Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
This article looks at the aftermath of the attacks of 11 September 2001 and the anti-terrorist measures put in place by the Bush Administration in the United States. Above all, it is a warning about the dangers to academic freedom that these measures could cause: withholding of information, limited access for foreign students to American laboratories, embargo on the publication of the results of research that the Pentagon considers (rightly or wrongly) to be sensitive, etc. In the long run, the factors that have made the American research system so outstanding - its openness and its ability to absorb talented foreigners - could quite easily be undermined.
The new threats following the events of 11 September certainly give legitimacy to the secrecy imposed on "classified" research with regard to defence needs, but should such research now be conducted in university laboratories rather than in defence establishments and industrial laboratories linked to the Pentagon? Are the measures envisaged in the Patriot Act, recently adopted by Congress to deal with the challenges of terrorism, compatible with the principles and values of academic research?
Eugene B. Skolnikoff emphasizes that the situation now is far more delicate than during the Cold War (when the McCarthy witch-hunts deeply affected the conduct of research in the US): a clash is inevitable between, on the one side, freedom to undertake research, access to information, sharing of results and openness to the outside world, and on the other, the government's efforts to erect barriers around knowledge and to institute discriminatory measures against students on the basis of their nationality.
Jean-Marie Chevalier et Olivier Pastré sont venus présenter à Futuribles leur ouvrage, né du constat que les attentats du 11 septembre 2001 avaient suscité beaucoup de discours sur leurs conséquences sur la conjoncture économique, mais peu de réflexions globales sur les changements structurels profonds qui risquaient d'en découler. C'est pourquoi ils ont décidé de solliciter les économistes pour lesquels ils avaient le plus d'estime, et qui tous ont répondu à l'appel.
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?
One of today's most successful portmanteau terms, as the sociologists call them, is undoubtedly the principle of "subsidiarity" - a word that is now used for all manner of things, but above all in every discussion, whether European or national, of the future of our institutions and the redistribution of competencies among different levels of public administration.
If, in invoking this principle, the idea is generally to insist on the need to deal with issues as close as possible to where they have an impact (proximity principle), it is nevertheless the case that this well-known principle is, according to Yves Gaudemet, ambiguous and debatable, without real legal or practical meaning.
After showing how widely this principle is now used, especially in debates about European unification and the creation of appropriate public institutions, Yves Gaudemet argues first why the principle of subsidiarity is so ambiguous, and then why its future is so uncertain.
Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, acknowledged that "subsidiarity is the word that saves the Treaty of Maastricht". It does so because everybody can interpret it as suits them best, says Yves Gaudemet, who in the course of this article argues that affirming this principle does not resolve anything and can in no way take the place of the indispensable sharing out of responsibilities within the European Union.
Population growth in European countries -as in any region- depends on both natural increase (the difference between births and deaths) and, to a large extent, on migration flows, i.e. the net outcome of residents leaving and people arriving, whether from within Europe or from outside. It is therefore extremely important to measure these flows accurately and, since the aim is to control them, to try to anticipate or at least understand the factors that may be driving or restraining them.
Unfortunately, according to Michel Poulain and Anne Herm, our knowledge of the flows within the European Union and of immigration from other countries is remarkably hazy -even though accurate knowledge is an obvious prerequisite for any ultimate agreement on a common migration policy- because the methods used for measuring flows are not altogether satisfactory and differ from country to country. For example, the authors point out, the estimates of the number of Italian immigrants in Belgium differ widely depending on which country's statistics you use.
Michel Poulain and Anne Herm present a sometimes surprising description of the methods used to measure international mobility, stressing the practical problems, the uncertainties surrounding the figures currently collected, indeed the real oddities that can occur.
In the second section, while bearing in mind the difficulties with the available statistics, the authors present an overview of the main trends within the European Union, focusing first on the size of the foreign populations in each of the member states and then on the special features of migration flows into Europe from outside.
