the fact that there is a consensus on this in public opinion in the various member states. Whereas the Union has, in theory, an adequate legal basis in this area and the political and technical means to implement it (through the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy), in practice the member states continue to reason on a case-by-case basis in terms of their own interests. Europe is, in fact, very ill-equipped. It cannot depend indefinitely on the Atlantic Alliance to provide its defence and its options are seriously hobbled by the United Kingdom (of which the High Representative, who is supposed to embody the common external policy, is a national).
Above and beyond the concrete security problems potentially present in such a situation, this impasse is emblematic of the current operation of the Union, “dominated by the vagaries of a variable-geometry intergovernmental cooperation” that is still not properly facing up to present and future challenges.
In many Arab countries (Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Yemen etc.), the early months of 2011 saw a broad wave of protest on the part of civil populations against their rulers, with significant changes ensuing at the head of several states. Given the relations that have long been maintained with these countries by the members of the European Union, “the Arab spring” (which might well run into summer, if not beyond, in certain countries) will have consequences for EU foreign policy. Jean-François Drevet has already mentioned a number of these in last month’s European column. He takes these thoughts further here, studying more precisely how Euro-Mediterranean policy might evolve in this new context. After going back over the genesis of that policy, he examines its medium-term prospects in two key fields: expansion and the European neighbourhood policy. He stresses, lastly, the two pressing short-term issues that will almost certainly divide the European Union: the management of the migratory flows triggered by the current revolts and the challenge posed by higher oil prices.
Le président Boris Eltsine avait le regard essentiellement tourné vers l'Occident. Son successeur, Vladimir Poutine, a remplacé la faucille et le marteau par l'Aigle tsariste à deux têtes - qui regarde et domine l'Est et l'Ouest - et rééquilibré la diplomatie de son pays en l'engageant résolument vers l'Asie.
In November 2004, the American presidential election will be held against an international background dominated by the situation in Iraq, where the American-led coalition is floundering. Virtually everywhere in the world, the majority of public opinion is against the re-election of the current President, George W. Bush. The main complaint is about his administration's "messianic" attitude in attempting to impose its vision of the world and of international relations, which was revealed in the Greater Middle East Initiative announced by the United States at the G8 meeting last June and which is presented as the spearhead of American ambitions for the region.
Jean-Jacques Salomon has examined the origins and underlying agenda of this "great plan": he describes for readers of Futuribles the main characters inspiring and implementing the foreign policy of the Bush team (neo-conservatives, the oil lobby, the religious lobbies, the links with the Likud party in Israel), their ideological convictions, the way they hope to put these convictions into practice (in particular state-building) and the flow of reforms that might then come about. This "American fantasy" of Western-style democracy in a region as diverse as the Middle East is hardly realistic under current conditions.
Nonetheless, as Jean-Jacques Salomon stresses, the need for radical reforms in the Muslim world is increasingly recognized and proclaimed by many Arab commentators. But would Westernisation be too high a price to pay for modernization?
As to the result of the American presidential election, let us not delude ourselves: if the Democrats were to win, this would not necessarily bring about a major change in American foreign policy - although at least it would mean that there would be greater respect for the views of their allies and partners - and the messianic tendencies would not disappear.
In this opinion piece, Viviane du Castel surveys the current political and geostrategic situation in Russia following the overwhelming re-election of Vladimir Putin as President of the Russian Federation.
While representative democracy seems to be in a poor way, with opposition parties marginalized and the freedom of the press increasingly threatened, the economy is at a crossroads. A temporary halt to market reforms and a gradual "sovietization" of big industry is accompanied by major uncertainties generated by the clash between the Kremlin and the so-called oligarchs, who are seen as too powerful and too independent. Viviane du Castel discusses the range of options available to Putin during his second term, in which he holds all the political reins in his hands.
In terms of foreign policy, Russia's position today hardly differs from what it was under the Czars: it has to combine its ambitions vis-à-vis the West (i.e. Europe and the United States), the East (mainly China) and what the Russians still call "the near abroad", which this old imperial power cannot disregard for very long. Moreover, the Russian gambit towards China, the European Union and the Atlantic alliance - all now on its borders - can be seen clearly both in its direct international relations and in its actions in those areas that have often been viewed as an essential part of its outer defences: Kaliningrad, Moldavia, Ukraine, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia remain the preferred regions where Russia exercises its muscle. Energy issues, for example, are a good indicator of Moscow's degree of influence on policy.
The real challenge for the country now is to achieve a balance among these three regional power games so as to maximize Russia's role and international influence.
Viviane du Castel provides here the keys to understanding the issues facing a Russian President who seeks to restore his office to the central role within the "vertical" power hierarchy that he wants to re-establish in the anarchic Federation that Russia is today.
Voici une compilation très complète d'articles traitant de la Russie sous ses angles historique, démographique, politique, social et économique. Les difficultés sont nombreuses auxquelles doit faire face le plus grand pays du monde (17 millions de km2) : pauvreté (le produit national brut par habitant y est 10 fois plus faible qu'en Europe occidentale), importance du secteur informel, insécurité, crise identitaire suite à la libéralisation de l'économie et des mœurs, nostalgie et fatalisme ambiants, alcoolisme endémique, ravages écologiques ...
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