For centuries, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Britain and other Western European countries ran global empires that steered or influenced the course of world events.
These nations operated from a position of strength: They possessed the military might to force their will upon weaker countries—and were not afraid to use it. “Peace must be kept by force.”
In the twenty-first century, no less than in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, force remains the ultima ratio.
The question, today as in the past, is not whether nations are willing to resort to force but whether they believe they can get away with it when they do. Victory is as much a curse as a blessing. Take the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a country that not two Americans in a million could have found on a map and where no direct American interest could be identified, other than the fact that the Soviets were there.
A world in which autocracies make ever more ambitious attempts to control the flow of information, and in which autocratic kleptocracies use national wealth and resources to further their private interests, may prove less hospitable to the kind of free flow of commerce the world has come to appreciate in recent decades. The widespread flowering of democracy around the world in recent decades may prove to have been artificial and therefore tenuous.
We have signs of the global order breaking down are all around us. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and seizure of Crimea was the first time since World War II that a nation in Europe had engaged in territorial conquest.
The international system is an elaborate web of power relationships, in which every nation, from the biggest to the smallest, is constantly feeling for shifts or disturbances. Since 1945, and especially since 1989, the web has been geared to respond primarily to the United States. Not now. The Russia-Ukraine and Syria crises, and the world’s tepid response.
The general upheaval in the greater Middle East and North Africa, the growing nationalist and great-power tensions in East Asia, the worldwide advance of autocracy and retreat of democracy—taken individually, these problems are neither unprecedented nor unmanageable. But collectively they are a sign that something is changing, and perhaps more quickly than we may imagine.
Since the end of World War Two the Inequalities of the world are widening.
For nearly 70 years the U.S. has maintained a nuclear deterrent second to none but it has learnt recently that to influence other people’s and other nations without simply annihilating remains one of the most difficult of all human tasks.
It has also extended its deterrent over some 31 allies in Europe and Asia. The result? The U.S. has maintained the peace between the nuclear super powers for nearly 70 years.
Before, the great powers, each century, averaged between five and eight great wars, in which each year, on average, more than 1% of the world’s population perished.
These days we have tribal religious terrorism attacks on the West, and against non-Muslims in particular, that are sensationalized in the media while those afflicting non-Westerners and Muslims are normalized and treated as business as usual, generating limited public interest and, in turn, limited outcry from activists and institutions that could actually affect change.
We have Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria committing a massacre of unbelievable proportions in Borno State. Over the period of a few days, the terrorist group killed more than 2,000 people in the town of Baga, as well as 16 neighboring towns and villages, burning entire communities to the ground.
In all likelihood, you probably didn’t hear about it until just now.
The last month has been one of horror for France. After a three-day rampage in which terrorists killed 17 people both at the Charlie Hebdo offices and at a Jewish kosher supermarket. An estimated 3.7 million French citizens took to the streets of Paris in a solidarity march for free Speech. Two Tunisian journalists, Sofiene Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari, were beheaded by Islamic State militants in Libya and received almost no coverage for their sacrifice.
The 9/11 attacks resulted in 2,996 casualties. the resulting War on Terror launched by George W. Bush Jr. has led to at least 227,000 people (more than 300,000 according to other estimates). This includes 116,657 civilians (51%) between 76 – 108,000 insurgents or Taliban Islamists (34% to 36%), 25,297 Iraqi and Afghan soldiers (11%), and 8,975 American, British, and other coalition forces (3.9%).
Yet these statistics do not take into account that the deaths tolls were only from the coalition reports. icasualties.org has listed 4,770 coalition troops (4,452 American and 179 British) who have died in combat in Iraq since 2003, and 2,441 soldiers (1,566 American, 364 British, and 56 French) who died in Afghanistan since 2001.
