En tant que président du réseau EURODEFENSE pour 2022 Jean Fournet a été sollicité par le rédacteur en chef pour écrire l’éditorial de la première Newsletter de l’année, publiée fin février, au moment où démarrait l’incompréhensible invasion de l’Ukraine.
Nous en donnons ici lecture dans sa version originale pour porter témoignage à nos amis Ukrainiens des sentiments d’amitié et de soutien de tous les membres de l’association.
Dark days for Ukraine! Dark days for Europe!
On Tuesday February 22 morning as I was writing the first lines of this editorial, Russian president Vladimir Putin had ordered troops into two rebel-held regions in eastern Ukraine, after recognizing them as independent states. Though they were deemed to be “peacekeeping” forces in the breakaway regions, many in the world viewed that as a nonsense and a mere pretext for further moves that could explode into armed clashes and send shockwaves through the global economy.
On Thursday February 24 morning President Putin ordered his troops to advance into Ukraine under the pretext of a ”special military operation” to carry out what he calls the “demilitarization and denazification“ of the country. Indeed an aggression, an attempt to rewrite History, a sheer invasion of a sovereign and independent country, which calls into question the fundamental principles of international law, and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a State. As the EU said, “bringing war back to Europe” he is tearing down the existing “Europe’s security architecture” that has been prevailing for decades; this triggered an EU statement in the evening and a vow to inflict by the means of sanctions ”maximum impact on the Russian economy and political elite”. But it’s also a “threat to Euro-Atlantic security” as stated by NATO, whose members agreed in the evening to bolster their forces and deploy “additional defensive land and air forces to the eastern part of the Alliance, as well as additional maritime assets”.
This Friday morning February 25, as I have to put a final point to this editorial, everything is still moving fast, and I fear not for the best. Irony of History, these attacks of troops in Ukraine take place after the Olympic Winter Games, just as they took place in 2008 in Georgia at the beginning of the Olympic Summer Games, and in both cases during the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union! So, should we say: “More of the same”? No! but, “The times they are a changin’” ,and “Fast and furious”!
In April 2021, after being elected at the helm of EuroDéfense-France, I wrote a letter to the presidents, vice-presidents and secretary generals of our different chapters to express the views that “We are at the verge of a new era of deep threats looming in a dark and stormy geopolitical sky…; some are new, some are resurrected specters. In Europe, more than ever, we’ll have to marshal our energies, efforts and capabilities to address these security issues”. I also highlighted “challenges of the modern society (climate change, environment, energy, cyber, pandemics, etc.) which have an impact on our working ways and means, raise new economical shake-up, reveal weaknesses of our technological and industrial bases, and confront the military to new paradigms”.
Then I couldn’t foresee the many challenging events of late 2021 and early 2022 with direct impact on our future in Europe: Afghanistan, AUKUS, assertive China, troubles in Sahel, potential disruption of maritime lines, and now the invasion of Ukraine. All are vivid proof that, as President Macron said: “moving from being a Europe of cooperation within our borders to a powerful Europe in the world, fully sovereign, free to make its choices and master of its own destiny” is an absolute must do.
As Europeans, let us reflect on the consequences of these ongoing events on our collective security framework, on the implementation of the upcoming EU Strategic Compass or NATO Strategic Concept, on the technological and industrial efforts to provide our military forces with the best equipment, and in fine how to instill more “Solidarity and Efficiency” in our joint endeavors.
In this context our associations, both individually and collaboratively, can play an active role. Thinking in the long run, building on the experiences and expertise of ancients, triggered by the aspirations of youngsters, and providing help – if they so wish – to those who are presently in command either at national or European levels, is one of the best added value we can have.
President of the EURODEFENSE network in 2022
Friday 25th February, noon.
 Theme we have selected for our presidency in 2022