Books. The planet is coming out of almost two years from an unprecedented health crisis. While it is still too early to assess all the consequences, the “Illegible magma of the world”, according to the formula of the philosopher Pierre Hassner (1933-2018) to characterize the beginning of the XXIe century, is always more opaque. Two works, one prospective, Ramses 2022. Beyond the Covid, the other, Geopolitics and geoeconomics of the contemporary world, which aims to decipher the grammar of power and conflict, allow us to better understand the realities of a disoriented world and the challenges it imposes.
“The great pandemics of the past have all left deep marks on social and political organization, but the Covid’s imprint and its depth will only emerge gradually”, raises the collective work Ramses 2022, headed by Thierry de Montbrial, president of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), and Dominique David, director of the journal Foreign politic. “After having, for a brief summer, made us dream of the blossoming of a new world, the global health crisis sends us back to an unchanged program: the questions of tomorrow – new design of powers, collective organization, mastery of technologies, in charge of transversal problems… – are those of yesterday and more serious ”, is it explained in the introduction before underlining that“After panic time, strategic time is back”.
The experts’ analyzes focus on three major issues: the end of the Covid and its multiple consequences, the return of Russia with its authoritarian governance thirty years after the collapse of the USSR, and the revival everywhere in the international arena of the race for power in various forms, including conventional armed conflict. The last part of the volume treats with pedagogy some thirty crucial files for the coming year.
The limits of strength
The success of the offensive carried out in autumn 2020 against Armenia by Azerbaijan, militarily supported by Ankara, to reconquer, after thirty years, most of its secessionist province of Nagorno-Karabakh, shows that the “Military power can still produce real political results: territorial gains, strengthening of a regime, strategic ascendancy in a region”, underlines Elie Tenenbaum, researcher at IFRI. He noted, however, that the inglorious withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, a few months later, “Carries a very different message”, in particular on the limits of the force. “These two extreme cases show how difficult it is to define the place of military power in the geopolitics of the years to come. Neither panacea nor obsolete, the armed force will always play a key role of lever as well as arbiter in strategic competition ”, summarizes the researcher.
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“Geopolitics and geoeconomics of the contemporary world” and “Ramses 2022. Beyond the Covid”: grammars of a post-Covid world