While the growth of population flows within Europe augur well for greater European unity, the authors nevertheless conclude that there is an urgent need for more reliable data on international migration and, furthermore, this will be achieved only if there is a clear policy for the EU as a whole. Unfortunately, in this area even more than others, there is a regrettable tendency among the member states to shy away from the problem, doubtless for fear that the truth might be too disturbing.
Ce nouveau Cahier de Chaillot tente de définir la forme que pourrait prendre aujourd'hui l'Union européenne (UE) en matière de politique étrangère et de sécurité commune (PESC). En effet, face aux défis de l'après-guerre froide, les modèles traditionnels de l'UE – puissance civile, militaire ou normative - ne semblent plus appropriés. Selon l'auteur, l'Union devrait fonder ses actions extérieures sur un concept de sécurité coopérative, intégrant les dimensions civile, militaire et normative, dans une approche globale ...
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Gabriel Fragnière shares his view of the cultural transformations currently under way in Europe: he argues that Europeans are about to arrive at true multiculturalism, synonymous with the emergence of 'a new kind of humanism that makes diversity the basis of what brings them together'.
Before coming to this conclusion, he offers his own definition of culture: 'the sum total of values, beliefs, attitudes [...] that are specific to a society [...] helping to generate a feeling of identity and belonging'. He shows how our societies have moved towards a plurality of cultures, which he defines as a trend away from centralization and an imposed monoculture, affirming instead a large number of individual cultures. By introducing a greater degree of decentralization, and therefore of democracy, and encouraging respect for others, pluriculturalism is therefore an indispensable step towards multiculturalism.
Yet multiculturalism does not simply mean juxtaposing different cultures. Rather, it is 'a social experience and a new way of organizing society, [...] a balance of differences that avoids both social disintegration and fusion that denies the very existence of differences'. It strengthens the unity of society as a whole by making a clear distinction between social organization and cultural identification.
Gabriel Fragnière illustrates his argument with examples drawn from the cultural functions of language (understood as 'cultural language'): communication, expression, socialization and identification. It is the way in which these elements interrelate that reveals the cultural state of an entity. Multiculturalism exists when the relationships are not one-way and when the unity of the whole of society is not challenged by the observed diversity. In this sense, he argues, Europe has indeed moved into an era of multiculturalism.
The treaty of Maastricht confirmed this by establishing a 'European citizenship' that shatters the traditional strict separation of identity, nationality and citizenship. We must therefore expect an increasing backlash of claims by minorities and others demanding that their identity be recognized within their national context while at the same time appealing to a citizenship wider than that context, as well as rights over which nation-states no longer have control.
Former Secretary of State in the Nixon Administration, eminent professor at Harvard University, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Henry Alfred Kissinger is one of the greatest experts on American foreign policy. In his latest book, Does America Need a Foreign Policy? (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001), Kissinger stresses the urgent need for the United States to establish a foreign policy appropriate to the new global situation.
Pierre Béhar, whose interest in these matters is unflagging, has chosen to review the book. Indeed, since the psychological blow of 11 September 2001, America is disoriented and needs more than ever a subtle and finely tuned foreign policy.
Béhar highlights several of Kissinger's recommendations, namely: (a) American foreign policy must deal with the whole world, and the globalizing and simplistic attitudes of "Left wing" idealism (whereby the world is moving inexorably towards greater democracy) and "Right wing" realism (whereby the free world will win and American power will expand even further) both make foreign policy impossible. (b) American foreign policy needs to be "reasoned" and must set out, for every region of the world, the moves that the United States must make in order to promote states based on peace and law. What is needed, rather than an imperial system, is an international system that maintains a fine balance among the various forces in the world while ensuring American dominance. (c) To counteract the various regional groupings and rapprochements developing around the world, it is necessary to create systems of political and economic international relations subject to American approval. (d) The economic and legal aspects of globalization must not be allowed to take the place of foreign policy. (e) Finally, the United States must drive and sustain ethical action around the world and foster a more humane moral world order.
