A multipolar world: 1989 - 2011

De Baripedia

Based on a lesson by Ludovic Tournès[1][2][3]

The term "multipolar world" refers to an international system in which power is shared between several states or groups of states. It is an alternative to a unipolar world, where a single state (such as the United States after the Cold War) or a group of states (such as the West during the Cold War) holds the majority of global power. The transition from a unipolar to a multipolar world has created new power dynamics and tensions on the world stage. Emerging powers and power blocs have begun to claim greater influence in world affairs, often through economic and political channels.

The end of the Cold War was marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. These events put an end to almost half a century of global bipolarity, with the United States and the Soviet Union as the dominant superpowers. With the end of the Cold War, the United States became the world's only superpower, leading to a period of unipolar domination. This period of unipolar dominance was, however, short-lived. During the 1990s and 2000s, several other countries began to increase their influence on the world stage. China, in particular, experienced rapid economic growth that strengthened its power and influence. Similarly, the European Union has consolidated and expanded, becoming a major player in world affairs. Other countries, such as India and Brazil, have also begun to play a more important role.

The transition to a multipolar world has not been without its challenges. Many regional conflicts have broken out, often due to rivalries over power or resources. For example, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were partly the result of the struggle for control of oil and gas resources. Similarly, tensions between the United States and Russia have continued to manifest themselves, notably due to disagreements over issues such as NATO expansion and the Crimea question. The transition to a multipolar world remains an ongoing process, and the future of this new international system is uncertain. Tensions between the major powers, regional conflicts, and global challenges such as climate change and nuclear proliferation will continue to shape the global balance of power in the years to come.

The collapse of the Soviet bloc[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The collapse of the Soviet bloc was one of the most significant events of the late twentieth century. Not only did it put an end to almost 50 years of Cold War, but it also led to profound and often tumultuous changes in the countries of Eastern Europe and the rest of the world. Poland is often cited as the place where the first cracks in the Soviet bloc began to appear. The Solidarity movement, led by Lech Wałęsa, organised a series of strikes in 1980 to protest against working conditions and the Communist regime. These strikes led to negotiations with the government and the recognition of Solidarity as the first independent trade union in a communist country. In Hungary, the government began to liberalise its economy and introduce political reforms in the 1980s. In 1989, Hungary began to dismantle its border with Austria, opening a breach in the Iron Curtain separating East and West. Czechoslovakia experienced a peaceful 'Velvet Revolution' in 1989, when massive demonstrations led to the resignation of the Communist government. Romania was the only country to experience a violent revolution. In December 1989, demonstrations against Nicolae Ceaușescu's regime were violently repressed, but eventually led to Ceaușescu's arrest and execution. And finally, in November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. This symbolic event marked the end of the Cold War and paved the way for German reunification the following year. All these events marked the beginning of the transition of these countries to market economies and democratic political systems. However, this transition has not been easy and these countries continue to face challenges linked to their communist past.

Undeniably, the collapse of the Soviet bloc represents a historic turning point that has redefined the global balance of power. First and foremost was the rise of the United States as the world's only superpower. This new stature has given it a decisive influence on the international stage. Its dominance was particularly palpable during the 1990s, as witnessed by its military interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq. At the same time, Russia, once a global giant, has seen a marked decline in its international influence. The disintegration of the Soviet Union led to a drastic fall in its power, militarily, economically and politically. Many of the republics that had previously been part of the Soviet Union became independent. However, Russia, particularly under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, is working hard to regain its former influence. The collapse of the Soviet bloc has also given new impetus to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Several Eastern European countries, formerly under the Soviet shadow, joined NATO, consolidating the alliance's role in the European security landscape. The collapse of the Cold War also gave rise to significant changes in the global economy. The decline of communism encouraged the adoption of the market economy system in many countries, fuelling globalisation and economic interdependence. Despite the rise of the United States as the sole superpower, the collapse of the Soviet bloc opened the way for other nations to increase their influence. China, for example, took advantage of this opportunity to boost its economic growth and expand its role on the world stage.

The demise of the bipolar system has left a power vacuum in some parts of the world, giving rise to a series of conflicts and tensions. The former buffer states between East and West have had to find their own way, sometimes triggering internal conflicts or becoming points of friction between the new emerging powers. In some cases, the end of the Cold War opened the way for ethnic or political tensions that had previously been suppressed by the bipolar power structure. The conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s are a striking example, where ethnic tensions degenerated into large-scale violence after the fall of communism. In addition, in some regions such as the Middle East, the power vacuum has exacerbated regional rivalries and led to increased conflict and instability. In the absence of a clear balance of power, several countries have sought to extend their influence, often by military means. Overall, the transition to a multipolar world has brought new complexities and challenges in terms of international relations, as nations navigate this new power dynamic.

The Communist system at the end of its tether[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The rise of the Soviet Union[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Before the revolution of 1917, Russia, which was to become the heart of the Soviet Union, was widely perceived as a developing country, with an economy dominated by agriculture and an overall level of development significantly lower than that of Western European countries. In 1917, the Russian economy, which was on the verge of becoming the Soviet Union, lagged far behind its Western European counterparts. A large proportion of the population lived in rudimentary conditions, with a low standard of living, inadequate wages and low literacy rates. Moreover, Russia's economy was heavily dependent on agriculture, with little industrialisation and underdeveloped infrastructure.

The First World War put enormous pressure on this fragile economic balance, resulting in devastating economic and human losses that exacerbated the country's precarious state. The revolution of 1917, however, paved the way for radical change. The Bolshevik leaders who took power after the revolution initiated a bold programme of economic and industrial development. Despite very high human and social costs, including famine, political purges and general political repression, these policies led to rapid economic growth. In just a few decades, the Soviet Union was transformed from a largely agrarian economy into an industrial superpower with a massive military capability. Although the Soviet Union became a global superpower, it continued to experience considerable internal economic and social problems. Economic inefficiency, corruption, mismanagement and deprivation persisted throughout the Soviet Union's existence, contributing to its eventual collapse in 1991.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union pursued a major armaments policy to compete with the United States, which came at a significant economic cost. The Soviet government invested heavily in the military industry, using a large proportion of its resources to finance these efforts. This resulted in sacrifices for the Soviet population, including a lower standard of living and a slowdown in general economic development. Despite these challenges, it is important to note that the Soviet Union was not considered a Third World country when it became a superpower. After the Second World War, the Soviet Union emerged as one of the world's two superpowers, rivalling the United States. Although its economy was highly centralised, it was sufficiently developed to rival the United States in areas such as space research, military technology and industrial production. This rivalry and arms race came at a significant economic cost to the Soviet Union, contributing to internal economic problems and ultimately to the collapse of the Union in 1991.

The collapse of the Soviet Union[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Structural factors leading to collapse[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The collapse of the Soviet Union was the product of a number of interconnected factors that grew in magnitude over the decades.

