December 2005 - n° 681
The clear desire of the United States to aid the establishment of democracy in countries in transition, whilst at the same time broadening its sphere of influence, lies closely behind the ‘velvet revolutions’ in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. In putting this policy into effect, Washington has called upon NGOs and private American foundations to provide the essential links needed to create, finance and train the youth movements which have become the driving force behind the democratic revolutions known as Otpor in Serbia, Kmara in Georgia, Pora in Ukraine and Kel-Kel and Birge in Kyrgyzstan.
Increasingly, French diplomacy is following the examples of others in employing the expression ‘strategic partnership’. However there appears to be virtually no legally binding or even practical definition of this term. Harold Hyman draws together what little exists. He retraces the history of the expression, and examines and compares some currently active strategic partnerships. What emerges from this is a preliminary definition that reflects the ‘communication’ abuses of diplomatic language.
French strategic thinking today swings readily from self-satisfied inertia through fatalistic conformity to irrational alarmism. What has happened to the clear-sighted self-sufficiency which allowed the French to maintain their sang-froid, even in difficult times? It is the same story with the terrorist challenge, the Iranian nuclear issue and the debate on the Turkish question. Let us look at the current situation through new strategic spectacles (with corrective, or politically ‘incorrect’ lenses?) and let us try to stay within sensible strategic limits.