It is worth mentioning the number of pro-Saddam forces that died in Iraq: 16,595 security forces from the post-Saddam era, 1,764 private contractors, 1,002 Sons of Iraq, and between 38,778 and 70,278 other supporters of the regime. Civilians suffered the greatest number of deaths. The Iraq Body Count documented between 100 and 110,000 civilians who died violent deaths since 2003 the estimated number of victims from the Iraqi War could range from 100,000 to over one million.
In Afghanistan, there were 7,500 casualties from Afghan security forces – 200 were from the Northern Alliance, and more than 38,000 were either part of the Taliban or insurgents.
It’s no wonder that Iran wants to acquire a nuclear weapon, which will more than likely lead other powers in the region to do the same. As to why they would want to is beyond comprehension, other than self-destruction.
A nuclear war head might be useful to destroy an incoming Asteroid but it is useless in stopping MILLIONS of Rwandans being hacked to death with nothing more than farming implements.
In total, the War on Terror has cost $1,283 billion since 2001.
In this series of post I am asking the Question: What is the use of maintaining a Nuclear Arsenal in a world where power has little to do with War heads.
We saw in the first post on the subject that Britain failed to prevent the rise of German hegemony twice in the twentieth century, leading to two devastating wars that ultimately undid British global power.
The conclusion of WWII ushered in the Cold War, which left Europe caught between the competing interests and politics of America and the USSR. With their economies and infrastructures in shambles—and no longer possessing the military means to impose their national will—were relegated to being minor players on the world stage.
The next country in the Nuclear Club of today is France.
Like Britain France suffers from not be able to recognizes that the post-French world is a reality — and embraces and celebrates that fact that is not a Superpower.
Prior to World War II France tended to consider the United States as another nation among many, one lacking a worthy cultural heritage and, for all its size and wealth, not in the same class as France and other European powers. The war changed all that. The U.S. was suddenly a Super-Power, then the sole super-power and as a powerful player in European and word affairs, consequently a major threat to French power and influence.
The French are typically characterized as being passionate, sophisticated, globally minded, whimsical, diplomatic, stylish, proud, impractical and refined. One of France’s national symbols—the strutting, preening rooster—evokes the country’s grandiose showiness and sense of self-importance.
France still maintains a fleet of nuclear-armed submarines and strike planes – and more than 300 warheads. These submarines are gradually being adapted to carry a new ballistic missile – the M51 – and between now and 2015 a new nuclear warhead will also be deployed.
Why bother? other than reaffirming the country’s reintegration into Nato’s command structure.
France ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1998 and dismantled its nuclear test site in the South Pacific. France also stopped producing plutonium and enriched uranium for weapons and dismantled the production facilities for these materials. In 2010, France and Britain agreed to pursue closer cooperation in nuclear matters, establishing for the first time a joint simulation center to for their nuclear arsenals. France and the United Kingdom intend to save money by pooling certain support activities for their nuclear forces. An additional motivation may be sending a signal of mutual political backing for each country’s long-term commitment to war-prevention through nuclear deterrence.”
Since the late-1980s France has eliminated approximately half its nuclear warheads and all of its ground-based delivery systems. It currently spends the equivalent of 1.56 per cent of gross domestic product on defense that is to creep ever so slowly to €32.51 billion in 2019.
Are the French people still comfortable with being a nuclear power?
French policy on nuclear disarmament has explicitly stressed the idea that the goal should not be simply the abolition of nuclear weapons but the achievement of increased security for all.
However in France there is an absence of any real political debate about the future of its nuclear arsenal. Few French politicians challenge the relevance of nuclear deterrence.Support for the deterrent is deeply rooted in French society and history, ever since it became a nuclear power in the 1960s.
The traditions of French culture and identity are facing challenges on two fronts.
One is the difficulty of integrating non-European immigrants (especially Muslims) into a thoroughly European (and majority Catholic) nation. To make multiculturalism the new model for France. It would no longer be up to immigrants to adopt French culture, but for France to abandon its own culture, language, history and identity to adapt to other people’s cultures…’”
The country’s nuclear deterrent does nothing to reduce its unemployment rate of nearly 11 percent and a public debt that is 95 percent of GDP.
