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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The Roman Catholic Church -with a billion followers, the world's largest faith community -is stepping up its efforts to make an impact internationally. Jérôme Montes analyses the main forces behind Vatican diplomacy.
The Pope, he says, has a key role: his perception of the world determines the behaviour of his Church, which must continue to spread its influence but also, in a more recent development, wield greater political authority. The Pope must therefore be involved on all fronts and give direction to his pontificate.
The job of the Vatican diplomatic service is to make his views heard abroad. Radios, newspapers, television stations and the Internet are all used to spread the Pope's influence. In addition to the media, the Pope's travels have a strong political dimension and give him an international platform to express his opposition to racism, injustice and conflict.
As well as normal diplomatic channels, the Vatican also relies on new networks of a wide range of non-governmental actors whose mission is to defend human rights in the Pope's name, and who provide a fitting means of developing informal diplomatic links until such time as the Vatican can be fully integrated into the United Nations Organization. Lastly, the Church is keen to foster the ecumenical movement and inter-faith dialogue, and this must remain an important branch of Vatican diplomacy.
Montes concludes that the next Pope will have to redefine the Church's position in the world and, like John Paul II, will have to be a travelling pontiff, visible internationally and able to capture the attention of the world media if he wishes to tackle the challenges of modern times and the rise of fundamentalist movements.
La Turquie est entrée dans le XXIe siècle en proie à la fois à l'agitation intérieure (crise économique intense, tensions politiques) et aux troubles d'un environnement régional et international en crise. Si, jusqu'à la fin de la guerre froide, ce pays a joué le rôle d'un rempart contre l'expansion soviétique vers la Méditerranée orientale et le Proche-Orient, la marge de manœuvre d'Ankara s'est depuis considérablement élargie alors que le pays ne regarde plus ...
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Le ministère britannique des Affaires étrangères vient de publier un document intitulé UK International Priorities: A Strategy for the FCO [Les priorités internationales du Royaume-Uni. Une stratégie pour le FCO]. C'est une grande première, pilotée par Simon Fraser, le directeur de la stratégie et de l'innovation du Foreign Office. Ce document explique que la Grande-Bretagne « fait face à un agenda global de problèmes partagés, qui affectent la sécurité et la prospérité du Royaume-Uni et des autres pays. Nous ...
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There are more and more books about anti-Americanism in France, and it is true that in the emotional relationship between France and the United States, resentment and frustration on the part of weak for the strong have tended to generate criticisms in which denigration has long been the result more of ignorance than of arrogance. Today this anti-Americanism needs to be put in perspective, partly because the French (especially young people) have taken to travelling in the United States and therefore have less biased views than the older generation; but mainly because it is much too hasty to dismiss all critical analysis of American foreign policy as anti-American. Critical views are all the more legitimate given that there are commentators among both Democrats and Republicans in the United States who refuse to accept blindly the declarations of President George W. Bush in his crusade against the "axis of evil", in particular against Iraq under Saddam Hussein.
Moreover, it is important to be aware of and understand the deep roots of the unilateralism that the current US Administration pursues so aggressively and, beyond its historical and cultural origins, the influence that the Jacksonian tradition has always exerted to varying degrees in the design and implementation of American foreign policy. Admittedly, if America seems imperialist, argues Jean-Jacques Salomon, this is primarily due to Europe's inadequacies.
Since we cannot publish all of Walter Russell Mead's text, owing to lack of space, he summarizes certain passages, and stresses how far the temptation to act unilaterally derives from values and practices that are deeply rooted in popular attitudes: the code of honour and the religious belief in America's ability to win in any situation. The image of the cowboy, lone champion of good against Osama ben Laden or Saddam Hussein, reflects the whole mythology that inspired the western and that certain American commentators willingly invoke in criticizing the reservations and hesitations, if not the tendency to Munich-style appeasement, of their European allies.