Internal tensions were a key element in this process. Endemic corruption and economic inefficiency led to growing discontent among the Soviet population. The centralised, planned structure of the Soviet economy, while allowing initial progress in industrialisation and development, eventually stifled innovation and economic efficiency. Economic problems were exacerbated by the arms race with the United States, which drained much of the Soviet Union's resources. Political repression and a lack of civil liberties also fuelled internal resistance. The oppression of dissent and the lack of freedom of expression created a climate of fear and resentment. Events such as the Budapest Uprising in 1956, the Prague Spring in 1968 and the Solidarność movement in Poland in the 1980s clearly demonstrated a growing discontent among the citizens of the Soviet Union's satellite countries. In addition to these internal pressures, the Soviet Union was also subject to external pressures. Military, economic and ideological competition with the United States placed constant strain on the Soviet regime. Ultimately, these factors, combined with Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring), led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Soviet Union came under significant external pressure during the Cold War, particularly from the United States and its allies in Western Europe. This pressure played an important role in the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union. The confrontation strategy adopted by the United States and its allies included a number of approaches. The United States, for example, invested massively in its military arsenal, forcing the Soviet Union to do the same in order to maintain strategic parity. This put enormous economic pressure on the Soviet Union, which struggled to keep pace while trying to meet the economic and social needs of its population. In addition, the US and its allies actively supported dissident movements and human rights groups in Soviet bloc countries. They used a variety of methods, including broadcasting, financial support, and diplomacy, to encourage these movements. This put political pressure on the Soviet Union and helped to create internal discontent. The combined effect of these internal and external pressures eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, marking the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a new era in international relations.

Factors challenging the model[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The publication of "The Gulag Archipelago" by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in 1974 marked a significant turning point in the way the Soviet regime was perceived abroad. This detailed and personal account of the Soviet forced labour camp system brought to light the reality of political repression and human rights abuses under the Communist regime. The revelation of these atrocities helped to shake the image of Soviet communism and intensify criticism of the regime. The book was widely read and discussed in the West, contributing to a shift in public opinion and an awareness of the reality of life in the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, these revelations were not new to many Soviet citizens and dissidents. Many were already aware of the brutality of the regime and had experienced or witnessed the direct consequences of its repression. However, the impact of 'The Gulag Archipelago' was in the way it succeeded in bringing these realities to the attention of a wider international audience, thereby fuelling increased external pressure on the Soviet regime.

Dissidence movements in Eastern Bloc countries, notably the Solidarność movement in Poland, played a crucial role in challenging the Soviet regime. This independent trade union, led by Lech Walesa, succeeded in mobilising millions of Polish workers to protest against the Communist regime in Poland, marking a decisive turning point in the history of Eastern Europe. Alongside these internal protest movements, the revelation of atrocities committed by the Soviet regime helped to shake the "Soviet myth". The reality of human rights violations, political repression and the concentration camp system in the Soviet Union was gradually revealed to the world, undermining the legitimacy of and support for the Soviet regime. These combined factors - internal dissent, external pressure and awareness of the regime's abuses - led to a gradual weakening of the Soviet regime, which finally culminated in its collapse in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This marked the end of almost half a century of Soviet domination in Eastern Europe and paved the way for a period of major political, economic and social transformation in the region.

The arrival in power of Leonid Brezhnev in 1964 marked a hardening of the Soviet regime. Brezhnev imposed a more assertive foreign policy, seeking to broaden and strengthen Soviet influence on the international stage. This led to increased support for communist and national liberation movements around the world, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. At the same time, Brezhnev implemented a domestic policy of increased repression. It was under his reign that the "Brezhnev Doctrine" was formulated, which stipulated that the Soviet Union had the right to intervene in the internal affairs of any Communist country in order to protect the socialist system. This doctrine was used to justify the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, ending the period of liberalisation known as the Prague Spring. In addition, internal dissent was severely repressed under Brezhnev. Dissidents who criticised the regime or demanded greater political and civil liberties were monitored, harassed, arrested and often sent to prison or into exile. This policy of repression contributed to the isolation of the Soviet Union and fuelled resentment and opposition within the country. This period of "glaciation" lasted until the early 1980s, when the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev undertook a series of political and economic reforms known as "glasnost" (openness) and "perestroika" (restructuring), which eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the decade.

Rivalry between great powers intensifies and subsides[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The era of Leonid Brezhnev marked an escalation in competition between the Soviet Union and the United States, ushering in an era of high tension commonly referred to as the 'Cold War'. These two superpowers considerably increased their stockpiles of nuclear weapons and engaged in a global competition to extend their influence, supporting various political movements and becoming directly involved in several regional conflicts. This period was characterised by the arms race, indirect military interventions and the use of diplomacy and propaganda to win allies and influence the course of world events. The ideological rivalry between communism and capitalism was another key aspect of this period, with each side seeking to promote its own system as the model to follow.

However, this climate of intense confrontation and 'glaciation' did not persist indefinitely. Mikhail Gorbachev's arrival in power in 1985 ushered in an era of change and reform for the Soviet Union. With his policies of "glasnost" (openness) and "perestroika" (restructuring), Gorbachev sought to modernise the Soviet economy and relax the rigidity of the political system. Gorbachev also sought to calm East-West relations, encouraging détente with the United States and Western countries. These initiatives led to the end of the Cold War and played a key role in the events that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Thus, a period that began with intensifying confrontation between the superpowers culminated in a process of détente and transformation that redefined the global political landscape.

The influence of economic factors[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

As the 1980s progressed, the Soviet economic system gradually demonstrated its inability to meet the challenges of the times. Despite high ambitions for modernisation and industrialisation, the Soviet Union failed to catch up with the standard of living in Western countries. The Soviet economy was based on centralised planning, with absolute state control over production. The means of production were owned by the state, which meant that all enterprises were run by the state rather than by private owners. This arrangement led to heavy bureaucracy, inefficient allocation of resources and economic stagnation. The lack of competition and the absence of incentives to improve efficiency or innovate also played a part in the system's failure. The Soviet Union also experienced widespread corruption, exacerbated by a rationing system and a burgeoning black economy. In addition, the considerable efforts devoted to the arms race with the West drained a substantial part of the Soviet Union's resources, exacerbating the economic crisis. In the end, the Soviet economy failed to adapt and respond to the changing needs of its population, contributing to the instability that eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

During the 1970s and 1980s, a series of external factors exacerbated the Soviet Union's economic problems. Among these factors, the fall in oil prices had a particularly devastating impact. Oil was a major source of revenue for the Soviet Union and when prices fell, the Soviet economy suffered. At the same time, military spending soared as the Soviet Union engaged in an arms race with the United States. This exorbitant spending drained the country's financial resources, further reducing investment in other sectors of the economy and hampering economic growth. These external factors have added further pressure to an already strained economy. They exacerbated the structural weaknesses of the Soviet economic system, accelerating its decline and ultimately contributing to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The convergence of these negative economic factors created a major crisis for the Soviet Union. The country's debt rapidly accumulated, the cost of living rose due to rampant inflation, and shortages of basic consumer goods became commonplace. These problems undermined public confidence in the Soviet economic system. Faced with this increasingly difficult reality, many citizens began to doubt the Soviet government's ability to ensure their well-being. The widening gap between the promise of communism and the reality of everyday life fuelled growing political protest. Calls for economic reform grew, increasing pressure on the government to change its approach. This erosion of confidence and rise in dissatisfaction ultimately played a key role in the collapse of the Soviet Union. Not only did these developments weaken the legitimacy of the Soviet system, they also fuelled the movements of protest and dissent that precipitated the regime's downfall.

The economic crisis undoubtedly played a major role in the final collapse of the Soviet Union. It undermined the credibility of the regime, eroding the trust that citizens had in their government. The shortage of basic goods, the rising cost of living and the widespread inefficiency of the economy led to widespread discontent among the population, undermining the legitimacy of the government. This economic crisis, coupled with an increasingly tense political context, contributed significantly to the collapse of the Soviet regime.

