Tag Archives: Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann

AUKUS: France geopolitical response

Brussels 14.10.2021 Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann OPINION: What is France and Europe response to AUKUS? Non-alignment and a pivot to Russia. Within the framework of the Indo-Pacific strategy, the alliance of the three Anglo-Saxon states, the United States (USA), Australia (AU) and the United Kingdom (UK) – AUKUS -has been implemented to the detriment of France and the European Union, which have been left out. What geopolitical response could be envisaged for France and its close European and Asian partners?

France, as a balancing power, should seek to avoid the hegemony of both China and the Anglo-Saxons and promote a policy of non-alignment with Germany, Italy, Hungary and Russia in Europe, and India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and New Zealand in Asia, as well as all the states that do not wish to be dragged into a confrontation, in order to avoid an American-Chinese condominium. The principle of variable coalitions should be preferred to the illusory unity of the European Union or NATO on this issue.

The question of the inadequacy of the priorities of NATO and the EU, organisations created in the context of the Cold War, in the new European and global geopolitical configuration is clearly posed for France. A reform of the European Union is therefore necessary for its adaptation to the emerging multi-polar world and its role should above all accompany the objective of strategic autonomy of the most ambitious member states. The reinforcement of cooperation programmes in the field of defence is necessary, above all at the bilateral level, within restricted coalitions and when possible at the EU level to promote more strategic independence for France and its European partners, in parallel with a rapprochement on the perceptions of security and the geopolitical aims of the European project, which are currently too divergent.

Russia has already announced its intention to adopt a non-alignment posture in an event of a strengthening of the American-Chinese confrontation. In Europe and in the world, it is therefore also with a pivot from France to Russia that France could widen its margin of manoeuvre, preferably with Germany. A Franco-Russian rapprochement would re-establish a relative balance with the Anglo-Saxons and Germany, and reduce the risk of too close a tactical understanding between Russia and China, with the more distant goal of promoting a new European security architecture.

Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann – Doctor in geopolitics, and expert on European and global issues.

UN-Syria and Migration Crisis

Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann, Geopolitician A constitutional committee on Syria was created at the end of September 2019. This committee comes from the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 adopted at the end of 2015. This committee has 150 members (50 chosen by the government, 50 by the opposition and 50 by the UN among civil society). The objective is the drafting of the future Syrian constitution that will allow to organize elections for the next presidential scheduled in 2021 and prepare the future of post-conflict Syria. The last election took place in 2014 and  was concluded with a very large victory of Bashar El-Assad, renewed with 88.7% of the vote. (Image above: migration map Frontex 2015).

In preparation for the first meeting of this committee, which took place on October 30, the UN Special Envoy for Syria held talks on Tuesday, October 28, 2019, with the foreign ministers of Russia, the Iran and Turkey.

The success of the Committee is essential in order to prepare favorable conditions for a settlement of the crisis and to put an end to the bloody conflict in Syria.

A successful outcome for this committee is also in the interest of the Member States of the European Union  approach, to create the conditions for the return of the people displaced by the conflict, and to reduce the number of refugees in the European States. It is indeed necessary to drain the flows towards Europe, and thus to reduce the impact of the migratory crisis which threatens the foundations of the EU.

The European Union would therefore have every interest in supporting this constitutional committee.  Brussels would contribute to the resolution of this crisis, and at the same time deprive Turkey of its blackmail tactics when threatening to inflate the influx of refugees artificially to obtain more funding from EU.

New global arms race

Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann, geopolitician OPINION  The United States, less than a month after its effective retreat on 02 August from the INF intermediate-range missile treaty signed in 1987 (from 500 to 5.500 km), fired an intermediate-range missile off California on August 19 to test this new weapon previously prohibited by the treaty. This new conventional missile is also likely to carry a nuclear warhead. Russia has also permanently withdrawn from the INF Treaty as a reaction to the US decision.