This text is all the more revealing because it was originally published more than a year before the attacks of 11 September 2001. As with Pearl Harbor, it is not so much the actual number of people killed that explains the Jacksonian reaction in the United States, but rather the intense revulsion at the violation of the sanctuary. We are shown clearly a very different vision of the world to the one that prevailed in Washington during the Cold War, a vision in which the US can now manage without the support of allies, abandons its former alliances, challenges any international solidarity and intends to deal with terrorist opponents all by itself, defending only America's own interests. In this crusade, W.R. Mead suggests, oil is a far more important factor than compassion for the victims of Saddam Hussein. The two sides of the Atlantic are definitely no longer singing from the same hymn sheet. But if this article had been written by a Frenchman, would it not have been criticized as yet another example of anti-Americanism?
Le 11 septembre a accéléré le rapprochement de la Russie et de l'Occident. En manifestant sa solidarité immédiate avec les États-Unis, c'est dans le « nouveau cadre stratégique » souhaité par George W. Bush que Vladimir Poutine a placé la Russie : celle-ci a ouvert l'accès de certaines bases en Asie centrale pour combattre les Talibans, signé avec les États-Unis un accord de réduction drastique des arsenaux nucléaires des deux pays, participé à la création du forum OTAN-Russie. Mais cette ...
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Fin de la guerre froide, mondialisation des échanges, processus d'intégration régionale, essor de la dimension éthique, autant d'évolutions qui imposent de renouveler les approches concernant la politique étrangère. En ce début de XXIe siècle, qu'est-ce qu'une politique étrangère et comment la définir ? Y a-t-il même consensus sur l'objet de la politique étrangère ? Si « la politique étrangère reste bien l'instrument par lequel l'État tente de façonner son environnement politique international, [...] elle n'est plus ...
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L'organisation de l'appareil de politique étrangère et européenne de la France est l'un des enjeux majeurs de la réforme de l’État. Le présent rapport vise notamment à améliorer la définition de la stratégie de la France et souligne le rôle déterminant de l'information. Il analyse, à tous les niveaux, les structures de coordination et de prise de décision en matière européenne et internationale et propose des pistes pour les améliorer. Il insiste aussi pour que ...
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Cet ouvrage plaide pour une réanimation de l'alliance franco-américaine. Les tensions, bien que d'origine économique, tiennent à des différences conceptuelles. Les auteurs militent pour une meilleure connaissance et compréhension mutuelles, et tentent de convaincre les alliés d'agir ensemble.
Same Bed, Different Dreams: Managing United States-China Relations, 1989-2000 (Berkeley : University of California Press, 2001, 510 p.), le dernier ouvrage de David M. Lampton, traitait des relations sino-américaines. L'auteur, directeur du programme d'études chinoises à la Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies et au Nixon Center de Washington, présente aujourd'hui un travail collectif qu'il a initié et dirigé depuis 1996 et qui étudie la politique étrangère de la république populaire de Chine (RPC) dans le ...
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Ce deuxième ouvrage du Centre européen de Sciences Po analyse la Politique extérieure et de sécurité commune (PESC) des pays membres de l'Union européenne, à partir de la confrontation des points de vue de spécialistes d'origines différentes (France, Belgique, Italie et Portugal). Richement illustré (textes de référence, cartes, listes des actions et positions communes, chronologie, tableaux, etc.), il s'articule autour de trois points : contexte et perspectives, qui situe l'Europe dans son contexte international et confronte les ...
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Jacques Godfrain, ministre français de la Coopération de novembre 1995 à juin 1997, donne d'emblée le ton de l'ouvrage en intitulant son premier chapitre : « contre l'afro-pessimisme ». À travers le récit de sa propre expérience africaine, il montre d'abord une Afrique accueillante. Il met aussi en avant ses potentialités en termes de développement économique, soulignant la capacité du continent à tirer parti des dernières innovations technologiques, et rappelant que la croissance a repris, ces dernières années, dans ...
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Geopolitics: American Idealism
Pierre Béhar provides us with a critical futurist analysis of the treatise by Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy, which going beyond historical narrative reveals the very specific origins of United States foreign policy and illuminates geopolitical issues at the dawn of the twenty first century.
According to Kissinger, the diplomatic traditions of Europe and the United States are based on very different philosophies: Europe reasons following Richelieu in terms of "Raison d'État" and geopolitical power relationships: the United States applies to interstate relations the moral principles which should govern relations between individuals. Since Woodrow Wilson, American diplomacy has been based on "the certainty of a properly messianic mission", the inner conviction that it embodies an ideal moral order and must impose it on the whole world.
