Cet ouvrage co-rédigé en anglais avec Robbin Laird et intitulé « The Return of Direct Defense in Europe: Meeting the 21st Century Authoritarian Challenge » fait un point sur la perception de la menace et des impératifs de défense par nombre de pays européens aux prises avec une évolution géostratégique caractérisée par la montée de puissances autoritaires (Russie, Chine, Turquie …), dont les ambitions régionales s’affirment de jour en jour. Il ne s’agit pas d’un énième livre sur la défense européenne ou sur les institutions en ayant la responsabilité, mais d’une mise à plat des positions de chacun avec ce qu’elles recèlent de synergies et de différences et les enjeux qui en découlent à un moment de bascule sur la scène internationale, que la crise Covid ne fait qu’exacerber.

Le général (R) Jean-Paul Paloméros, chef d’état-major de l’armée de l’Air de 2009 à 2012 et commandant allié Transformation au sein de l’OTAN de 2012 à 2015, et Kenneth Maxwell, professeur d’histoire à Harvard, ont chacun rédigé une préface. Voici un extrait de l’introduction du général Paloméros :

« The future of international relationships and their consequences for peace and democracy may be unpredictable as many keep on saying. It’s true that since the end of the 20th century, while some theorists, such as Francis Fukuyama, were predicting “The End of History,” meaning the triumph of the Western democratic model, on the contrary we have seen a succession of conflicts in the close proximity of Europe, in the Middle East, in Africa and rising tensions in the far East.

In addition, the last decade has been marked by a kind of time acceleration and a new geostrategic complexity entailing the connection, the interaction, the simultaneity of new forms of crises involving an increasing number of actors, states themselves, state-sponsored groups, ethnic or religious parties, organized criminal organizations.

The eruption of new digital technologies in conjunction with new societal behavior has supported as well this global world security transformation, giving a new life to espionage and disinformation, blurring offender identities and diluting any attribution process.

Main international actors, such as Russia or China have rapidly seized the opportunity allowed by this new geostrategic complexity to support their own geopolitical agenda by capitalizing on very destabilizing hybrid strategies enabling them to keep the level of pressure just below the threshold of armed conflict. As part of their overall strategy, these great powers have been producing a huge effort to increase and modernize their arsenals both in the nuclear and conventional domains. Taking advantage of this geostrategic maelstrom is no longer only the feature of big powers.

Other countries have tried to capitalize on the “fog of complexity” to push their national ambitions, more and more openly, especially in the Middle East, with Turkey representing the best single example as a close and influencing neighbor of Europe and member of NATO as well.

This new complex geostrategic environment represents a crucial, and vital challenge for democracies and for the international organizations which have been in charge of promoting, protecting and sometimes enforcing peace since the end of the second world war some 75 years ago. (…)
“The return of direct defense in Europe” is both a moving testimony to those who have built and defended our democracies for seven decades but as well a vibrant appeal to resurrect the spirit and the will of the democratic Alliance’s founding fathers. It’s true that the future is unpredictable, but nevertheless it’s our permanent duty to prepare for it and to learn from our history: as the Spanish born US philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952) put it: “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

In writing this outstanding tribute to democracies and the crucial need to keep on fighting for their values, Robbin Laird and Murielle Delaporte do not only draw a very well informed and instructive historic perspective on the defense of Europe since the Second World War. They enlighten as well with regard to the crucial challenges of the present and even more of the future, with regard to the key choices that leaders of our democracies must make, and with regard to the key question that lies in front of new generations: How best to defend together democracy as a unique heritage built upon the sacrifices of their fathers?  »

Vous pouvez consulter et/ou commander cet ouvrage en version brochée ou le télécharger en version numérique :