This missile fire reveals the following reality: To be able to launch a new missile, a month after the treaty was released, the United States had begun research on the development of a new intermediate missile, at a time when this type of missile was still banned.

It is surprising that no European member of the EU or NATO has ever stressed this aspect of the INF withdrawal. This way of proceeding reinforces the thesis of those who accuse the United States of having used the pretext of a supposed non respect of the INF treaty by Russia to develop their own missile. Moreover, by unilaterally leaving the treaty, the United States loses a means of pressure against Russia. China, which has not signed any treaty on intermediate-range missiles, is also the target of the United States seeking to maintain its strategic supremacy in Eurasia, from Lisbon to Beijing. China has so far refused to enter into negotiations on a new, larger treaty promoted by the United States that uses escalation as a means of pressure.

As a maritime power unparalleled in the world, the United States is already capable of firing medium-range missiles at Russian and Chinese territories from the sea, while Russia and China, primarily continental powers whose priority is the safety of their terrestrial environment, have so far developed less maritime capacity since their priority is the safety of their terrestrial environment as mainly continental powers. Since maritime capabilities (missiles aboard surface ships, submarines or aircraft) have never been incorporated into the INF Treaty dealing with ground-to-ground and ground-to-air missiles, an asymmetry has always existed in favor of the United States.

It should also be noted that the security environments of the United States and Russia are not comparable. The question of the geographical position of the territories of the United States and Russia is a central element to understand that we can not simply reason in terms of equivalence of armaments. Russia is surrounded in its geographical environment close to many states with increased ballistic capacity.

The territory of Russia is therefore located in a difficult strategic environment in contact with nuclear powers like China and geopolitical rivalries such as the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Far East, while the United States have for neighbors Canada and Mexico. The production by the United States of new missiles in response to the alleged non respect of the agreements by the Russians and the deployment of Chinese missiles does not bring a gain of security to the United States, surrounded by the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. It has no deterrent effect on either Russia or China which must position themselves against other threats from the Eurasian continent. This decision even provides an incentive for the Russians and Chinese to strengthen their own arsenal.

After unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM Treaty in 2002, the US INF Treaty in 2019, the United States also stressed that the 2021 renewal of a nuclear arms reduction treaty, Start II (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty signed in 2012) would not be automatically renewed.

Russia had proposed before the US withdrawal a “moratorium on the deployment of intermediate range weapons”, rejected by NATO. NATO, however, has said it does not want to embark on an arms race and so far refuses the prospect of installing new missiles on European soil.

However, this position is precarious by the risk of escalation between the United States, Russia and China that would make Europeans the losers of a new arms race. The idea of ​​a new European security architecture from Lisbon to Vladivostok becomes even more relevant. Indeed, only a continental negotiation including Russia is likely to restore confidence and more control on this new arms race on intermediate-range missiles that makes no sense for the geopolitical interests of European nations.

European army: a convenient utopia

Dr Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann OPINION The idea of ​​creating a European army is today a convenient utopia. French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken out in favor of the creation of a “European army”, on the occasion of the commemoration of 11 November 1918 in Paris, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel supported this idea. Emmanuel Macron’s statement on the “European army” should be seen as a political slogan in the run-up to the European Parliament elections of May 2019. It does not reflect nor the true French position nor the German one.

Let’s also examine this proposition from the geopolitical point of view. In reality, Germany and France have different strategic priorities because they have different perceptions of threats (see map on the perceptions of threats of Germany and France).

Although France and Germany are active in all the different ongoing initiatives to foster more cooperation on defense  in Europe, they have different priorities.

The French president is promoting joint military operations in the Mediterranean region, in the Middle East and in Africa and is looking for the support of other Europeans. For the French the threat comes mainly from the southern flank,  with Islamic terrorism. The eastern flank of Europe is for them of secondary importance

On the contrary, Germany is concerned mainly about security on the eastern flank of Europe. For Germany, which has always been part of the integrated military structure of NATO, the European army should be a pillar of the Atlantic alliance. The Germans are mainly in synergy with the geopolitical interests of the United States to contain Russia.