Kissinger explains this concept particularly by the geostrategic position of the United States. He also criticizes it without complacency by denouncing the imperialism of the American dream, its consequences, domestically and internationally. He shows the perverse effect of a policy blind to realities, sufficiently powerful to destabilize the world but insufficiently powerful to impose a universal moral order on it. Finally, starting from an analysis of the specific positions of the United States with respect to other countries and regions, Kissinger sketches a panorama of worldwide geopolitical evolution and shows how American diplomacy will have to renounce its universalist dreams and learn to live in a multipolar world.
Observations on Japan's Role
This special Futuribles issue on Japan no doubt raises more questions than it offers clear answers about Japan's future. The complementary points of view presented here reveal a situation which is at the same time paradoxical if not ambiguous.
Thus J.M. Bouissou underlines the Japanese feeling that they are under siege and at the same time their insistence on being seen as a "peace loving people". But, he adds, we cannot exclude that these beliefs may shatter and allow the paranoid side of Japan's relationship with the rest of the world to come to the surface.
Japanese-American relations are as rich as they are complex: governed by Japanese interests according to N. Sadria, they would in fact be, according to Z. Laidi, much more complex and marked simultaneously by conflict and cooperation. This conflict is illustrated by F. Joyaux who shows the different concepts of Japan's role, seen by Japan as at the heart of Asia Pacific and seen by the US as simply a border state. The cooperative aspect is illustrated by Guy Faure who shows how much Japan remains dependent on the US for high technology.
And as if to summarize the discussion, K. Yatabe emphasizes the extraordinary flexibility of the Japanese model and at the same time the great unforeseeability of this country's long term evolution.
Japan and the World. What Framework for a Power Defining Itself ?
Japan's approach to integrating itself into its regional and global environment is determined by three factors: a collective mythology marked by a simultaneous attraction to and repulsion from others; the gap between its economic power and diplomatic and military weakness, thus between power and meaning; and finally the double temptation of pacifism and involvement.
Taking account of these factors, Jean-Marie Bouissou sketches three scenarios illustrating the possible position of Japan on the international scene:
- Under the first option Japan would become a traditional superpower acquiring autonomous military power and seeking to base its ideological leadership on the region.
- Lacking the means necessary for a neoimperialist role, it could ensure its rise to power in an integrated regional framework (co-development and regional security system), but it would then risk confrontation with China.
- Finally, it could try to position itself as a "global power" benefitting from its economic strength and its intermediary position between Asia and the West.
The realisation of one or another of these scenarios will depend on internal and external factors which the author briefly analyses, concluding in favour of a strategy which combines these different options.
Japan: a "Useful" International Power
It has become obvious to Modjtaba Sadria that Japan will become a great power, not only by acquiring the classic means but also by adding a new characteristic to power: utility.
The "usefulness" of Japan will come from its unavoidability but also mainly because it will have a "unique ability to respond to various needs of its Asiatic partners", including its Chinese ones, with whom it will have to develop partnering relationships.
À l'occasion de la conférence intergouvernementale européenne (CIG) de 1996 — qui se déroulera en plusieurs étapes —, un groupe de réflexion sur les structures de l'Europe de la Fondation Bertelsmann a réalisé un rapport 1 sur les mesures à prendre pour tenir compte de l'élargissement de l'Europe et corriger son insuffisance démocratique.
Balancing the "Large" and the "Small" in the European Union
The Intergovernmental Conference of1996 will unavoidably rekindle the issue of the composition of Europe, which has opposed for a long time the (demographically) "small" to the "large" members of the Union. The former defend the principle of equality among states regardless of demographic weight; the latter are reluctant to give majority power to the relatively large number of "small" states.
R. Toulemon examines here some juridical institutions which might satisfy these contradictory demands, equitably and effectively. But he also points beyond this issue to the more important debate on the different ideas surrounding the European project and the objectives pursued by present and potential member states.
Toulemon remains faithful to the ideas he has always defended, making the case for a Union which should go further and adopt an internal and external common policy. Only this will prevent a desirable expansion of the Union from turning into its deliquescence.