The war in Afghanistan[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Map of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

The war in Afghanistan, launched in 1979, was a real burden on the Soviet economy and considerably shook the people's confidence in their government. The war, as costly in resources as in human lives, was increasingly unpopular. The Soviet leadership faced fierce criticism for its bellicose foreign policy and its military intervention in the internal affairs of other countries. These factors gradually fuelled a loss of confidence on the part of the population, giving rise to growing political opposition. These and other factors eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet regime.

The war in Afghanistan was one of the major triggers for the widespread political insurrection in the Soviet Union that eventually led to the fall of the regime. This conflict, fought on guerrilla terrain where Soviet forces were bogged down for years, was particularly costly in terms of human lives and material resources. It provoked widespread unpopularity among Soviet citizens, helping to fuel widespread discontent. The Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan was widely criticised, both inside and outside the country, as a form of imperialism or neo-colonialism. This perception contributed to the further isolation of the Soviet Union on the international stage and strengthened internal opposition. Inside the Soviet Union, the war contributed to growing disillusionment with the regime and its ideological rhetoric. The loss of life, the economic cost of the war and its growing unpopularity exacerbated existing discontent with government corruption, political repression and persistent economic problems. Outside the Soviet Union, the war was condemned by much of the international community. Not only did this isolate the Soviet Union, it also created an opportunity for the United States and its allies to actively support the Afghan Mujahedin, further increasing the pressure on the Soviet Union.

The fall of the Berlin Wall: Causes and consequences[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The fall of the Berlin Wall[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The fall of the Berlin Wall was the product of a complex combination of political, economic and social factors, both internal and external to the GDR and the Soviet Union.

Internally, the GDR faced a series of serious problems. The country's economy was in bad shape, with stagnant economic growth, high foreign debt and a lack of consumer goods. In addition, there was widespread dissatisfaction among the population with the authoritarian communist regime. GDR citizens were frustrated by the lack of freedom and political repression, as well as by economic inequality and lack of opportunity.

Externally, the Soviet Union underwent a series of major political changes under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev. His policy of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) led to a degree of political and economic liberalisation, not only in the Soviet Union but also in other Eastern Bloc countries. In addition, Gorbachev adopted a policy of non-intervention in the internal affairs of the Soviet Union's satellite countries, which allowed protest movements to develop in these countries without fear of Soviet military intervention.

All these factors contributed to creating an environment conducive to the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Popular pressure for change in the GDR, combined with political openness in the Soviet Union, led to a tipping point where the GDR government was no longer able to maintain control. On 9 November 1989, the GDR authorities announced that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin - leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The end of Communist domination in Europe[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The fall of the Berlin Wall also signalled the end of the ideological division of the world into East-West blocs that had prevailed for most of the twentieth century. It marked the beginning of a new era in international relations, characterised by the hegemony of the United States and the apparent triumph of democratic and capitalist ideals. That said, the road to democracy and capitalism was not an easy one for all the countries that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet bloc. The economic transition has been particularly difficult, with a significant rise in unemployment, inflation and poverty in many countries. In addition, political reform has often been undermined by corruption, poor governance and authoritarianism. The break-up of the Soviet Union and the end of Communist domination in Eastern Europe also had major geopolitical consequences. They led to the emergence of new independent countries, each with its own political and economic challenges. They also fuelled regional conflicts and ethnic tensions, as we saw in the Balkans in the 1990s.

The opening of the border between Hungary and Austria in 1989 was a landmark event in the history of the fall of the Eastern bloc and the Iron Curtain. Not only did it provide an escape route for East Germans seeking to leave the Communist bloc, it also highlighted the erosion of the Communist regime's authority and control in Eastern Europe. Hungary's decision to dismantle its border fences was one of many signs that the power of Communist regimes in the region was crumbling. It also showed that the policies of glasnost (transparency) and perestroika (restructuring) introduced by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had repercussions far beyond the borders of the Soviet Union. What's more, this event also demonstrated the important role that individual countries like Hungary played in the fall of the Eastern bloc. Although the end of the Cold War is often associated with larger players and events, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Hungary's decision to open its borders was a crucial step that paved the way for these historic events.

In Poland, the "round table" agreement between the Communist government and the independent trade union Solidarność led to semi-free elections on 4 June 1989. In these elections, Solidarność won a landslide victory. Although the Communist Party reserved a number of seats in parliament for itself, the scale of Solidarność's victory made it clear that the Communist regime no longer had the support of the Polish people. This event marked the beginning of the end of communism in Poland. Similarly, in Hungary, the victory of the Hungarian Democratic Forum in the 1990 parliamentary elections marked the end of communist rule in the country. This victory was preceded by a process of liberalisation and reform that had begun in the 1980s. Overall, these elections were clear signs of the end of communist hegemony in Eastern Europe and the emergence of new democracies in the region.

The fall of Nicolae Ceaușescu's regime in Romania was one of the most dramatic moments in the end of communism in Eastern Europe. While most other communist regimes in the region were toppled by relatively peaceful protest movements or negotiated political transitions, in Romania the end of communism was marked by significant violence. Protests began in Timișoara in December 1989 in response to the government's attempt to deport a Hungarian-born Protestant pastor, László Tőkés, who had criticised the regime's policies. Protests quickly spread across the country, despite violent repression by the security forces. Eventually, the army turned against Ceaușescu, who was captured as he tried to flee Bucharest by helicopter. After a summary trial, Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena were executed on Christmas Day 1989. The end of the Ceaușescu dictatorship marked the beginning of a difficult period of transition in Romania, which faced many challenges, including establishing democratic institutions, reforming the economy and dealing with the consequences of the repression and widespread corruption of the Ceaușescu regime.

German reunification[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 was one of the most symbolic moments in the history of the 20th century. Not only did it mark the end of the division of Germany, it also symbolised the end of the Cold War and the division of Europe into East and West blocs. The fall of the Berlin Wall was preceded by growing protests and pressure for reform in East Germany (GDR). In response to this pressure, the GDR government announced a liberalisation of foreign travel restrictions for East German citizens. However, due to confusion in the communication of this policy, citizens believed that the borders were completely open and rushed towards the wall, eventually forcing the guards to open the checkpoints. The fall of the Berlin Wall had far-reaching repercussions, paving the way for German reunification less than a year later, in October 1990, and accelerating political change in other Eastern European countries. It is an event that continues to be celebrated as a symbol of freedom and unification.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, pressure for the reunification of East and West Germany increased significantly. In early 1990, free elections were held in East Germany for the first time in decades, and the pro-reunification parties won a landslide victory. During the summer and autumn of 1990, the two Germanies negotiated a reunification treaty, and the way was paved for East Germany to join the Federal Republic of Germany. On 3 October 1990, reunification was officially proclaimed, and East Germany ceased to exist. German reunification was a major event in post-Second World War history, marking the end of almost half a century of division in Germany and symbolising the end of the Cold War. It also posed many challenges, as the unified Germany had to integrate two very different economic and social systems.

The end of the Warsaw Pact[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The Warsaw Pact, officially known as the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, was a collective defence organisation of the communist countries of Eastern Europe during the Cold War, under the leadership of the Soviet Union. It was created in 1955 in response to the accession of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) to NATO. The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 came after several years of political and social change in the countries of Eastern Europe, including the collapse of the communist regimes in these countries and the end of the Cold War. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union later that year, the Warsaw Pact lost its raison d'être and was officially dissolved. The end of the Warsaw Pact marked the end of the military division of Europe that had existed during the Cold War, and paved the way for NATO's expansion into Eastern Europe in the following years.