It is for this reason that Germany gives priority to the ongoing structured  Permanent Structure Cooperation (PESCO) between European Union member states in the field of defense and security, in order to implement joint projects in synergy with NATO’s priorities. They also focus on the concept of  framework-nation within NATO and position themselves as leaders for integration of the Central and Eastern European armies, together with the United States. Germany is wary of Emmanuel Macron’s idea of ​​a European intervention initiative (EI2) , because it is supposed to be autonomous from both the European Union and NATO. Although they provide some support, the Germans do not wish to be sucked into operations they perceive as cover for French interests in the Mediterranean region and in Africa.

The French President is also influenced by Euro-Atlanticist priorities, and this is why he believes that European cooperation in the field of defense must be compatible with NATO, but with a greater degree of autonomy than Germany. According to the vision of “Europe Puissance” (Europe as a global and military power), France is promoting cooperation in the military field between sovereign member states, in order to reach European leadership.  

In the current geopolitical context, the idea of ​​a European army could not work because Europeans would find it very difficult to agree on a integrated military command. In particular because France is a nuclear power, but not Germany. France, unlike Germany, is also a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Moreover, the decision to send soldiers who risk their lives is only possible within the framework of a national decision, since there is no “European nation”.

The future lies more in rather fluid and variable alliances and Coalitions of the Willing according to different strategic objectives and geographical theaters.

Cooperation between member states of the European Union on defense issues is already difficult enough. It is not necessary to add  utopian objectives. Speaking of a “European army” is a convenient utopia, and useful to hide the absence of real debates on the divergent geopolitical visions between Europeans, and particularly between Germany and France.

In order to progress on the path of closer cooperation in the military field, parallel work is needed to bring together divergent views on geopolitical diagnosis, perceptions of security and identification of common interests.

This would finally open the way towards a deeper dialogue on European’ aims.

Image below: map, author Dr.Thomann

EU Army map



NATO Summit: anti-missile shield forgotten challenge

Dr Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann OPINION On the occasion of the NATO Summit on July 11 and 12, the media and the European political class are  focusing almost exclusively their attention on the small sentences of Donald Trump, to detect his degree of loyalty to the Atlantic Alliance.

However, much more concrete and decisive issues for European security should receive their full attention.

The Iranian nuclear threat was the main justification for NATO’s anti missile shield (ABM) project, which has continued to be implemented until today. Since the withdrawal of the United States on May 8 at the initiative of Donald Trump, of the Iranian nuclear agreement that was signed in 2015, Europeans should be preoccupied by the future role of the anti-missile shield (ABM) and its repercussions on their security. This device meets the opposition of Russia. Russia feel threatened by the anti-missile shield as it destabilizes the strategic nuclear balance.

The map inserted in this article shows the location of the existing and anticipated shield infrastructure. The brown belt of  American bases and shield elements appear as a continuous spatial unit. The blue arrows that create movement from a US “head” to its allies, represents the perception of encirclement of the Russians and Chinese (although the shield’s stated purpose is to protect against missiles from Iran and North Korea).

The question of the anti-missile shield, if the project is strengthened, could therefore make the European territory again a theater of confrontation between the Russians and the Americans with the prospect of reinforcing a New Cold war. The European territory would become again an issue between the United States and Russia by the deployment of the anti-missile shield without agreement negotiated between the two countries.

The Germans and the French, who were initially suspicious of this project, but who finally supported its incorporation into NATO under pressure from the United States, would benefit from addressing this major issue again in the interests of European security.

Their own sovereignty is the first challenge, since it is obvious that neither will have the finger on the button to decide on the firing of ballistic missiles. The other issue is that of peace in Europe. The disagreements between Russians and Americans, increases the risk of nuclear war in Europe. Instead of speculating on Donald Trump’s  comments in the media, Europeans should ask him to clarify his position on the role of this anti missile shield within European security in order to obtain better guarantees.