All of this strengthens the view that American foreign policy will be the key to future developments, probably in the short as well as in the longer term, especially given that the policies of Russia and China are now merely reactive, while it seems that Europe has none at all.
Les tendances démographiques constituent, on le sait, des variables primordiales et pourtant souvent négligées. En la matière, un phénomène particulièrement important est flagrant pour ce qui concerne les évolutions contrastées de l'Europe de l'Ouest et des États-Unis. Un récent dossier de The Economist en souligne les perspectives et les enjeux . La vitalité démographique américaine actuelle, comparée à la relative torpeur européenne, pourrait avoir des conséquences extraordinaires sur la structure des populations, le dynamisme économique et les relations géopolitiques ...
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Over the last 25 years we have seen the start of a trend in Europe towards a decline in the "nuclear" family and an increase in single-parent or step families. What has been happening to family values during this period?
This is the topic examined by Nicolas Herpin, based on the results of the European Values Survey in 11 western European countries in 1981, 1990 and 1999.
Thanks to the surveys he has been able to draw up a list of the factors that Europeans reckon to be the key to stable partnership. Top of the list is good interpersonal communication, followed by doing things together, material considerations and, at the bottom of the list, opinions about same-sex partnerships. This pattern, which could be labelled "postmaterialist", varies little with age, gender or socio-economic category, and reflects a general consensus within the countries concerned, with the exception of Denmark. As to what shapes public opinion, religion appears still to have a strong influence on private life and family cohesion.
Nicolas Herpin then looks at the values particularly emphasized in bringing up children. Of the 11 qualities that parents should encourage in their children, the most widely approved were tolerance and respect for others, followed by a sense of one's responsibilities and good manners. Herpin stresses the rise of individualism, linked to young people's greater economic independence. These rankings differ more from country to country than the previous group. Similarly, clear differences between countries can be seen with regard to the social structure of public opinion.
The author concludes that countries are "differently similar" with regard to these two aspects of family life. Conjugal values have not changed over the last 20 years and differ little among European countries, all the less where the Roman Catholic church is dominant, whereas the values that should be passed on to children appear neither as stable over time nor as uniform geographically. Countries fall into groups according to the nature of their domestic labour market and the position of young people in it.
Trust in other people, which underpins all social life, both public and private, is evolving in different ways in different European countries. These trends, assessed via the European Values Surveys between 1981 and 1999, have been studied by Olivier Galland, who presents his findings here.
He starts by identifying several factors that affect the level of trust: tolerance, permissiveness, altruism, social selectiveness and confidence in institutions. It appears from the initial research that the countries of Eastern Europe are the most selective, while the countries of Northern Europe are the most permissive and trusting. Although the sense of belonging to a community is similar from country to country, trust, selectiveness and permissiveness vary greatly. Two countries stand out: Ireland for its high moral standards and high level of social integration; and France, which is permissive with an exceptionally low level of trust.
Another observation is confirmed by the surveys: the relationship between the level of trust in a given country and the degree to which its inhabitants are active in voluntary organizations, although the correlation between trust and sociableness is not automatic. In France, for example, there is a low level of trust and little participation in voluntary organizations, but a lot of socializing with friends.
Then, having measured and ranked the amount of tolerance, altruism and social integration, Olivier Galland offers the following typology of Europeans: at the top of the social ranking are the "modern integrated" Northern Europeans, who are Protestant and with a strong civic sense; the "hyperpermissive" group, also in Northern Europe but in Austria and Spain as well, aged between 30 and 49, politically on the Left, postmaterialist and with no religious beliefs; the strong individualists, who are found in the Roman Catholic and Mediterranean lands, disproportionately in France, with their traditional values; the "integrated traditionalists" of Central and Southern Europe, who are elderly, from a rural background, deeply involved in family life, with strong religious beliefs and politically on the Right; lastly, the "poorly integrated traditionalists", without strong political or religious views, such as many Italian entrepreneurs.
