Géopolitique

Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)

Forum

Géopolitique - Recherche, sciences, techniques

Europe vis-à-vis the Intelligence Revolution

Following on from the special coverage of the situation in Europe as it reaches the halfway point for the Lisbon agenda, André-Yves Portnoff stresses here the EU's increasing failure to keep up with the intelligence revolution. While the very ambitious Lisbon targets were certainly praiseworthy - in particular in wanting to make Europe the world's most dynamic knowledge-based society by 2010 - it is clear that the resources have not been forthcoming to achieve those aims.
For several decades now, according to A.-Y. Portnoff, the Europeans have lagged behind in the key sectors driving the economy, above all informatics and telecommunications. Having failed to make a genuine effort to foster innovation, combined with a clearly defined vision of the future based on the values of its citizens and backed by a strong political will, Europe will continue to dig its own economic grave. The crucial steps, in the author's view, would be to reduce the level of technocratic interference both from Brussels and in some member states (including France), to foster synergies and put more emphasis on human resources, in order to allow small and medium-sized firms to be more creative - since the large ones have shown that they have run out of steam.
If Europe fails to take action along these lines and to establish a proper strategy, it is at risk of falling even further behind vis-à-vis the intelligence revolution and of missing out on future innovations in information and communications technologies. Yet these are the sectors that are now the key to the future.

Revue

Géopolitique

The Failure of Homeland Security in the United States

Almost four years after 9/11, America is still traumatized and many are haunted by the fear of further terrorist attacks. In order to cope with this concern with security the United States administration has created a ministry unlike any other in the world - the Department for Homeland Security - which pursues a very strict policy of internal security, mainly geared to keeping most of the American population in a state of heightened alert.
Benjamin Friedman offers here a highly critical assessment of this policy, arguing that the country's leaders have developed a state of generalized fear that plays into the hands of the terrorists while giving Americans an illusion of safety. In his view, the homeland security policy is too ambitious, exaggerates some threats and encourages unnecessary fearfulness by asking people to prepare for a terrorist attack when in fact they run little risk of being victims. To this end, vast sums are spent ill-advisedly, indirectly preventing the funding of measures which would be far more worthwhile, including for American domestic security.
He ends the article by advising that it is essential to shake off this paranoia. The terrorist threat does exist but it is limited geographically and would probably be better prevented if this fact were taken into account. What is needed, therefore, is to introduce greater realism into the homeland security policy and accept that, come what may, there is no such thing as zero risk, now or probably ever.

Revue

Géopolitique

Tensions between China and Taiwan: Brinkmanship, a Tactical Squabble or a Valuable Ambiguity?

Since the end of 2004, when elections brought a party explicitly in favour of independence from China into the governing coalition in Taiwan, the relations between China and Taiwan have regularly been in the news. The commentators are anxious about the growing tension between the two governments and the risks of open conflict.
In this article Rémi Perelman recalls the background and the key phases in the relationship between China and Taiwan. He sets out who the protagonists are and what position each takes, from maintaining the status quo via the threat of invading the island to declaring Taiwan's independence. He also makes clear what support the Taiwanese government might expect, including from abroad - in particular, would the United States really risk conflict with China if matters deteriorate? Finally, Rémi Perelman offers several scenarios for possible developments between 2006 and 2020, stressing nonetheless how little it would be in China's interest, from the point of view of its economic growth, to enter into a period of political upheaval.

Revue

Géopolitique

Gwadar or Beijing's "String of Pearls" Strategy

Not only does China cover a vast area (more than 9.5 million km2), the country has rarely exhibited any expansionist impulses. However, this might change, as Rémi Perelman argues here, because of its growing need for raw materials, and in particular energy, for which it depends heavily on foreign suppliers.
In order to strengthen its supply lines, China is establishing footholds abroad, especially in Burma and Pakistan. This diplomatic strategy, which Pentagon experts call the "string of pearls", indicates the clearsightedness of the Chinese and their readiness to do all they can to safeguard the basis of the country's economic growth. This new attitude is worrying for the United States, which is doing much the same thing in the region, for similar reasons.

