WAR AND PEACE
A glance over the 21-st century
By the Colonel Alain Faure-Dufourmantelle
The time of transition which we cross between the world finished of the twentieth century and world in gestation of the twenty first century gives us occasion and leisure, relative, of a reflection on the future history. But previously let us wonder: is it possible to move on road of the forecast without running a risk, inherent to all which concerns the future, to commit heavy errors of judgment? Are there constants of the history of the world on which it would be possible to lean for casting a lucid glance, or presumed such, on what will be waiting for our descendants towards whom we have a responsibility in different degrees? The education of the authentically historic event that was the Great War, renamed First World war because for the first time in the history of the humanity a regional conflict had become world and was going to extend until Far East, these lessons had they not still current value? Is it possible and acceptable to forget that a different fact, the princely rank of victims of Sarajevo's attempt transforming into world political event what would have been normally only a terrorist murder, would have repercussions until the Sea of China? The globalization was already on the march without the reach of the phenomenon was perceived. Let us look clearly at the period of extreme historic intensity that chained Second World War to the First one. A deaf fate seems to guide by the hand all the protagonists of the tragedy, which is going to lead Europe to a definitive fall, any conceivable being restoring in the term of a disastrous collapse. The protagonists are not the only Europeans of it. Outside of the scene of the European Theater America begins the drama by denying the commitment to take care of the respect of the treaty of Versailles what it had set to France. Anticipating then being astride the disorders which settle down on the West, the Russia revolution brings its contribution to the functioning of the infernal machine which is going to break Europe, mother of the Occidental civilization. Stage by stage, as well as Apollo in the " OEdipus king " from Sophocles Oedipus in the tragedy, an absurd chain of causes and effect almost mechanical is going methodically to lead the Europeans in a trap which takes under their eyes and in which, by cowardice as much as by blindness, they are going inevitably to enter.
The history between the two wars is distressing one illustration of disastrous consequences entailed by the absence from politicians of quality that Napoleon placed at the head of all of what are necessary for them, the character to which it is advisable to add general knowledge, as indispensable to the exercise of the responsibilities of State as any specialized competence. General de Gaulle and Edouard Herriot, politician of large culture which was a president of council under the third Republic, underlined both of it importance. Let us return in Europe by noting that between the end of Second World War and the beginning of civil war in ex-Yugoslavia peace reigned in Europe. The confusions which shook it between the end of the war in 1945 and the collapse of the soviet system in 1990, such the blow of Prague or the invasion of Hungary, had only limited effects which did not result in the major confrontation dreaded by the two opposite camps, that is the West which baptized camp of the freedom and the East which proclaimed itself camp of the democracy.
Forty five years of peace, peace under the most terrifying weapons but peace all the same, allowed Europe to recover from devastation of the war and to settle down right by the United States in the first rank of countries of the richest in the world. However, as soon as one of two powers militarily equivalent antagonism of which created a state of balance favorable to the preservation of peace disappeared of the European ground. Certainly, no serious comparison is valid between the civil war that destroyed the former Union of Yugoslavia and the two terrible conflicts, which ravaged and bled the countries of Europe. However, the break of the state of peaceful balance that existed inside the Yugoslav ex-union has a symbolic value of warning. We will not go hand and on of the shady previous history of this crisis which we exposed in our book " Europe of Oedipus ", book built on the subject of this fate which swamped Europe and which still threatens it. It is advisable not to ignore that bursting later near half a century of peace the destruction of Yugoslavia was not completely spontaneous and that certain outside wills were to work to provoke it and to take so a revenge on a past abhorred by losers. Let us notice also the blatant contrast which exists between the forty five years of peace which accompanied cold war and the outburst of hatreds which occurred on the West as soon as the risk to pass to real war disappeared.
A fundamental education gets free of the succession of tragedies, which marks the history of Europe during twentieth century, the constancy of the motives of the behavior of man. Charles de Gaulle, then colonel, had made the base of his political and strategic reflection of it when he wrote in 1932: " Where does one see that passions and interests from where go out armed conflicts keep silent about their requirements? " One year later Adolph Hitler became the chancellor of Reich and entailed the German people during twelve years in a fanatical will of revenge, about conquest, and about dominion. The prediction of the colonel de Gaulle was verified, passions from where go out armed conflicts had not kept silent about their requirements. A second education should be pulled from this period of the history of Europe: passion was stronger than interest and determined German politics while its understood well interest would have wanted that Germany exploits its economic success by protecting peace. For the current period, the considerations of economic interest dominate on all others and the politicians neglect wrongly the place which passions occupy in the life of the peoples while it can become again dominating and falsify any forecast established on a peaceful perspective.