The author concludes that trust and permissiveness go together. Nevertheless he stresses that this openness is selective and may be combined, especially among young people, with a decline in social integration. The collapse of a religious underpinning for moral standards leaves people freer to choose their moral values, but also their allegiances and the company they keep.
During the second half of the 20th century, Étienne Schweisguth reminds us, all the social norms limiting individual freedom were challenged to some extent. In fact the surveys of values across Europe (European Values Survey, "EVS") carried out in the early 1990s showed a general movement away from so-called traditional values in all areas (morals, lifestyles, family values, etc.).
The results of the "EVS 1999" survey partly confirm this trend, especially with regard to morals. For instance, objections to homosexuality, euthanasia, divorce or abortion have continued to decline in Europe.
Nevertheless, the picture revealed by the survey seems less clearcut than at the beginning of the decade, and other trends are appearing alongside a continuing shift towards greater freedom. Examples include the greater importance given to marital fidelity and good citizenship, or to a lesser extent and in certain countries, such as France and Denmark, the wish for greater respect for public order and for those in authority. In these matters, generational change has not brought greater liberalism but rather a return to more traditional values.
In fact, according to Étienne Schweisguth, in order to avoid drawing hasty conclusions about social norms it is becoming necessary to study changes in values area by area. In his view, liberal attitudes are increasing as regards individual freedoms (personal lifestyle decisions) provided that this does not undermine the proper functioning of society (i.e. does not reduce the freedom of other people).
Taking this as his starting-point, Schweisguth suggests three (not mutually exclusive) scenarios for the way civic values in Europe may evolve: in the first, standards of civic behaviour would continue to decline despite the desire for the exact opposite; in the second, Europeans would be two-faced, condemning transgressions by other people while relaxing standards for themselves; in the third, the new emphasis on good citizenship would become stronger in the long run.
Why do we tend to think like this, act like that, or choose one thing rather than another? It would obviously be naive to suppose there was a single reason for our behaviour, but on the other hand it would be ridiculous not to recognize that our values are an extremely important factor.
But how can we define these values that influence us and ultimately shape the fundamental and often secret motives for our actions? This is clearly the first question raised by Pierre Bréchon and Jean-François Tchernia in their introduction to this special issue in which they explain what is involved in the surveys of European values that provide the substance of the subsequent articles.
Once it is recognized that these values are a driving force, obviously, it is interesting to examine how they have evolved and to do so using the results of surveys conducted regularly for almost two decades. Obviously, too, it is interesting to see how far these values are shared and whether the trends are converging or diverging, especially within Europe where, in addition to its common cultural background, efforts are being made both to deepen and extend the links.
In this introduction, the authors set out what they understand by the concept of "value", and how they aim to capture Europe's values on the basis of the series of surveys. They describe the main features of the surveys and their coverage, and highlight the usefulness of these investigations which are now carried out in 30 countries and repeated with the same questions at regular intervals, thus providing invaluable information that can lead to a better understanding of how our societies function.
An examination of the way values in several major fields have changed should not give the impression that European values are diverging, argue Pierre Bréchon, Olivier Galland and Jean-François Tchernia. Two main trends emerge from the surveys of values discussed here:
-The rise of "postmaterialism": once material needs are met and there is a sense of security, people start to challenge traditional moral positions and instead emphasize aspirations such as self-expression or community participation. This trend was very marked in France during the three decades of post-war prosperity (the "Trente Glorieuses") and has continued despite slower economic growth. These aspirations appear to complement rather than contradict each other: people today aspire to satisfy both their material needs and their postmaterialist concerns.
-The desire by individuals to decide for themselves what is good and bad, rather than allowing their opinions and behaviour to be determined by some higher authority, often a religious one. This trend has been growing for a long time, but it is quite distinct from selfish individualism that rejects any social norms or sense of belonging to a community. Admittedly individualism still exists, the authors stress, although in varying degrees depending on whether a country is traditionally Catholic or Protestant, but it is linked to a more or less strong sense of community, which inevitably means acceptance of certain rules of social behaviour, even a recognition of a superior "public good".