Revue

Géopolitique - Institutions

The European Constitution. Its Source, Virtues and Weaknesses

Less than two months before the referendum vote on the European Constitution in France, the political debate has begun, muddling principles, presentation and plenty of other issues that have little relevance to the question being asked. The French voter has good reason to be concerned about many topics, such as a stagnant economy, rising unemployment (in France as in Germany), relocation of manufacturing abroad. It has not helped matters that every time there has been a change of government, the main political parties (in particular the Centre-Right Union pour la majorité présidentielle and the socialist party) have not hesitated to blame "Europe" or globalization for all the problems that they have not been able to deal with themselves.
Now that the European Union has been enlarged to 25 members for almost a year and after a decade of institutional problems, the ratification of the Constitution agreed by the member states is a big step. The main French political parties are well aware of this and are urging a "yes" vote, but this "yes" is blighted by internal quarrels and disagreements that help to confuse the issues.
Robert Toulemon is President of the Association française d'études pour l'Union européenne and an acknowledged expert on the subject. Here he tries to bring the debate back to the basic issue: the Constitution itself, and not the political and socio-economic context in which it is being presented to French voters. He offers a detailed and balanced analysis of the text: its source, the areas where it makes (or might make) advances, but also the lacunae and weaknesses that exist and that a more federalist approach might well have avoided. His position, which is amazingly balanced, coming from a committed European, should not deceive us: how France votes in the referendum will have a decisive impact on the future of the European Union and the role that it will play in global affairs. There is no doubt that a setback now would be fatal.

Revue

Géopolitique

"Human Security": a New Doctrine for Europe

Frequently described as a "geopolitical dwarf", Europe is still trying to define its role on the international stage. The European Union has huge assets as an actor in international affairs (the diplomatic services of the member countries, its important role in development aid, its mastery of multilateral issues, etc.) but also some weaknesses that have often proved fatal (a lack of means on the ground as well as of political will at the top, disagreements among member states, a tendency to react too slowly...).
The major trauma of the experience in the Balkans in the 1990s, from Sarajevo to Pristina, made everyone aware that Europe could not be content just with talking about international affairs. On the other hand, Europeans are uncomfortable with the concept of power, to the point where some argue that Europe could never be a "civilian power" on the world stage. What can be done to preserve the special nature of the European view of international relations, based on something other than sheer brute strength (which made the neoconservative Robert Kagan write that America is from Mars and Europe is from Venus...(Paradise and Power: America versus Europe in the 21st Century, 2003), while making Europe credible as a force to be reckoned with in a turbulent world?
One of the avenues that needs to be explored undoubtedly lies in a redefinition of the notions of security and defence, which are still shaped too much by concepts of territory and inter-state relations left over from the Cold War. The idea of global security, or human security, is a key element in establishing the base that the European Union needs if it is ever to have the means to achieve its ambitions. Geneviève Schméder outlines the contribution made in this regard in a report for Javier Solana, the EU's defence chief, by a group of independent experts (A Human Security Doctrine for Europe. Report of the Study Group on Europe's Security Capabilities, presented to the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, Barcelona, 15 September 2004).

Forum

Géopolitique - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

Drop by Drop: Remarks on a French Law Promoting International Co-operation

After 20 years of efforts, especially under the auspices of the programme "Solidarité eau" created by Stéphane Hessel, and constant struggles on the part of certain well-known people, such as Pierre-Frédéric Ténière-Buchot, a law has just been passed in France allowing local authorities and agencies responsible for water supply to earmark part of their income so that it can be spent directly on work aimed at improving supplies of clean water and sewerage for poor people in developing countries.
The authors show how important this law is, in part because it promotes decentralized arrangements for international aid and is likely to channel much larger amounts of assistance than that provided by the state.