Quarrelsome” is the word that best described the French character. This is sometimes called “isolationism.”
The future demands that we learn to see ourselves and our nations “from the outside in” — the way others see us.
The next few decades are crucial. The time has come to break out of past patterns.
Attempts to maintain social and ecological stability through old approaches to development and environmental protection will increase instability.
Terrorism is often defined as unlawful violence or systematic use of terror against civilians or politicians for ideological or political reasons, with the intention to create fear. Terrorism is practiced by nationalistic groups, religious groups, revolutionaries and ruling governments.
The dynamic nature of terrorism means individual events are impossible to predict,”
Security must be sought through change. Ben Franklin, said “Any nation who gives up some freedom to gain a little security, will deserve neither and lose both.”
Europe/USA are founded on “Genocidal Expansionism” Not “Isolationism.”
If we are to learn anything from the elections in Greece people are where power rests, not in Nuclear Deterrents. It is quite obvious Governments must invest in this source of Power by removing Inequalities of opportunity and stop wasting revenues on worthless Warheads.
American ignorance of the outside world, however, pales in comparison to our infamous “monolingualism.”It is as if after it emerged as the only global superpower following the Cold War, the United States decided that the defense of its interests — and the effective management of global conflict — would not require Americans who understood the world in terms other than their own.
September 11 brought home the horrible cost of shortchanging international education.September 11 may have awakened Americans to the degree to which we are disliked and resented around the world.
“We are what connect you to the world. The solution to end terrorism is international educational exchange.”international education can produce the leaders needed by the global knowledge economy — and the profound changes it will bring about.
our country will retain its identity and its autonomy, likewise its capacity to assume its place in command and wield influence over planning, policy and strategy. between 2014 and 2025, of 364 billion euros 2013 to the « Defence » mission. It is a substantial effort considering the context of public finances.
The White paper acknowledges the defence industry as a driver of competitiveness for the French economy and employment. With 4.000 companies, revenues of almost 15 billion euros, and a workforce of about 165.000 France’s avowed goal of creating a multi-polar world, attributing it to France’s superpower
“envy.”the United States may appear to be the world’s only superpower, spending more than the next 15 nations combined on military power.
Europe is no longer dependent on the United States for any real security or defense needs.the United States still relies on European bases and infrastructure for non-NATO missions.
Remember that the United States has had very little success in helping create stable democracies in any part of the world over the last two decades, to help balance an increasingly powerful China, check Taliban-like extremists and terrorists in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea, help stop nuclear proliferation in Iran — and stabilize the world oil market.
China has neutralized U.S. power Elsewhere, the troubled underdeveloped regions of the world, struggling with disorder, bad governance and arrested development, if not outright poverty, do not seem to be the beneficiary of American dominance.terror cannot be eradicated by military action alone.We need to ask ourselves not only why they hate us, but also why we did not know they hated us so much.
September 11 exposed an international knowledge gap
25% of college-bound high school students surveyed did not know the name of the ocean that separates the United States from Asia. 80% of those questioned did not know that India is the world’s largest democracy.83% — could not find Afghanistan or Israel on a world map. An even a larger number — 87% — could not locate Iraq or Iran.Less than half could find the United Kingdom, France, or Japan on a world map. Less than two-thirds could correctly identify a much larger landmass — China.
most boundaries in the Arab world, had been arbitrarily drawn by the British Empire.
twenty-first-century Europeans, for all the wonders of their union, seem incapable of uniting against a predator in their midst, and are willing, as in the past, to have the weak devoured if necessary to save their own (financial) skins.
A liberal world order, like any world order, is something that is imposed, and as much as we in the West might wish it to be imposed by superior virtue, it is generally imposed by superior power.The world economy, and the American economy, lurched from crisis to crisis.France cannot ignore its obligation to rethink its military model, the functioning of its defence,