Geopolitics. China, USA want “global thermostat control”

Our world is ruled by two powers, China and the United States. Can we speak of a new cold war?

The big difference is that during the Cold War, the United States’ main allies were also its main trading partners. And this Soviet-American economic exchange was very limited. Today, the economies of China and the United States are intertwined, but the two countries have entered into a strategic rivalry to subordinate their trade, digital, and climate policies. One of the big problems in this rivalry is controlling the global thermostat.

Thomas Gomart. Photo David Atlan But is it really a war?

Yes, the military has simply lost its monopoly on war. We have entered a world of invisible wars, with confrontations for different reasons: environment, finance, media, space …

And a health war with a kind of “vaccine race” …

This health diplomacy seems new to us in Europe, but has been carried out by Asian countries for several years. Because they have already seen pandemic waves. And because it is an opportunity for China to make itself indispensable in countries in Southeast Asia or Africa. This pandemic puts system resilience into competition with very strong image effects. It redistributes power in favor of China.

In this context, France must have “a great strategy”. Isn’t that just for big countries?

An important strategy is primarily a coherence of economic and security policy at the level of at least one generation. The point is then to see the war as an always possible horizon for which we must prepare so that it does not happen. Once the clashes are invisible but very real, we will have to reset our software for reading globalization. To do this, France must begin sustained forecasting efforts that go beyond the presidential calendar. Globalization is also a competition between the powers and not just the intensification of economic exchange. As in other European countries, it cannot avoid having a detailed reflection on its production capabilities and the configuration of its military tool.

A great strategy for France … or Europe?

Europe makes up 7% of the world’s population, so the European scale remains the only relevant one to think about the world. However, the European project also serves as a screen to avoid thinking about a foreign policy whose primary aim must be to strengthen France’s international position. With the departure of the United Kingdom, France’s role within the European Union is also to achieve a global vision.

As if Emmanuel Macron would exhaust himself training a Europe on this ground that does not want it …

Yes, we French tend to view Europe as a power, as if the European Union could play the same game as China, the United States or Russia. However, this is not possible due to its nature and the different aspirations of the Member States. It is a form of French stubbornness to explain the strategic urgency we are in, and I share it, but also, and this is less positive, in trying to convert people who don’t feel that way – I think in particular from Germany.

This is the example of the Sahel, where France praises the action of Europe while it is the only one fighting …

She is almost alone, the participation of other Europeans remains very symbolic … France has the means for this military intervention. But one has the impression that it is necessary to justify its necessity again as soon as it begins to suffer, as at the end of last year. In 2013, it prevented Bamako from falling into the hands of the jihadists and we always have to wonder what the consequences would have been. So it remains useful, despite the effects of attrition and the difficulty of converting the military effects generated into political stability.

But you also seem to be saying in your book that France is wrong in making terrorism the main threat that threatens it?

It is not wrong as long as terrorism kills on our soil. But it is true that it mobilizes many resources, to the detriment of other threats that seem just as, if not more threatening to our way of life in the long run: the impoverishment of our production apparatus, the loss of technological advantages, the dependence on systemic platforms for ours Health or education data …