Following the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991, many of its former members began to turn towards the West. During the 1990s and 2000s, several former members of the Warsaw Pact joined NATO and the European Union, marking a significant transition towards democratic systems and market economies. These transitions were not without difficulties. Challenges included transforming planned economies into market economies, reforming political systems to become pluralist democracies, and managing ethnic and nationalist tensions that had been suppressed during the communist period. Nevertheless, the end of the Warsaw Pact and the westward movement of its former members were key elements in the geopolitical reorganisation of Europe after the end of the Cold War.

Creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991 marked the end of the Cold War and profoundly transformed world geopolitics. The Soviet Union was replaced by 15 independent states, of which Russia is the largest and most influential.

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was created to facilitate cooperation between these newly independent states and to manage some of the problems inherited from the Soviet Union, such as economic coordination and nuclear weapons management. However, the CIS never managed to exercise any significant authority and its relevance diminished over time as many of its members turned their attention to Europe and the West.

Member states retained their sovereignty and pursued independent foreign policies. Several of them, particularly the Baltic States and those of Eastern Europe, sought to move closer to the West and to integrate into European and Atlantic structures such as the European Union and NATO.

The emergence of a new world order[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union have radically transformed the global geopolitical chessboard. The bipolar pattern of the Cold War, marked by intense opposition between two predominant superpowers, has metamorphosed into a multipolar world, characterised by increased complexity.

In this new post-Cold War world order, although the United States has retained its status as a military and economic superpower, its hegemony is no longer as unchallenged as it once was. Other nations, such as China, India and the European Union, have emerged as major forces on the international stage. At the same time, globalisation has enabled a host of other countries and regions to increase their influence and importance. Multilateral bodies, notably the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation, have taken on a more prominent role in regulating global affairs. In addition, transnational issues such as climate change, international terrorism, pandemics and cyberspace have become increasingly relevant, destabilising the traditional nation-state structure of world order.

The break-up of the Soviet Union and the Communist bloc led to a complete overhaul of the global geopolitical order established at the end of the Second World War. The bipolar division of the world between the United States and the Soviet Union gave way to multipolarity, with new players taking their place on the international stage. The end of the Cold War also brought major upheavals in international relations, notably the reunification of Germany, the end of the arms race, the demilitarisation of Eastern Europe, and the transition to democracy in many Central and Eastern European countries. These events had a significant impact on politics and international relations in the decades that followed.

Russia's transition: Decline and Renaissance[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The collapse of the USSR plunged Russia into a period of intense economic and political crisis. The country went through a period of turmoil, punctuated by demanding economic reforms, unbridled inflation and a decline in living standards. In addition, the transition from communist to democratic rule was fraught with difficulties, internal conflicts and struggles between different political groups. Russia has also faced major geopolitical challenges, with the loss of its former socialist republics, the questioning of its superpower status and the rise of new regional players.

Faced with this situation, Russia adopted a policy of refocusing, illustrated by its intervention in Chechnya in 1994, which triggered a long sequence of war and tension in the region. Despite the hardships it faced, Russia managed to stabilise its economy and strengthen its political system throughout the 2000s, notably under the presidency of Vladimir Putin. Today, the country is seen as a rising force on the international stage, with a booming economy and growing diplomatic influence.

The economic transition and its social consequences[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The collapse of the Soviet Union plunged Russia into a phase of tumultuous economic transition, as it attempted to move from a planned economy to a market economy. This period was marked by a drastic contraction in industrial production, a direct consequence of liberalisation and radical structural reforms. Many industries, which had relied heavily on state subsidies under the Soviet regime, were unable to adapt to the new market realities and were forced to close down. This led to a significant rise in the unemployment rate, plunging many families into precariousness.

During the 1990s, Russia went through a period of difficult economic change, underpinned by economic and structural reforms designed to move the country from a planned economy to a market economy. International players such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank played a major role in this transition, exerting substantial pressure to implement these changes. These economic reforms led to the liberalisation of prices and trade, the mass privatisation of state-owned enterprises, the reduction of subsidies and the adoption of a more rigid monetary policy to combat inflation. These radical changes, although necessary for the country's economic development, have often been difficult for large sections of the Russian population.

These reforms have had serious socio-economic consequences, notably a rise in poverty, an increase in the unemployment rate and a deterioration in living conditions for a large part of the Russian population. What's more, this economic transformation has been marred by corruption and the questionable privatisation of many state-owned companies. These practices have benefited a small economic and political elite, but have left a large part of the Russian population destitute and unemployed. Economic change has led to a drastic fall in industrial production and an alarming rise in unemployment, inflation and poverty. The cost of basic necessities soared, while wages stagnated, leading to a deterioration in household purchasing power.

This period was marked by great political and social instability, with demonstrations, strikes and violence, as well as an increase in crime and corruption. At the same time, the government had to contend with galloping inflation. Price liberalisation, implemented as part of economic reforms, has led to a dramatic rise in the cost of basic necessities. The contrast with the Soviet period, when prices were controlled and subsidised by the state, was striking. This had a direct and painful impact on the purchasing power of households, many of whom saw their standard of living deteriorate dramatically. Poverty increased alarmingly during this period. As the country struggled to adapt to its new economic model, many Russians were left behind, unable to meet the rising cost of living or find employment in a rapidly changing economy. Inequalities widened, with the economic and political elite benefiting from the privatisation of the economy, while the majority of the population saw their living conditions plummet.

The transition to a market economy has made Russia more exposed to global economic fluctuations and crises. Prior to this transition, under the Soviet regime, the Russian economy was largely isolated from the global economy, which partly protected it from external economic crises. However, with Russia's gradual integration into the global economy, this protection has disappeared. The Asian financial crisis of 1997 was one of the first major tests of the resilience of the post-Soviet Russian economy. The economic shock in Asia quickly affected Russia, mainly because of the fall in the price of raw materials, which made up a large proportion of Russian exports. This crisis exacerbated existing economic problems in Russia, leading to a financial crisis in 1998 which saw the rouble depreciate massively and the Russian government declare a moratorium on public debt. The global financial crisis of 2008 also had a significant impact on the Russian economy. The fall in commodity prices, particularly oil, led to a severe economic contraction. In addition, Russia's integration into the global financial system meant that the credit crisis that hit Western economies also affected Russia, with a drop in foreign investment and capital flight. These crises have revealed the vulnerability of the Russian economy to external shocks and underlined the need for the country to diversify its economy, which remains heavily dependent on exports of raw materials, particularly oil and gas.

The war in Chechnya[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The war in Chechnya has been one of the greatest security challenges facing post-Soviet Russia. The conflict began in 1994 when Chechnya, an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus, declared independence from Russia. In response, the Russian government launched a military intervention to re-establish its authority.

The First Chechen War, which lasted from 1994 to 1996, was a major military and political test for post-Soviet Russia. Despite the Russian forces' huge advantage in terms of numbers and technology, the Chechen resistance proved extremely tenacious and capable of waging an effective guerrilla war against the Russian troops. There are several reasons for this resistance. Firstly, Chechnya's mountainous terrain has provided Chechen forces with natural protection and plenty of places to hide and launch attacks. Secondly, many Chechens were deeply committed to the cause of independence and were prepared to fight to the death to defend their homeland. Finally, the Chechen forces were led by experienced warlords who were well versed in guerrilla tactics. The inability of Russian forces to take rapid control of Chechnya was also exacerbated by structural and organisational problems within the Russian army. Many Russian soldiers were poorly trained, ill-equipped and ill-prepared for combat conditions in Chechnya. In addition, coordination between the different branches of the Russian security forces was often poor, making the conduct of military operations even more difficult. The first Chechen war had an enormous human cost, with thousands of dead and wounded on both sides, and led to major population displacements. It was also marked by serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearances.

