An energetic doctoral student*, Samuel BH Faure, who now teaches at Sciences Po Lille (**), conducted numerous interviews and questionnaires with several European military, political and administrative agents. Which is very interesting in itself. Its conclusion is the existence, or rather the “emergence” of a common strategic culture specific to European defense agents.
This observation may not be shared. It has the merit of pinpointing certain realities and prompting reflection. Personally, I have a little more doubt and will probably not be so optimistic; I do not really see that this strategic culture goes beyond a few circles, made up either of militants of the cause, or of the staff during the time when they are employed in the CSDP missions and operations. And these are very, very narrow circles... There is, then, often a big "loss on line", among the old ones. But, above all, the CSDP still remains a "thing" that is too underestimated and too invisible to manage to create a common strategic culture.
It's a pity... Because the European Union has here an interesting instrument which arouses a certain unanimity, which is rare. From the Europeans who are the most enthusiastic about European construction to the sovereignists, few have any doubts about the need for Europe to act in terms of maintaining peace and stabilizing the neighbourhood. The cost of these missions and operations remains very moderate compared to so many other external expenses. But, here, little effort is made to promote it and make it known. Or, then, they do not produce the expected effects. And we should really ask ourselves about the reasons for this media impotence, rather than shutting ourselves up behind a curtain of denials.
The causes of this invisibility are well known. But no one thinks of solving them. There are some political brakes, of course. But they are rather weak at the moment (2). There is above all – it seems – a certain ignorance of the main springs of good communication. What is all in all strange: if we look back, we will see that this visibility has decreased since the years 2004-2008, despite all the goodwill committed on both sides. Strange... even though the means are superior and the geopolitical context could not be more favourable, both internally and externally.
“European Defense. Emergence of a common strategic culture”, Samuel BH Faure, 2016, Athena Editions, 236 p., $24,95
* “Varieties of decision. The dilemma of armament policy in Europe: the case of France from 1945 to the present day”, defended brilliantly, in December, at the International Research Center (CERI) of SciencesPo (Paris).
** Temporary teaching and research assistant (ATER), Sciences Po Lille and doctor associated with the Center for International Studies (CERI) of SciencesPo.