Revue

Géopolitique

A Look Ahead. Review of Alain Minc's Book, Ce monde qui vient

Rémi Perelman discusses Alain Minc's latest book, Ce monde qui vient (The World that's Coming, Paris: Grasset, 2004), which attempts to foresee the changes about to occur in the world. Indeed, since the collapse of communism, the world has been constantly changing. The rise of Asia, the United States as lone superpower, terrorism, the expansion of the European Union - it is hard to see whether stability is possible and what form it might take, or where France might fit in the new world order. Alain Minc gives his opinion on these topics, along with a strong piece of advice to the French: to wake up and at last appreciate how they must adapt to the transformations taking place.

Bibliography

Entreprises, travail - Géopolitique

Prospective, défense et surprise stratégique. Le stratège, l’improbable et l’inattendu

Prospective et défense sont depuis longtemps intimement liées : la première trouve naturellement dans la seconde un terreau fertile à son développement, notamment dans sa capacité à offrir un cadre à la planification militaire dans un environnement forcément complexe et imprévisible. Certaines des approches méthodologiques modernes de la prospective ont d'ailleurs pour origine des réflexions d'ordre militaire (aux États-Unis, par exemple, dès les années 1950, au sein du projet RAND). Au-delà des relations entre prospective et défense, l'auteur ...

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Revue

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

The Digital Divide in Europe. The Economic and Social Issues Related to "Knowledge-based Europe"

The 1990s saw the arrival of a new era for most industrialized countries. The rise of new information and communications technologies meant the start of a period of very rapid changes that completely transformed the daily life of ordinary people. But while these developments brought with them actual progress and hopes of further advances in many fields (e.g. communications, medicine, education), they also had the effect of leaving some people behind. As Patrick Cohendet and Lucy Stojak argue here, the knowledge-based society has indeed marginalized some groups in Europe, and this "digital divide" (here measured mainly in terms of use of the Internet) could well become more serious if nothing is done to improve matters.
The authors begin by defining what is meant by "digital divide", distinguishing technological (basically quantitative) considerations from a socio-economic approach (taking account of qualitative aspects, such as the ability to use technologies, as well as quantitative ones), which is the one they prefer. They then present a typology of users (and non-users) of the Internet, showing the inequalities linked to social class, geography, age, etc.
As the authors emphasize, it is essential to narrow this divide if the European Union in future is to achieve its aim of becoming "the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world"; this must be done in order to prevent a widening of the gap between the older and newer members of the EU, and more generally between densely populated regions and isolated areas; and it is an important consideration given an ageing population, as older people tend to be less computer-literate. Moreover, it is all too clear that simply having the infrastructures for access to the mass of information available via the Internet is not enough; people must also be able to sort out this information, then understand and assimilate it. In other words, for a truly knowledge-based society to develop there needs to be a genuine effort to educate the public.
Lastly, the article proposes a series of policy measures geared to narrowing the divide, starting by installing the necessary digital infrastructures across the whole of Europe and providing universal broadband access to the Internet, just like access to the telephone in the past.

Bibliography

Géopolitique

Vital Signs 2005

Depuis 1992, le Worldwatch Institute suit un ensemble de tendances économiques, sociales, environnementales provenant de milliers de sources d’information, afin d’établir un bilan de l’état de la planète. Les indicateurs présentés dans cette édition 2005 vont de l’alimentation à l’énergie, en passant par le transport, la santé ou encore les conflits armés. L’année 2004 a été celle de tous les records : la croissance mondiale a atteint 5 % et la production comme la consommation de ...

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Bibliography

Géopolitique - Territoires, réseaux

The Transport Sector : What Future ?

La mobilité est aujourd'hui une composante essentielle du développement économique et social de l'Europe. Cependant, la demande croissante de transport suscite des préoccupations concernant ses effets négatifs, comme la pollution de l'air, le changement climatique, la dégradation du paysage et de l'écosystème, le bruit, les embouteillages et la sécurité routière. Ces trois rapports font partie d'un programme, Sector Futures, qui a pour objectif de faire le point sur les perspectives de secteurs tels les services ...

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Chapitre Géopolitique

Ce chapitre est extrait du Rapport Vigie 2016 de Futuribles International, qui propose un panorama structuré des connaissances et des incertitudes des experts que l'association a mobilisés pour explorer les évolutions des 15 à 35 prochaines années sur 11 thématiques.