Bertrand Badie: “Globalization leads to opportunist diplomatic games”

The new transnational threats force us to change our mode of action in a chaotic world where the same country can be at the same time a partner, a rival and an adversary. Professor emeritus at Sciences Po Paris, Bertrand Badie, who has just published Globalized Powers. Rethinking international security (Odile Jacob, 288 pages, 22.90 euros), analyzes these new strategic realities in the light of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan and the cancellation by Australia of the purchase of French submarines.

Is a system of alliance and collective security like NATO still viable with an America increasingly centered on its own interests?

It is the very idea of ​​alliance which is called into question in the new reality of the world, at least in its classic style, that of a lasting and structured coalition as it emerged from bipolar times. At that time, two blocs faced each other, without any link of interdependence and in a confrontation that was first and foremost potentially military. Everyone had an advantage in conceding many efforts and sacrifices to these unavoidable links.

The landscape today is quite different: globalization creates interdependencies, global issues, places economic relations at a high level of complexity. Conversely, it rekindles nationalism among those who fear no longer controlling this new global landscape. It therefore leads to more opportunistic diplomatic games, freed from the constraints of a heavy alliance. It encourages more fluid practices, to flatter national opinions, more than to obey a pre-built geopolitical order which is everywhere thwarted.

These changes are amply confirmed by the submarine affair, even if some are afraid to see it: we are experiencing the weakening of “campism”, that is to say of this strategic option which brings a state to think first and foremost as an element, or even the leader, of a camp organized in stable alliances.

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Revealing in this regard is the discreet change already made in this direction by non-Western diplomacy, that of Russia, China and other emerging countries. They evolved very quickly into what I would call “catch-all diplomacy”. The objective is no longer for them to form a structured alliance but to seek to conclude all the profitable economic agreements, on a piecemeal basis, with other countries. Thus, Russia, which establishes good relations with Israel or Saudi Arabia, traditional allies of Washington. Or China, which comes to an agreement with the Taliban in the economic or security fields.

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