The end of the year 2011 leaves the French defence forces, and especially their personnel, with the satisfaction of having done their job pretty well in the face of the diverse and difficult demands of their operational deployments. The heroes of the hour, sadly, are the dead and wounded, so often unknown to many but forgotten by none of their service colleagues, who rightly close ranks in mutual support. In parallel, the forces have been undergoing continual adaptation to respond to the urgency of operational requirements—in logistics, equipment, ad-hoc and tactical re-organisations. The French defence machinery is turning in an environment of change and proving itself capable of absorbing the changes necessary to support the military needs of the country. Read more
The financial crisis underlines the real nature of French and European vulnerabilities, which are more economic and social than military and security-oriented. It might therefore be profitable to start the next parliament with a renewed defence and security posture, concentrating on strategic restraint and a more compact military structure.
The Afghan adventure has marked NATO deeply, and weighs heavily on its future post-2014. Will the Alliance be in a position to re-invent itself with a new mission, per-haps the anti-missile defence antidote to nuclear necessity? Will NATO learn to co-exist with the new Russia, the new Turkey, and a European Union which is simultaneously disarming itself and uncertain of its future?
No taxation without representation: why Britain just now leave the European Union - Julian Lindley-French
The crisis of the euro currency, together with the economic convergence of thecountries of the Eurozone, is profoundly disquieting to the United Kingdom; it discerns potential threats both to a European free-trade zone, and to the vital national interest represented by the London financial market. Are its only alternatives the Commonwealth and the English-speaking world? There are strong British objections to continental Franco-German convergence.
The strategic situation in Asia during the period covered by this report (May to October 2011), was marked by dualism: the persistent crises and tensions that are so evident occur side by side with dialogue, or attempts at dialogue, which have been started andrestarted yet have also often ended in failure.