In the follow up to ECFR’s recent European Strategic Cacophony Brief co-author Olivier de France was interviewed by Bruxelles 2’s Marine Formentini about the new French strategic defence review and some of the brief’s main conclusions. The interview originally appeared in Le Club de B2.
It was kindly translated by Laure Taillandier and Sandro Luytens.
MF: So what exactly should a national white paper look like?
OdF: A white paper or strategic defence review is only useful if it frames the strategic goals of the country in light of future and existing risks and threats. This in turn should help to define and adapt the optimal size and configuration of their armed forces, in light of the most recent geostrategic developments, and within the limits of the funds a country wishes to allocate to its defence.
Strangely, most national white papers in Europe do not fulfill such
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Before the Arab Awakening, perhaps the only reason outsiders would take note of Bahrain was the country's annual Grand Prix. Accordingly, since the outbreak of revolutionary fever in Bahrain in 2011 and the ensuing state crackdown, the country's opposition has lobbied hard for the organisers and sponsors of the annual F1 Grand Prix to withdraw their support and cancel the race. The push comes as part of wider efforts to push back against broad governmental and commercial support the Bahraini government has received in the aftermath of the country's stifled uprising.
Aside from the absurd wittering of F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone who offered to mediate between the country's polarised groups and the steady outrage and documentation of Bahrain's human rights groups, it is not clear whether protests will refocus international attention on the country's ongoing political crisis. The
Europe is increasingly divided between those in favour of arming Syrian rebels and those against it. However, notwithstanding the broader uncertainty over the merits or not of providing military support (I am against), it could be argued that, for European actors, this is an entirely false debate.
Put simply, even if Europe decides to end the embargo in May and provide lethal aid, its assistance will remain so limited that it will be irrelevant to shifting the balance of power on the ground or Assad’s mindset. Europe’s inherent caution and risk aversion on the issue means that weapons supplied will inevitably be extremely limited in capability, aimed at avoiding the dangers associated with them falling into the wrong hands or being turned on regional allies. However, given the regime’s considerable ongoing military strength, any meaningful support for an armed approach
My point of arrival and departure in Greenland is at the air strip in Kangerlussuaq, a former Cold War era US military base selected for its excellent weather conditions. The runway is almost 3km long, the largest in Greenland. The photo was taken from the summit of a nearby hill after a brisk hike, and if you have extraordinarily good eyesight you might spot that the US military presence isn’t entirely gone: two USAF C-130 aircraft are parked in the far corner. One (and there’s no way you can see this on the photo) is even equipped with skis – making it basically an enormous flying snowboard.
I asked a local about the US presence, and was told that the planes are used to assist
Breaking with a decades-long tradition of having Morocco as the first destination for a French President’s first official visit to North Africa, Francois Hollande’s two-day (April 3-4) stop in Morocco came three months after his historic trip to its rival Algeria in December.
The French President’s trip to Casablanca, the economic capital of Morocco, which was carefully planned by French and Moroccan business circles, and during which he was accompanied by nine ministers and more than fifty business leaders, signaled that France is aiming to consolidate relations with its main ally in the Maghreb. Hollande seeks to reclaim the Republic’s status as Morocco’s first commercial partner after losing that title to Spain last year.
Despite the fact that his trip took place amid a political storm in France around the indictment of the former Minister, Jerome Cahuzac, Hollande’s agenda
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