The second Chechen war, which began in 1999 and officially ended in 2009, was a period of intense conflict and widespread violence. It began following terrorist attacks in Russia and the invasion of Dagestan by Chechen militants. This war was characterised by an increased use of force by the Russian government and an intensification of violence. This second war was even more devastating than the first, causing the deaths of thousands of people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands more. Chechnya's towns and villages have been badly damaged and the region's infrastructure has been largely destroyed. Massive human rights violations have been committed by all parties to the conflict, including extrajudicial executions, torture, abductions and attacks on civilians. These abuses have been widely documented by human rights organisations, but few have been seriously investigated or prosecuted. The Russian military intervention in Chechnya has also had significant political repercussions. It contributed to the election of Vladimir Putin as President of Russia in 2000, and marked the beginning of a period of authoritarian rule and state-building in Russia.

The war in Chechnya played a significant role in Vladimir Putin's political rise. When Putin was appointed Prime Minister by President Boris Yeltsin in 1999, Russia was facing a series of internal and external challenges. Among these, the situation in Chechnya was one of the most pressing. Putin made resolving the Chechen conflict a priority, promising to restore order and authority to the Russian state. When terrorist attacks hit several Russian cities in 1999, Putin was quick to blame Chechen separatists, and launched a second war against Chechnya. This decision was widely supported by the Russian public, and reinforced Putin's image as a strong and resolute leader. Putin used the war in Chechnya to consolidate his power, promote nationalism and demonstrate his willingness to use force to preserve Russia's territorial integrity. Putin's handling of the war in Chechnya has also had an impact on Russia's relations with the rest of the world. Although the conduct of the war has been criticised for its human rights abuses, the international community has largely accepted Putin's position that the war in Chechnya was a necessary part of the global fight against terrorism. This has allowed Putin to consolidate his control over Chechnya and strengthen his power in Russia, while resisting international pressure for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

The consequences of the loss of international influence[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a deep economic crisis in Russia and considerable political instability. These internal challenges limited Russia's ability to exert significant influence on the international stage.

During the Gulf War in 1990-1991, Russia (then still the Soviet Union until December 1991) was going through a period of economic crisis and major internal political change. The imminent collapse of the Soviet Union left the country in a situation of great instability, both internally and on the international stage. As a result, Russia was not in a position to effectively oppose the US-led intervention to liberate Kuwait, which had been invaded by Iraq in August 1990. In fact, the Soviet Union, under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev, ended up supporting the United Nations Security Council resolution authorising the use of force to expel Iraq from Kuwait. This was in contrast to the Cold War period, when the Soviet Union and the United States frequently found themselves in direct opposition on international policy issues. The Gulf War was a striking example of Russia's diminishing global influence during this period of transition.

The fragmentation of Yugoslavia in the 1990s saw Russia play a less influential role than it would have liked, despite deep historical and cultural links with the region, particularly with Serbia. Russia's internal political and economic instability limited its ability to project its influence on the international stage. During the Yugoslav wars, Russia mainly adopted a position of support for Serbia. However, its opposition to NATO's intervention in the Kosovo conflict in 1999 failed to prevent military action. This was a telling example of Russia's diminishing influence on the world stage at the time. In addition, Russia was criticised for its use of the veto as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, particularly when it blocked several resolutions concerning the situation in Bosnia and Kosovo. These actions caused controversy and led to tensions with other members of the Security Council, notably the United States and European countries. However, since the early 2000s, Russia has sought to re-establish its influence on the world stage, thanks in part to a more stable economy and a more assertive foreign strategy under the leadership of Vladimir Putin. This renaissance has been particularly visible in the former Soviet republics, but also on the world stage, where Russia has shown a willingness to defend its interests and challenge the Western-dominated international order.

Although Russia inherited the Soviet Union's seat on the Security Council after the collapse of the USSR, its influence within this body was weakened by its internal economic and political difficulties.

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Despite the profound economic and political difficulties it experienced during the post-Soviet transition, Russia has managed to maintain a dominant influence in its region. Its legacy as the former dominant power of the Soviet Union, combined with its substantial military potential, including its nuclear arsenal, has helped to preserve its status as a major regional power. Russia's influence over the member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), an organisation comprising several former Soviet republics, is another facet of its regional power. Russia has often used the CIS as an instrument to maintain its influence in the post-Soviet region, through a combination of economic, political and sometimes military levers.

Under the presidency of Vladimir Putin in the early 2000s, Russia embarked on a deliberate campaign to strengthen its presence on the international stage. It worked to rebuild its influence and authority, which had been seriously eroded over the previous decade. Putin adopted a foreign policy aimed at challenging the unipolar world order dominated by the United States after the Cold War. Instead, he championed the idea of a multipolar world order in which several major powers, including Russia, would wield significant influence. This policy has resulted in Russia playing a more active role in world affairs, notably through its status as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, its role in regional organisations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and its relations with other emerging countries such as China and India. Russia has also used its abundance of energy resources, particularly oil and gas, as a tool of global power and influence.

In the 2000s and 2010s, Russia took an active part in a number of international conflicts and diplomatic processes. Its intervention in Syria in 2015, for example, changed the course of the civil war in favour of Bashar al-Assad's regime, making Russia a key player in the Syrian conflict. Similarly, Russia played a crucial role in the negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme, which led to the 2015 agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Russia was one of six countries to negotiate this agreement with Iran, alongside the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and China. However, Russia's diplomatic activism has also given rise to controversy. Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, for example, was widely condemned by the international community and led to a series of economic sanctions against Russia by the US and EU. In addition, allegations of Russian interference in elections in other countries, notably the United States in 2016, have also raised tensions with Western countries. These actions have contributed to a deterioration in relations between Russia and the West, marking a new phase of confrontation in international relations. However, they have also strengthened Russia's position as a key global player, capable of significantly influencing world events.

The Russian-Georgian war[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Carte ossetie du sud432.gif

In April 1991, Georgia declared its independence. In response, Russia sought to maintain its hold on the country by supporting separatist movements in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These two regions, supported by Russia, are demanding independence from Georgia. Russia saw these conflicts as an opportunity to strengthen its regional influence and curb Georgia's attempts to emancipate itself from its former Soviet overlord. In 1992, in a bid to reassert its authority over these territories, Georgia launched an attempt to regain control of these regions. This triggered violent clashes involving both the separatists and the Russian forces stationed in the region. Although a ceasefire agreement was signed in 1993, tensions remained and efforts to find a lasting political solution were still underway.

The Russo-Georgian war of 2008 was a crucial event in the post-Soviet history of the Caucasus region. It followed years of growing tensions between Russia, Georgia and the Russian-backed breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In August 2008, intense fighting broke out in South Ossetia after the Georgian government launched a military operation to regain control of the region. Russia quickly responded with a major military offensive against Georgia. In five days, Russian forces occupied several Georgian towns and bombed military and civilian infrastructure across the country. The Russian intervention provoked international condemnation and marked a major escalation in relations between Russia and the West. The war ended on 12 August 2008, with a ceasefire agreement brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who held the presidency of the European Union at the time.

After the war, Russia officially recognised Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, a decision that was widely condemned by the international community and recognised by only a small number of countries. Since then, Russia has maintained a significant military presence in these regions, and the situation remains tense. The war also had a lasting impact on relations between Russia and the West, and was one of the key factors leading to a new era of confrontation between Russia and NATO.

