Défense nationale et sécurité collective this year celebrates its seventieth anniversary, which will be marked by an event under the high patronage of the President of the Republic. But its long life also testifies to the renown of this institution that has carried the torch, even if it has flickered at times, of French strategic thought.
Surviving for so long is quite a feat for a publication of this type in a field as arduous as strategic reflection. Credit is due to all those who have worked to achieve this success.
At the beginning of this year it is now up to us, but also to you as authors, readers and friends, to carry that torch even further and higher. Our aim is that, more so than ever, this journal must be the stimulus and bearer of French strategic thinking.
If the omens, or perhaps I should say the Cassandras, are to be believed, 2009 will be an annus horribilis, with recession, social unrest, environmental problems, terrorism and so on. All types of scourge will come down on our country, and on the rest of the planet. Of course it’s easier to be a Cassandra, because wrong forecasts are always forgiven or forgotten.
Yet we do know for certain that 2009 will be another year of great upheaval and change. Everyone is trying to discern the future. That is a role for our journal, and that role is amplified by the chaotic and often threatening landscape lying before us as this new year begins.
So our editorial line is clear: to look at the trends emerging in this rapidly changing world. With that in mind this first issue of the year is devoted to three themes.
First is the OSCE, an organisation too little known and sometimes even disparaged. It is headed by Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, who is leading what is one of the major strategic works in progress—a European security structure.
Next comes Asia Minor, Central Asia and Pakistan, a region where there is no doubt the future of global security is being decided. Here I would like to pay tribute to René Cagnat, a leading French specialist on Central Asia, to whom we recently awarded the journal’s Admiral Duval Prize in recognition of his many contributions.
Lastly, this issue includes articles on current questions.
So throughout the year our editorial aim will be to reinvigorate French strategic thinking so that it can help our country to make its own decisions on its future in a globalised international context.
Lastly, perhaps most importantly, as the year begins I would like, on behalf of the Committee for National Defence Studies and its journal, to wish all our readers and friends an excellent, happy year, with success in all their undertakings.