Nevertheless, the authors find that there are major differences among European countries that turn out to be closely linked to whether they are traditionally Catholic or Protestant. This is also true of trends in Eastern Europe.
In conclusion they argue that there is a pattern of change peculiar to each country, if not region, although some countries are more homogeneous than others. Having examined the case of several typical countries, the authors conclude that some differences persist, with their roots in the past, although this does not prevent values from changing, albeit slowly, and reforming.
The results relating to religion of the European Values Survey in 1981 and 1990 highlighted the special case of Europe, where religious belief has been declining steadily. New surveys were carried out in 1999, supplemented by studies by the ISSP (International Social Survey Programme) in 1998, which make it possible to analyse and assess the pattern of religious belief in Europe. Yves Lambert shares some results here.
He starts by presenting a map of religious views in 11 European countries - Catholic, Protestant and mixed, with a description of the status of each group. Depending on the context and the period, modernity has led to decline, change and revival of belief.
In the following section, he outlines the different types of believers and non-believers: Christians who go to church regularly, occasionally or not at all, agnostics and convinced atheists. The relationship with Christianity is varied, highly individual and "pick and mix"; religion tends to be perceived in terms of relativism and probability.
Yves Lambert then analyses the relationship between religious views and moral values. It seems that the average regular church-goer considers faithfulness, order and authority to be more important, whereas the average convinced atheist is more permissive and politically aware but less nationalistic; yet, the differences tend to decrease.
In the final section, Lambert identifies three main trends based on an analysis of 25 variables: a continuing move away from religion; a revival of Christian commitment with an increase in almost all types of religious observance; the growth of "alternative" beliefs among agnostics, in the form of individualized, unfocussed ideas not related to Christianity.
The author concludes that, since the 1990s, religion - no longer in competition with its fiercest rivals, Marxism and rationalism - can now acquire a new credibility. In the context of today's general disenchantment, in which everything is reassessed, religion may develop in ever more varied and unpredictable ways. What is novel is that the situation is completely open.
Although this article, which was written long before the recent French elections, sets out to examine long-term trends, it is also extremely illuminating about the present political situation.
While there are clear differences among countries (in particular between the Protestant nations of Northern Europe and the Catholic South) it highlights the general decline in interest in politics and in turnout at elections, especially among young people. By contrast, it stresses the rise of new forms of political activity based on protest.
Pierre Bréchon ponders how much trust Europeans place in their institutions, and shows - although, again, there are obvious differences between countries - that some institutions are well regarded, depending on their purpose, for example the systems providing education, social security and healthcare.
By contrast, stressing the gulf between political leaders and the electorate, Bréchon points out how far the democratic institutions such as parliaments are criticized for being unrepresentative.
He then goes on to look at political affiliations, in particular the Left-Right divide; he shows that although this is now much less marked, it still has a certain sense, as can be seen from the importance attached to a range of values emblematic of the two sides.
After focussing on xenophobia, the changes in attitudes to immigrants and the immigration policies adopted by the various countries, Pierre Bréchon looks more closely at democracy itself. He argues that although it is well established in Western Europe, this does not mean that it is above criticism, sometimes energetic.
Overall, the author stresses that the trends observed over the last 20 years remain steady, including the continuing diversity among countries which appears not to have diminished in spite of the growth of the European Union.
This article analyses the economic values held by Europeans, based on a series of questions asked by the European Values Survey which make it possible to divide the respondents fairly easily into those in favour of market forces versus those concerned with social justice.
Jean-François Tchernia starts by noting that there is almost total consensus in favour of the market economy in Europe, while at the same time there is wide support for the idea that it is important to guarantee that everyone's basic needs are met (social justice aspect).
