Horizon Scanning for National and International Security Click on the image to access the Weekly
In a passage of the “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, T.E. Lawrence, a.k.a. “Lawrence of Arabia”, recalls that, as he waged a guerrilla war in the Arabian Desert, he was looking for a way to besiege an Ottoman garrison. He then had a kind of military epiphany, understanding that he did not need to do that, because the garrison was already besieged … by the desert. All he had to do was to stay mobile. However, a siege can be a very strong position for the defendant, which, often, can be defeated only from inside, as a long military history shows since the Trojan War. One can wonder if, nowadays, the U.S. national defence and security apparatus is not in the same […]
The first sentence of the 2006 US Quadrennial Defence Review is “The United States is a nation engaged in what will be a long war”. Any civilian, military or factious leader in Afghanistan, could have written almost exactly the same after thirty-five years of war. And this war still goes on, but it now faces a strange strategic, ecological and economic transition, that could be dominated by a new “Afghan resource and climate curse”. Failed state-building, climate and war From 1969 to 1972, Afghanistan went through a terrible drought and a harsh winter. A terrible famine followed, which ravaged the populations of central Afghanistan. The titanic scale of incompetence, mismanagement and corruption of the Kabul government aggravated it, and maybe […]
Editorial – The financial system… again – The 23 January Weekly selected the contraction of the Chinese PMI as one of the signals to notice. Impacts of the China PMI drop have been felt notably in Asia, but, at least so far, not so much happened in the rest of the world. Thus, which types of warning could we […]
Horizon Scanning for National security No89 – Look East: Indicators are turning red! The possibility of war – between China and Japan… and the US (security treaties can also have an escalating effect) and ? – is now very much on the agenda, despite all wishful thinking and previous disbelief. The dire financial situation of Japan, which everyone tries so hard to ignore, while US potential sequestration shockwaves nears and Europe polarizes, are not the most stabilizing context and factors. We had a window of opportunity, at the beginning of February, it closed. Shall we see another opening up of “the funnel of choices” (Nye, 1993: 68-69)?
Horizon Scanning for National Security No84 – Wars in a revised socio-economic order – The gathered signals seem to point (unsurprisingly) towards the following questions: Will there be a war between China and Japan? Will Israel attack Iran? Will a new – or rather old (similar to what existed before the birth of the Soviet Union)- economy with entrenched inequalities and the disappearance of a large middle class settles in? Shall Greece be the first to violently rebel against it?
Horizon Scanning for National Security No83: Towards a multiplication of increasingly fragile states? This is what could mean the report on the state of infrastructures in the U.S. (and probably other so called rich countries?). It is a crucial weak signal that could trump all others: imagine weak, increasingly fragile “rich countries” on the backdrop of all the other tensions and threats…
As expected last week the situation in Egypt did not stabilize and many other issues escalate. Also, of particular interest this week as weak signal, we find the importance of religion in times of hardship, when all hopes seem to be lost. Considering the power of mobilisation and radicalisation of religion, this factor is to be kept in mind.