Rising commodity prices[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The boom in commodity prices, particularly oil and gas, has presented Russia with a major economic opportunity. These resources, which make up a considerable proportion of its economy, have propelled significant economic growth. By capitalising on this windfall, Russia has not only been able to strengthen its presence on the international stage, but also to consolidate its position in world affairs. The influx of hydrocarbon revenues has enabled Russia to invest substantially in its military, leading to a remarkable modernisation of its armed forces. This military renovation has strengthened Russia's strategic position on the international stage and enhanced its ability to defend its national interests.

In addition, Russia's economic growth has enabled it to strengthen its relations with rapidly developing emerging nations, particularly China. By positioning itself as an alternative to American domination of the international system, Russia has succeeded in establishing new alliances and increasing its influence in today's multipolar world. This strategy has enabled Russia to rebalance the forces at play and contribute to the construction of a more diversified international dynamic.

The Syrian crisis[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The Syrian crisis represented a crucial stage in Russia's assertion on the international stage. By repeatedly vetoing UN Security Council resolutions aimed at imposing sanctions on Bashar al-Assad's regime, Russia has clearly demonstrated its determination to preserve its interests in Syria, while challenging Western postures. By supplying arms to the Syrian regime and coordinating air strikes with the Syrian army against rebel forces, Russia has not only actively supported Assad, but has also strengthened its influence in the region. This support, far from going unnoticed, has enhanced Russia's image as an influential international power, capable of intervening strategically in complex situations.

Syria is of great strategic importance to Russia. The alliance between Russia and Syria, which dates back to the Soviet era, has persisted over the decades, making Syria Russia's last real ally in the Middle East. As well as strengthening Russia's influence in this geopolitically critical region, this alliance also guarantees Russia's access to the Tartous naval base, which is Russia's only anchorage in the Mediterranean and a key component of its regional force projection. Syria is also a major customer for Russia's military industry. The two countries have signed arms contracts worth billions of dollars, and the Syrian army mainly uses Russian military equipment. Consequently, a change of regime in Syria could seriously threaten Russia's strategic and economic interests. This is why Russia has taken decisive steps to support the Assad regime throughout the Syrian crisis, including providing direct military assistance and using its veto in the UN Security Council to block actions that could harm the regime.

The invasion of Crimea and the war in Ukraine[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea, a peninsula belonging de jure to Ukraine, triggering a major crisis between Russia and the West. This act was widely condemned by the international community, including the United States and the European Union, both of which imposed economic sanctions on Russia in response.

Russia's annexation of Crimea followed a political crisis in Ukraine where Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was deposed following popular protests, widely known as the Euromaidan. Russia viewed the overthrow of Yanukovych, who was widely regarded as pro-Russian, as a Western-backed coup. Shortly after the annexation of Crimea, armed conflict broke out in eastern Ukraine, particularly in the Donbass and Luhansk regions, where Russian-backed separatists declared independence from Ukraine.

The reign of the American Hyperpower: 1991-2001[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The American hyperpower[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 marked the end of the Cold War and left the United States as the world's sole superpower, a period often described as unipolar. This position has given the United States unprecedented influence in the world. In the field of international security, the United States has played a central role in many conflicts and security issues around the world. It has led military interventions, such as the Gulf War in 1991 and the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, and has been a key player in the Middle East peace process. Economically, the US dollar has continued to be the world's reserve currency, and the US has been a major player in international economic institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. It has also played a leading role in promoting free trade and economic globalisation. In the field of technology, the United States has been at the forefront of many innovations, particularly in the fields of computing, the internet and biotechnology. American companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft have become global giants. Culturally, the US has had a major influence through the spread of its popular culture, including film, music and television, as well as the English language.

The global hegemony of the United States is the result of a series of factors that have given the nation considerable influence on a planetary scale. First and foremost, the United States' privileged geographical position has played a pivotal role. Nestled between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, it has direct access to the continents of Europe and Asia. What's more, its proximity to Latin America gives it considerable influence in the region. Secondly, the military power of the United States is unrivalled. Its army, the strongest in the world, is equipped with military bases spread across the globe, and has the capacity to project its power on the international stage. Complemented by a substantial nuclear arsenal, the United States' military power is a formidable factor in its dominance. The political and economic system of the United States has also been a crucial vector of its supremacy. The American model, combining democracy and capitalism, was massively adopted worldwide following the end of the Cold War. Furthermore, as the world's largest economy, the United States exerts a major economic influence. Finally, the presence of the United States in international organisations is a further pillar of its dominance. Its key role in establishing post-Second World War global institutions such as the UN, the IMF and the World Bank has endured, and it continues to wield great influence within these organisations.

This period of American hegemony has often been referred to as the 'hyperpower' to emphasise the absolute superiority of the United States in world affairs.[4]

With the end of the Cold War, the landscape of American foreign policy underwent a profound transformation. The United States turned to a strategy more focused on advancing democracy and human rights worldwide, and protecting American economic interests internationally. Successive US leaders have embraced this policy regardless of their political affiliation. It has also been an era of intense debate about the appropriate application of American power on the world stage. Some advocates of a multilateral approach have advocated greater collaboration with other countries and international organisations. On the other hand, those who advocated a unilateral approach supported the idea that the United States should act according to its own interests, regardless of the opinion or intervention of other nations.

The rise of the neoconservative movement[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The rise of the neo-conservative movement in the United States during the 1990s played a pivotal role in redefining American foreign policy. The neoconservatives advocated the use of US military and economic strength to spread democracy and Western values across the globe, while combating authoritarian regimes and terrorist groups. This orientation became particularly evident following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, which triggered the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The neoconservatives saw these conflicts as opportunities to establish democracy in these countries and overthrow authoritarian regimes that posed a threat to US security.

However, neoconservative policy has been criticised both at home and abroad. Many have criticised the neoconservatives for failing to take account of the complexity of regional conflicts, favouring military action over diplomacy and negotiation. Others argued that the effectiveness of democracy promotion depended on a more nuanced approach, involving deeper engagement with the societies concerned, rather than primarily the use of military force. Beyond these concerns, there were also worries about the impact of such interventions on regional stability and human rights, as well as questions about the legitimacy of the unilateral use of force by the United States without broad international support and explicit authorisation from the United Nations. These criticisms underlined the limits of American power and the need for the US to work closely with other countries and international organisations to resolve global conflicts.

The fight against terrorism[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Since the early 2000s, the United States has redefined its foreign policy, placing the fight against Islamist terrorism at the heart of its concerns. This new orientation is mainly due to the attacks of 11 September 2001, which caused the death of almost 3,000 people on American soil. These attacks, carried out by the terrorist group Al-Qaeda under the leadership of Osama bin Laden, had a profound effect on America and the world. In response to this unprecedented attack, the United States launched the "war on terror". This global military campaign was directed not only against Al Qaeda, but also against other Islamist terrorist groups. It led to the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003.

The "war on terror" has served as a justification for US intervention in several military conflicts, notably in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, this policy has been the subject of much criticism, both nationally and internationally. One of the most serious criticisms has been that this war has led to serious human rights violations. Among the most notable incidents were the abuses and torture committed in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq by US military personnel. These actions have not only been condemned for their cruelty, but have also tarnished the reputation of the United States as a defender of human rights. The cost of the "war on terror" has also been a cause for concern. In financial terms, these conflicts have cost US taxpayers trillions of dollars. In human terms, the losses have been just as tragic, with thousands of American soldiers and even more Afghan and Iraqi civilians killed. These criticisms led to calls for an overhaul of US foreign policy, with a demand for greater accountability, transparency and respect for international law in the conduct of military operations.