As well as the differences between, for example, the members of the European Union (more liberal) and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Tchernia stresses that there remains within each country a sharp divide -which is almost impossible to reconcile- between supporters of a free-market approach to the economy and the supporters of economic redistribution.
Overall, it appears that the decisive factor, both at national and individual level, is the economic situation at the time of the survey. In crude terms, the most economically dynamic countries are those where attitudes are most strongly in favour of the free market; and the individuals who are least fortunate in terms of income or career prospects are generally the most inclined to support redistribution. Other explanatory factors are age, gender, political affiliation and level of education.
While the "social chapter" of the European Union is still evolving, the European research programme on values has carried out a series of surveys of attitudes to work in EU member countries and in five countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Hélène Riffault and Jean-François Tchernia present the results of their comparative analyses using three criteria for their evaluations of the period 1981-1999.
First of all, as regards attitudes to what work means for them, the opinions of those who work and those who do not are similar, though there are differences as to whether "work is a social obligation" and "work should always come first"; in Eastern Europe, people maintain a more traditional work ethic, whereas in the EU people would like the duty aspect to be tempered by job satisfaction. The study also looks at the extent of job satisfaction, individual free-will and respect for authority.
The authors then examine people's feelings about the place of work in their lives. In the advanced countries, work has to compete with other aspects of life, such as leisure activities, and people express the desire to achieve a better balance between work and leisure.
Lastly, the authors discuss two factors involved in what is expected of one's work: the concrete advantages and the possibilities for personal development. The latter is becoming much more important. As to the concrete advantages, the trends vary depending on the country and the social category and age group.
They conclude that a definite change is taking place in Europe. When the economic and social situation is favourable, Europeans see their work primarily as a means of developing their personal potential; material considerations are secondary provided that the benefits are attractive and tangible.
Cette conférence, organisée à Séville les 13 et 14 mai 2002 sous les auspices de la présidence espagnole de la Commission européenne et préparée par l'Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), avait pour objectif de renforcer les relations entre le foresight stratégique et la planification politique, en particulier pour la science et la technologie. Des spécialistes du foresight, des utilisateurs, des planificateurs et des décideurs se sont réunis pour identifier ce qui serait nécessaire pour accroître en pratique la ...
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Dans cet article, le Centre for Future Studies, think tank britannique créé en 1996, nous invite à un voyage dans l'Europe de demain. Les facteurs de changement dans les domaines sociaux, économiques, techniques, politiques et environnementaux sont d'abord passés en revue, pour ensuite être combinés dans quatre scénarios alternatifs. Le premier, « Triangle d'or », décrit une situation idéale : croissance soutenue, ouverture des marchés et progrès techniques permettent un élargissement de l'Union européenne à l'Est et même ...
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Dans cet entretien, Todd Sandler, professeur de relations internationales et d'économie à l'université de Caroline du Sud explique pourquoi les efforts pour prévenir les actes terroristes sont généralement inefficaces. En effet, en se basant sur l'étude de séries statistiques et en utilisant la théorie des jeux, il arrive à la conclusion que lorsqu'un gouvernement met en place un système de protection (comme par exemple les détecteurs de métaux dans les aéroports), un certain type d'actes ...
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Readers of Futuribles are well aware of the issues related to the changes in climate caused by human agency which, after long and bitter scientific wrangling, are at the heart of a complex process of international negotiations over the last ten years.
Jacques Varet brings us up to date on the most recent developments in the field of climate change, in particular the last report of the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change), which shows that the average ground temperature could rise by between 1.4 and 8° Celsius between 1990 and 2100, i.e. between 2 and 50 times more than in the previous hundred years. He surveys the causes and the consequences as they are currently understood.
Jacques Varet goes on to review the way that the international negotiations have evolved, especially since the Earth Summit in Rio (1992) and up to the conference planned for Johannesburg in September 2002, and of course including the Kyoto meeting at which for the first time an agreement - in principle legally binding - was made that set precise targets for the reduction of emissions by the industrialized countries.
