CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

“Nothing is more necessary in governing a state than foresight, since by its use one can easily prevent many evils which can be corrected only with great difficulty if allowed to transpire,” observed Cardinal Richelieu, adding that “it is more important to anticipate the future than to dwell upon the present, since with enemies of the state, as with diseases, it is better to advance to the attack than to wait and drive them out after they have invaded.” This evident but often forgotten truth points to the need for France to rethink its foresight systems, amid a strategic acceleration that is making long-term planning a matter of urgency.
The Livres Blancs (White Papers) provide major milestones in France’s defense and security sector. In 2017, the Defense and National Security Strategy Review laid the foundations for the Military Planning Act (MPA) of July 13, 2018 for the period 2019–25, and a Strategic Update paper was produced in early 2021, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting escalating competition between the great powers, the widespread use of hybrid strategies, the emboldened nature of regional powers, and the impact of disruptive technologies.
Given the many “evils” France now faces, the country must ramp up its foresight work, without limiting it to defense and security issues or to a timeline based on presidential terms, but approaching it as an intellectual exercise. Good foresight would incorporate aspects external to the political and strategic sphere much more actively than in the past, while recognizing the unique nature of this sphere as acting “in the shadow of war…

English

China and the United States both have a “grand strategy”: Beijing aspires to be the world’s leading power in 2049, while Washington plans to remain primus inter pares. In this context of competition between superpowers—also marked by environmental deterioration, digital transformation, and social fragmentation—, France and Europe need to develop their own grand strategy and strengthen their foresight systems.

  • Strategy
  • Foresight
  • Vision
  • Geopolitics
Martin Briens
Diplomat
Thomas Gomart
Director of the Institut français des relations internationales (French Institute of International Relations) (IFRI)
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
Latest publication on cairn or another partner portal
You still have to read 95% of this article
Purchase full-text 5,00€ 12 pages, electronic only
(html and pdf)
add_shopping_cart Add to cart
Other option
Member of a subscribed institution ? business Authenticate
Uploaded on Cairn-int.info on 17/11/2022
Cite
Distribution électronique Cairn.info pour I.F.R.I. © I.F.R.I.. Tous droits réservés pour tous pays. Il est interdit, sauf accord préalable et écrit de l’éditeur, de reproduire (notamment par photocopie) partiellement ou totalement le présent article, de le stocker dans une banque de données ou de le communiquer au public sous quelque forme et de quelque manière que ce soit.
keyboard_arrow_up
Chargement
Loading... Please wait