The decisive lucidity of the future leader of Free France laid exactly in its innate knowledge of the human nature to which he associated the fruit of the most elaborated the personal work, the general knowledge, which allowed him to foresee without error the future defeat of the Nazi enterprise and to carry out the return of France in the camp of the winners. We know its rigor of classic writer and the watchful attention which he brought to the papers, we shall grant so the biggest importance for the choice and for the word order which compose the sentence which we have just quoted. First, let us notice that he placed passions before interests. In the current time when the economic is dominant it would be wise not to forget that the man is not just that a machine to calculate. One can even support, as bitter ambition, which inspires the big bosses of industry or finances, is only a shape of passion, that is the will for expended power according to a principal that Nietszche holds dear. Let us recognize however that real passion is selfless; traditional distinction between passions and interests keeps therefore all its value. Let us note also the use of the word requirement which translates the inflexible character of the will of some and the others confrontation of which ends in confrontations which reason rejects but which it sees itself in the obligation to notice. As for the word to keep silent, it has the advantage to express the temporary character of the silence that becomes established between the periods when the oppositions of passions and the interests burst in the noise and the fury. Then, an interrogation appears at us: silence, relative, that our time would crossbar be definitive? He would announce in this hypothesis a transformation of the nature of the man which neither Christianity nor philosophy had been still able to achieve in spite of appeals which repeated during dozens of generations. Would not current silence be rather, as in past, a prolonged but temporary episode? If one accepts such an interpretation, the image as it gives the future will be certainly considered pessimistic and appropriate to alarm wrongly those that would adopt it. However, would it be for all that inaccurate? To try to raise an uncertainty so annoying let us try to look clearly at the world which is in gestation under our eyes and to bring to the big interrogation war or peace not a too much risked answer but the sketch of a realistic sight.
Let us observe so the evolution of the world by placing us in the very high height where geopolitics and geo-strategy impose to be situated. We notice at first that since the middle of twentieth century technical progress introduced revolutionary alterations in strategy. We are going to define it briefly main lines by clarifying them by concrete examples illustrating the fantastic modifications of scales, which it introduced into the forecast and into the action. Let us consider at first the scale of distances. While the strategic planners of Second World war had to prepare operations by basing their calculations on passable distances which exceeded rarely some thousand kilometers, their contemporary successors elaborate their future actions on a scale of distances ten times as large, intercontinental and spatial dimension being constantly presents to their mind. Therefore, Europe dimension is to replace by the dimensions of Eurasia or Europe-Mediterranean or still Europe-Near or Middle East. A remark of general order applies to this change of scale as to all the developments of our time: they do not abolish the former dimensions that remain completely valid so that the complexity of strategic operations is made bigger. Regional level, and even local, can be the theater of operations aiming at distant objectives which are not apparently connected to the actions which take place at its level. As regards the ladder of times, it was even more widened. In the scientific domain it comes down to the femto-second (a millionth of billionth of second) in nuclear phenomena. In the military domain, some dozens of minutes are enough so that a strategic missile reaches a target situated to the antipodes of its launching point. However if brevity and even the extreme brevity of the factor time are henceforth integrated into specialized activities its scale also dilated in the sense of duration, the progress of big industrial or technical programs spreading out on seven to ten years. Let us add to complete the picture which big political projects can aim at objectives which will be reached only at the term of several generations; so if the idea of Europe is not realized about two generations after the signature of the treaty of Rome and its vague fulfillment gets lost in the ancient time. As for the scale of the masses, by placing us in the field of the power of destruction which is a decisive military aspect of the strategy, it exceeded the coefficient of development one thousand with the settling of the atomic explosive. These colossal changes define henceforth the frame of any strategic reflection by associating in a forward-looking analysis the short term in which usually take place the often unforeseen, passionate acts of inspiration, and the long term of political calculations at present based on economic projects of which forecast is so rigorous on the mathematical plan of the unpredictable bases of the future behavior of the people.
Let us look then at the new world which appears slowly from the ground womb; let us drawn the big lines of its personality in forming as become clearer gradually the outlines of the face of a child who grows and let us try to distinguish some tendencies of the future.
Major fact is the turnover of the demography, a fact that has no historic precedent and of which one has to foresee that consequences will be, historic. An example will be enough to show the importance of it: during the last century the population of the globe increased closely of four billions and a half of persons while during the previous twenty centuries it had increased less than eight hundred millions! It is the real revolution that twentieth century knew; it continues in the twenty first in a slow rhythm in comparison of the ones of the last decades but the twenty five years to come will see another increase of two billion persons which will carry the total population in the neighborhood of eight billions. It is necessary to be penetrated with the fact that this unique event in the history of the humanity is the essential factor of the future times. It is most especially since the second characteristic is the disparity of population growth on the scale of the earth. While the Occidental countries see their population stagnating or declining by decrease in the birth rate at the same time as they are struck by aging the other countries see them populations growing in proportions incomparably superior. The most typical case is that of the Mediterranean Sea where the populating of the countries of the north bank will remain about constant during next twenty five years while that of the countries local residents in the South will increase more than hundred millions. The imbalance which result from it are all the more worrisome as the wealth of the earth is very irregularly distributed: the decreasing and aging populations are those of the richest countries while situation is exactly inverse for the prolific countries which are often poor and even very poor.