The 1990s saw a number of US military interventions on a global scale, notably in Iraq and the Balkans. Although presented as efforts to establish peace and democracy, these interventions were widely criticised for their unilateral nature and their often devastating impact on civilian populations. This period was also marked by a series of terrorist attacks, including the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 and those on the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. These acts of terrorism played a major role in shaping US counter-terrorism policy. In response to these events, the FBI created a dedicated counter-terrorism division and the United States stepped up security measures in its embassies around the world. These actions demonstrate the evolution of the US national security strategy, which has begun to take the threat of international terrorism seriously, and to devote significant political and security resources to it.

The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 marked a decisive turning point in US foreign policy, catalysing an increased focus on the fight against terrorism. These tragic attacks motivated the United States to redouble its efforts to combat international terrorist organisations. In response to the attacks, orchestrated by the terrorist group Al-Qaeda, the United States launched military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. These operations were aimed not only at dismantling Al Qaeda, but also at eliminating other perceived terrorist threats. These military campaigns marked the beginning of the "war on terror", a strategy that has profoundly influenced US foreign policy in the early 21st century.

The doctrine of preventive war[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

American unilateralism is particularly striking in the doctrine of pre-emptive war, promoted by the Bush administration in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks. This controversial doctrine advocates the use of pre-emptive military force against nations or groups identified as threats to US national security, without waiting for direct aggression.

The central objective of this strategy was to neutralise potential threats before they materialised into actual attacks on the United States or its allies. This marked a major departure from the policy of deterrence that had prevailed during the Cold War, when force was only used in response to proven aggression.

This doctrine of pre-emptive war was the basis for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Bush administration justified the intervention on the basis of the subsequently discredited belief that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent threat to the security of the United States. This doctrine and its application have come in for considerable criticism, both nationally and internationally, for destabilising the international balance and violating the principles of international law.

Intervention in Somalia[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The US intervention in Somalia began at the end of 1992, when President George H. W. Bush ordered the dispatch of troops to help end the famine caused by the ongoing civil war in the country. The operation, called "Restore Hope", was primarily humanitarian, aimed at securing the environment so that food aid could reach those most in need. However, the situation quickly became more complicated, violent and chaotic. The Battle of Mogadishu in 1993, also known as "Black Hawk Down" because of the Hollywood film that later dramatised the event, is a poignant example of the evolution of American involvement in Somalia. The battle resulted in the deaths of 18 American soldiers and marked a turning point in American intervention. Under pressure from public opinion, the United States began to withdraw its troops from Somalia and did so completely in March 1994.

Since then, the United States has maintained a more discreet presence in Africa, although it has participated in a number of military and humanitarian operations. For example, the US has played an active role in the fight against the Al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia and has provided humanitarian aid in response to various crises, such as the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. The failure of the intervention in Somalia has had a profound effect on American foreign policy. It demonstrated the limits and challenges of using military force to resolve humanitarian crises and contributed to a certain reluctance to become militarily involved in foreign conflicts in the future.

The Yugoslav conflict[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Even after the end of the Cold War, US policy continued to play a crucial role in Europe, particularly during the Yugoslav conflict that erupted in the 1990s. The collapse of Yugoslavia into several states gave rise to a series of violent conflicts, characterised by ethnic cleansing and war crimes.

The United States, in collaboration with its NATO allies, played an active role in efforts to bring these conflicts to an end. It has taken part in peace negotiations and supported NATO military interventions. One of the most notable interventions was Operation Deliberate Force in 1995, a series of air strikes against Serb forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina in response to the attack on Srebrenica and the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims. Later, in 1999, in response to the Serbian government's brutal repression of the Kosovo Albanians, NATO, with significant support from the United States, launched another series of air strikes. Known as Operation Allied Force, its aim was to put an end to the violence and establish a secure environment for all the inhabitants of Kosovo, regardless of their ethnic origin.

US involvement in the peace negotiations was a key element in ending the conflicts in the Balkans, and Richard Holbrooke played a particularly important role in this. Richard Holbrooke, a seasoned American diplomat, was appointed Special Envoy for the Balkans by President Bill Clinton. His work was crucial in the negotiations that led to the Dayton Accords in 1995, which put an end to the war in Bosnia. Holbrooke and his team succeeded in bringing together the leaders of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio for peace talks. Holbrooke is widely credited with the Dayton Accords, which established a multi-ethnic Bosnia-Herzegovina divided into two entities - the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (with a Bosnian-Croat majority) and the Republika Srpska (with a Serb majority). These agreements put an end to three and a half years of war, which left around 100,000 people dead and millions displaced. Richard Holbrooke is often cited as an example of an effective diplomat who used both pressure and negotiation to reach a peace agreement. However, the complex structure of post-Dayton Bosnia-Herzegovina has also been criticised for institutionalising ethnic divisions and creating an inefficient and corrupt political system.

The First Gulf War[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Iraq's invasion of Kuwait under the command of Saddam Hussein in August 1990 created a major international crisis. The UN immediately condemned the invasion and imposed a complete trade embargo against Iraq. However, faced with Saddam Hussein's determination to retain control of Kuwait, the UN authorised the use of force to liberate Kuwait in November of the same year.

The United States, under President George H. W. Bush, then organised an international coalition of 34 countries, including many members of NATO and the Arab League. The mission, known as Operation Desert Storm, began with an aerial bombing campaign in January 1991, followed by a ground offensive in February.

The first Gulf War was a rapid military success for the coalition. Iraqi forces were driven out of Kuwait and the country's territorial integrity was restored. Nevertheless, Saddam Hussein remained in power in Iraq, a situation that helped create the conditions for a second Gulf War in 2003.

This intervention also demonstrated the ability of the United States to form and lead an international coalition in response to aggression, while underlining its undisputed military leadership at the time.

The Second Gulf War[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The Second Gulf War, also known as the Iraq War, began in 2003 with an invasion of Iraq by a US-led coalition, with the main objective of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. The main justification for this intervention was that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that posed a threat to international security, a claim that later proved to be inaccurate. Despite the absence of a UN mandate and opposition from several countries, the United States, under President George W. Bush, decided to intervene with the support of a few allies, including the United Kingdom. The invasion was swift and Saddam Hussein was overthrown in a matter of weeks.

The situation deteriorated rapidly after the invasion. Lack of post-war planning and strategic errors, such as the disbanding of the Iraqi army, led to insurgency and widespread sectarian violence. Iraq was plunged into chaos for several years, with thousands of deaths and millions of displaced people. The war in Iraq has been widely criticised, both for its initial justification and its management. It eroded the credibility of the United States on the international stage and contributed to a feeling of opposition to American unilateralism.

Intervention in Afghanistan[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Operation Enduring Freedom, launched by the United States and its allies in response to the attacks of 11 September 2001, was aimed at dismantling al-Qaeda and removing from power in Afghanistan the Taliban regime that had harboured and supported the terrorist group. The aim was also to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind behind the attacks. With the support of the Northern Alliance, an anti-Taliban Afghan faction, the coalition forces quickly overthrew the Taliban regime. However, capturing bin Laden proved more difficult than expected, and he managed to elude coalition forces for almost a decade before finally being located and killed in Pakistan in 2011. The intervention in Afghanistan has also involved a long-term effort to rebuild and stabilise the country, which has been plagued by conflict and political, economic and social difficulties. The United States and its allies have tried to establish a democratic government, train a new Afghan army and contribute to the country's economic development.