Russians were “too naive”…

Dr Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann OPINION

The philosopher Schopenhauer’s Three Stages of Truth:
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

Declassified cables examined by academics from Georges Washington University (https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/russia-programs/2017-12-12/nato-expansion-what-gorbachev-heard-western-leaders-early) proves that Western leaders gave multiple assurances to Soviet Union that NATO should not enlarge to the East and this promise was made to also secure Soviet support for German unification. American and German (the most pro-enlargement) but also French and British Governments later have not kept the numerous promises they made to the Russian government, and pushed for NATO enlargement.

Vladimir Putin recently underlined that Russian officials were too naïve at that time since these assurances were not written clearly in treaties. The declassified documents prove that everything was done by the Western  political leaders a that time,  Bush, Gates, Baker, Kohl, Gensher, Woerner, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Major,  to make believe the Soviet government in these assurances. This latest research work reinforces the Russian interpretation and “Realists” academics, that the “West ” did not give a proper place to Russia in the new European security architecture, but tried to take advantage of the situation. The objective was to weaken further Russia, instead of bringing it into a “New Concert of Nations”, like Metternich and Talleyrand did with France after the Fall of Napoleon, in order to bring more stability to the European continent and overcome divisions.

We can bet this episode will be considered by future historians, as the biggest geopolitical mistake made by European politicians. But when you look at the Ukraine crisis and the alignment of most European governments on the Euro-Atlanticist priorities, in contradiction with their rational interest and those of the European nations they are in charge of, what is new ?

It is time for change and work for European strategic autonomy, in the form of cooperation between sovereign nations from “Brest to Vladivostok”, outside EU and NATO frameworks unless they can reform. However, these organizations were created during the Cold war, their paradigm are obsolete and face huge difficulties to reform properly since member states do not share the same European finalities. There are still many hurdles to overcome but this is the only reasonable project for the next decades and the only way to preserve the European civilization in the multipolar world.

Dr Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann –  Geopolitician – President of Eurocontinent


New Eurasian security architecture

‘Olympic Circles’ of Eurasian Stability OPINION  Dr Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann 

There are missing links in the security architecture of the European, Eurasian and Central Asian spaces that needs to be fixed in order to avoid a further fragmentation of the European continent between Euro-Atlantic and Euro-Asian alliances (See map Alliances and major zones of instability in a multicentric world). How this new geopolitical architecture could look like in the long term ?

Synergy is needed between the various actors to achieve geopolitical stability on the Eurasian continent. On a longer term basis, a new Eurasian geopolitical architecture based on a new doctrine of overlapping circles of international organizations would be a major factor for developing and improving Eurasian security (diagram: Overlapping Circles of World stability and Peace). The diagram illustrates the need for a new “European security treaty” with a Eurasian reach, and a new “Central Asian security treaty”.

Map 1 a

We also have to assume that an enlargement of Euro-Atlantic institutions (NATO-EU-OSCE) to the whole of the Eurasian continent is impossible. Firstly, the individual EU and NATO member states disagree on further enlargement. Secondly, it would be impossible for these Euro-Atlantic institutions to manage the geopolitical diversity of the Eurasian continent. This new security architecture is based on the “geographical tightening” principle. Geographical proximity would be a central criterion to build regional alliances in order to foster stability and prevent any further Eurasian fragmentation.

Maps 2 a

This architecture is aimed at promoting synergies between interleaved organisations like NATO, EU, OSCE, SCO, CIS, OTSC, EEU, OIC and stabilize the overlapping security spaces. The role of UN would be crucial as a forum to manage this diversity and identify convergence, divergence, competition and/or complementarity. It should lead to greater levels of stability. In-between spaces between these structures would be subject to common stabilization policies or “non-aggression agreements”.

Map 3 a

This netting of institutions resembles the “Olympic circles” (Olympic circles of Eurasian stability). The described configuration would be adapted to the emerging multi centric world to maintain a balance between the different states, alliances and political and security institutions.

Map 4