Europe risks losing political, military, and economic importance in a multi-polar world that will emerge over the next two decades. That view emerges in “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World” a report issued by the National Intelligence Council.
Reviewed by Michael Mosettig
With “change” being a hot topic this year both in the European Union and the United States, there are a plethora of books about the possibilities for the West to rethink our future and to understand our recent past. Many eminent thinkers have weighed in, as bookshelves in Washington and elsewhere are bulging these days with weighty tomes by big thinkers. This literary surge coincided with the Iraq war and started with the 2003 publication of Robert Kagan’s Of Paradise and Power that sharply contrasted U.S. and European attitudes toward the use of military force. That book was followed (and the reflection broadened) by Fareed Zakkaria’s The Post-American World, Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat and, more recently, Parag Khanna’s The Second World, just to name a few. All of these authors are laying out a vision of the world in the midst of tumultuous change and their theses try to highlight the role the United States will play in it.
Following up on the roundtable with Nick Witney, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, this meeting focused on France’s acquisition policy and relations with the EDA. Lt. Gen. Patrick Auroy, Deputy National Armament Director of the Délégation Générale pour l’Armement (DGA), briefed participants on the French approach to a European Defense Industrial Base and the future of transatlantic cooperation. He outlined the major trends of the industrial policy in Europe, including using more competition and market forces, fostering cooperative programs, and giving visibility and a common reference through the publication of a clear European Defense Technology Industrial Base strategy. He also addressed the need to open the defense market and the challenges created by export controls. An open defense market, he said, will benefit all defense players with new levels of efficiency and economies of scale. Progress is needed on the intra-continental level since export is a major part of the industry. Subsequently, market forces need to be increased in order to have a globally competitive base. The Hon. William Greenwalt, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy offered a U.S. perspective.
Nuclear deterrence is the core of France’s defense strategy and, along with its permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, a principal element of France’s stature and influence on the international scene. But for the last 25 years, French strategic nuclear doctrine has been largely in hibernation. That official silence has been broken twice now by President Jacques Chirac, the first time in a barely-noticed speech in 2001 and then again this year in a January 19 speech at L’Ile-Longue, a strategic-missile submarine base near Brest, to confirm the doctrinal aggiornamento.*
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