A few months ahead of the Johannesburg conference, Jacques Varet looks at the current stance of various countries or groups of nations. He examines the key issues and difficulties in these negotiations, which are far from over, and the problems of implementing the measures being proposed.
Excerpts from LEWIS Bernard. The Assassins. Political Terrorism in Medieval Islam (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1967)
Bernard Lewis, a permanent member of the faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, is one of the leading contemporary oriental scholars. He has written extensively on the history of the Arabs and on the Muslim world. When he wrote his book The Assassins: A radical sect in Islam in 1967, his aim was to shed light on the issues already being raised by the growth of terrorist attacks in the West and in India and Pakistan, by comparing them with the original model in terms of organization and ideology provided by the followers of 'The Old Man of the Mountain' and his successors who killed with daggers.
In the Middle Ages, for more than two centuries, the Assassins were really innovative with regard to political and religious interventions in that they began international terrorist attacks against the major economies of the day. The Assassins were history's first terrorists, says Bernard Lewis, because by attacking the political, military, administrative and religious establishment, they were carrying on the old ideal of tyrannicide, i.e. the religious obligation to rid the world of a wrongful leader, via the fantasy that they could overthrow the whole of society through terrorist action. These kamikaze fighters did not sacrifice their lives just as an act of piety; there was also a ritual dimension, almost a sacrament, in the hope that their action would both destroy an enemy seen as the embodiment of evil and allow the terrorist to appear as a saint entering Paradise. Their targets throughout the Near East and Europe included monarchs, viziers, governors, Muslim and Christian commanders and even theologians who were denounced by their leader for their compromises with the faith, corruption, the privileges and claims to sovereignty over territory that they intended to use exclusively in line with their own religious convictions.
One can hardly avoid noticing the similarities with the terrorist attacks inspired by Ousama ben Laden. The use of daggers (never poison) was chosen in the context of a particular level of technology, just as today the resort to Stanley knives (and aircraft) was suggested by the modern state of technology: in both cases, following Lewis' argument, the terrorists' sacrifice clearly relies on a 'sacred weapon', and the symbolic target of the Twin Towers in New York or the Pentagon corresponds to the same hatred of the 'establishment' of the current dominant power. The resemblances are so great, including the Tora Bora cave complex which recalls the Alamût, that one may wonder whether ben Laden was not directly inspired by Hasan-i Sabbâh when he launched his crusade against the United States because of its double impiety : its military presence in Saudi Arabia and its support for Israel.
In the end, Bernard Lewis derives some lessons from this history dating back to the distant Middle Ages which apply equally to our own times. According to this excerpt, the wave of messianic hope and revolutionary violence described by Bernard Lewis may 'continue to roll and provide new reasons for anger, new dreams of success and new weapons of war'.
Jean-Jacques Salomon reviews here several works on military strategy, in particular two reference books: Dictionnaire de stratégie by Thierry de Montbrial and Jean Klein, which he compares with an earlier work by André Corvisier, Dictionnaire d'art et d'histoire militaires.
After noting the growing fashion for authors to produce dictionaries and encyclopedias on all kinds of subjects ('dicomania'), J.-J. Salomon stresses that the Montbrial & Klein book does not suffer from a great deal of overlap with earlier reference works about strategy. In particular, it does not restrict itself to purely military strategy and shows, according to J.-J. Salomon, that 'the major battles today are not fought on actual battlefields' but involve economic factors and the media, thereby giving a key role to civilian decision-makers. In fact, the entries in Montbrial & Klein extend beyond the military field and provide a useful complement, from a different viewpoint, to those in Corvisier.
Thus, despite the current fashion for dictionaries, those interested in strategic matters should acknowledge, like J.-J. Salomon, that both these books offer a mine of valuable information needed to understand international developments and even ideas about how they might be conducted, whether military or civilian. He suggests that they complement the recent book by François-Bernard Huyghe, L'Ennemi à l'ère numérique, which surveys the new types of technologically based forms of international violence .
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.