It is useless to remind that our time is marked by progress unprecedented of means of information. Any event that arises completely of the earth can be technically presented on a television screen in any other point less than tenth to three second having occurred. Image and sound almost can enter immediately any home if restrictive, material or administrative capacities do not stop them. Consequently, these prolific and poor peoples are exactly informed about their lower social condition. Urbanization, which is also a world phenomenon, transforms into depth the living environment of the new societies. They are masses of several dozens of million persons which pile up in the modern megalopolis which are more and more numerous and which extend ceaselessly; These masses are crossed by aspiration and feelings of which force, and impotence which is mostly associated to them, prepare the compost on which will grow and will mature the fruits of their forced passions. In this frame of immense poor, urban masses or not, where the difficulties of life are infinitely stronger than for communities the most discriminated by the countries of the Western level of life the credit granted to arguments and leaders' slogans calling them to fight against those that would be seen as the responsible for their lower condition would be inevitably very large. The power of the weapon that is the manipulation of spirits through media gave widely evidence. If the successes were limited rather so far to the internal problems of some countries as imperial Iran or Afghanistan it would be unrealistic to underestimate the power with more big turntable ladder to reach directly or indirectly the objectives that official or occult powers would have settled. The fundamental political error of the Occidental leaders, inspired by the trade logic of the United States and driven by almost exclusively economic considerations, is to neglect the moral aspects of the necessities of the people. It is not in mind of the present article to dispute the importance of the economic factors which assist technical progress, and consequently social progress, as well as progress, frequently forgotten, of war instruments, but it is well in the intention to underline firmly that the man, considered individually or collectively, is not just a calculator or a consumer. The neglect of what makes its dignity is more than an error, a kicks out fault generator of serious frustrations which will be able to express themselves only in attitudes of refusal and discharge sources of conflicts themselves taking different forms among which classic armed shape. We wrote that this error should be imputed to the Occidentals because it is especially them, with whom one has to arrange Japan and the Asiatic States which splendidly equaled them in the economic success, which one sees forgetting that the man has a double, physical and spiritual nature, and that it is dangerous to push aside the last one for the benefit of the first. All the history of the humanity is fundamentally impregnated with fight of the spirit against the material. The unrefined error of the Occidental political thought is to lock itself into the cult of a venal materialism and to believe that the complete human community, or at least the administered, will always be satisfied with it. Eventually insignificance from this point of view will burst.
The globalization, which is really only the extension of the American materialistic model materialist in all societies, already arouses rather strong hostile reactions. One can there see the first symptoms of a vast movement of refusal, which shows itself initially against symbolic projects as the genetic manipulation of plants. A comparison with a known well geologic phenomenon seems to us suited to define depth, area, and force of this movement of discharge at the same time as its slowness to be set up. It is indeed for the extreme slowness at the same time as in the irresistible power of the movement of tectonic patches that the big currents that pull the man into the course of the history are comparable. The most eloquent example was the slow and irresistible development of religions, in particular Christianity winning at its cause the peoples of the Mediterranean Sea then extending in all Europe and shining then all over the world. Islam on the religious plan and Marxism on the ideological plan are more recent examples of it of which the last one by the speed of the expansion then by its decline puts in evidence the new phenomenon of the acceleration of the history. The slowness with which the big currents of the life of the humanity showed them in the history should be a notion put in perspective by considering the contemporary speed of the broadcasting of ideas. Such as we defined it at the beginning of this paragraph the globalization is characterized by a standardization and a leveling of societies subjected to a not ideological materialism engendered by a mercenary attitude which denies and erases all which is not a occasion of profit or which transforms it into occasion of earning. The man loses there his soul. The appearance of powerful movements of refusal and discharge of the globalization, considered in itself or becoming a held in contempt symbol, is so predictable. According to the images of identity which will be applied to him the refusal will be able to express feelings and aspiration of the most varied, national, religious, political, social or even racial if a race is identified with hit. As for the forms which this refusal will be able to take they will obviously be a function of the place, the moment, and the motive that will have determined them, covering all the range of possible actions since commonplace administrative measures violating more or less the rules of the World trade organization until the actions of force, opened or subterranean, any dimensions.
Reaching the term of this article let us ask the question which summarizes everything: would conflicts be called to disappear of the life of the humanity for the reason which the numbering of dates begins henceforth with 20 instead of 19? Evident answer calls a single comment: in traditional confrontations overlapped, simply a global dimension which returns international relations more complex without having modified the nature of the man.
Then, " Where does one see that passions and interests from where go out armed conflicts keep silent about their requirements? ".
Versailles, on April 22, 2001