Despite the colossal efforts made by the United States and its allies to stabilise Afghanistan, the country continues to face immense challenges. The Taliban have regained ground and insecurity is omnipresent. Corruption is endemic within the government and institutions, hampering economic development and the provision of public services. The reconstruction mission has also been marked by strategic and tactical errors. For example, efforts to build an Afghan National Army capable of maintaining security have been hampered by problems of corruption, mismanagement and low morale. Similarly, efforts to create a democratic system of governance have often been undermined by the realities of tribal power and local allegiances. The situation is further complicated by Afghanistan's ethnic and cultural diversity, as well as interference from neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and Iran. In addition, the country continues to struggle with socio-economic problems such as poverty, illiteracy and lack of access to healthcare.

A controversial and criticised modus operandi[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The exercise of power by the United States in the international arena, particularly through the use of military force, has sometimes been a source of controversy and criticism, particularly over the last two decades. Unilateral actions, such as the invasion of Iraq in 2003, have met with opposition and disapproval from many countries, including some US allies.

The invasion of Iraq, justified by accusations that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction - accusations which turned out to be false - was considered by many observers to be a violation of international law. Moreover, the instability that followed the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime led to a rise in extremism in the region, with tragic consequences for the Iraqi population and for international security.

Similarly, the use by the United States of drones to carry out targeted strikes, mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has raised concerns about the legality of these actions under international law and their humanitarian impact. These attacks have often caused civilian casualties and have been criticised for their lack of transparency.

These and other actions have tarnished the image of the United States on the international stage, undermining its legitimacy and influence as a world leader. Although the United States remains a superpower with considerable influence, these controversies have highlighted the challenges it faces in exercising its power effectively and responsibly.

Europe at a standstill[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Deepening economic integration[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The intensification of European economic integration took place gradually, beginning with the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951, followed by the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957. These two entities laid the foundations for economic integration in Europe by removing customs barriers and shaping a unified market for goods and services. The ECSC represented a crucial first step towards integration, pooling the coal and steel resources of six European countries: France, Germany, Italy and the three Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg). The agreement was intended to strengthen economic ties between these countries and prevent future conflicts, particularly between France and Germany. The creation of the EEC six years later was a major step in the deepening of European economic integration. The six member countries of the ECSC, joined by others over the years, worked to gradually eliminate customs duties and quantitative restrictions, and to put in place common policies in various areas, such as agriculture and transport. This integration enabled the free movement of goods, services, capital and people between member countries, laying the foundations for what is now the European Union.

With the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, the European Economic Community became the European Union (EU), with the ambition of greater integration and cooperation between member countries. The EU aimed not only at economic integration, but also at political integration, with enhanced cooperation in the areas of common foreign and security policy, justice and home affairs. The creation of the euro in 1999 was an important step towards economic integration, as it led to the creation of a monetary union with a European Central Bank to manage monetary policy. Over the years, a number of EU countries have adopted the euro as their currency, eliminating fluctuating exchange rates and further strengthening economic integration.

The enlargement of the European Union in 2004 represented a major change in the composition of the EU, as it marked the accession of eight Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs): Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. These countries had all been under Soviet influence during the Cold War, but underwent transitions to democracy and a market economy in the 1990s. Cyprus and Malta also joined the EU in 2004, marking a geographically wider enlargement of the Union. In 2007, Bulgaria and Romania, two other countries that experienced Communist domination during the Cold War, joined the EU, bringing the total number of members to 27. These successive enlargements were seen as a way of unifying Europe after the divisions of the Cold War and ensuring stability, peace and prosperity in the region. However, they have also brought challenges in terms of economic integration, meeting EU standards of democracy and human rights, and managing cultural and linguistic diversity within the Union.

The deepening of economic integration has led to closer coordination of economic and fiscal policies between EU Member States. This has been facilitated by the adoption of the euro and the creation of the eurozone, which have eliminated exchange rate fluctuations between member countries and enabled greater economic convergence. However, this integration has also revealed significant divergences between the economies of the Member States. For example, the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, which began in 2009, highlighted the economic imbalances between northern European countries, which generally have stronger and more stable economies, and southern European countries, which often have weaker economies and higher levels of debt. The crisis has also highlighted political tensions between EU Member States and raised questions about the long-term viability of monetary union without further fiscal union. As a result, while deepening economic integration has strengthened cooperation between EU Member States, it has also posed new challenges and required continued efforts to ensure the stability and prosperity of the eurozone.

European defence: from ambitions to reality[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Coat of arms of the European Union Military Staff.

The question of European defence[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Europe has often found it difficult to speak with a single voice on the international stage, which is partly due to the diversity of its Member States and their sometimes divergent interests. In addition, the European Union has long been dependent on NATO, and in particular the United States, for its defence.

The European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) was created to coordinate the actions of Member States in the field of foreign policy. However, its effectiveness has often been limited by the fact that foreign policy decisions require unanimity among Member States, which can be difficult to achieve. As for defence, the creation of a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) has made it possible to develop common military capabilities and to undertake peacekeeping and crisis management missions outside the European Union. However, these efforts have been limited and Europe remains largely dependent on the United States for its defence through NATO.

There have, however, been recent signs of an increased desire for strategic independence on the part of Europe. For example, in 2017, the European Union launched Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) to develop joint defence projects. In addition, French President Emmanuel Macron has called for the creation of a "real European army". However, these ideas remain controversial and their implementation is likely to be a long-term process.

The European Union has made progress in the field of defence and security, despite the many challenges ahead. The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and the European Union Military Staff (EUMS) are examples of this progress. In addition, in 2017, the Union set up Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), which aims to deepen defence cooperation between EU Member States. However, the issue of autonomous European defence remains complex. There are significant differences between EU Member States in terms of defence policies and strategic priorities. Moreover, while the idea of an autonomous European defence is attractive to some, others fear that it could weaken NATO or create tensions with the United States. One of the major challenges of autonomous European defence is to find a balance between the diverse and sometimes contradictory national interests and the common objective of a more integrated European defence. This requires ongoing dialogue and a strong political will on the part of the Member States. It is clear that the road to a more integrated European defence is likely to be long and full of pitfalls, but the progress made so far is encouraging.

NATO's role in the defence of Europe[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The question of a common European defence has long been a source of debate and divergence among the Member States of the European Union. Opinions differ in particular on the level of integration and autonomy that European defence should have. France, for example, has always been a fervent advocate of autonomous European defence. It sees a common European defence as a way of increasing Europe's weight on the international stage and reducing its dependence on the United States. Other countries, such as the UK (before it left the EU), tend to favour the NATO framework for collective defence, fearing that an autonomous European defence would dilute the transatlantic commitment and create unnecessary duplication of defence efforts. Nevertheless, these differences of opinion have not prevented the European Union from making progress in establishing a common defence policy. The EU has set up common defence structures, such as the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), and launched initiatives such as Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) to strengthen defence cooperation. However, the establishment of a genuine common European defence remains a long-term goal that will still require a great deal of work, compromise and political will.

While NATO has been and continues to be the main defence organisation for many European countries, recent years have seen increased efforts to strengthen Europe's autonomous defence capability. This is partly due to a heightened sense of security uncertainty, particularly in the face of Russia's aggressive actions in Ukraine and other regions, the challenges posed by terrorism and the changing global political landscape, including transatlantic relations. These concerns have led to initiatives to strengthen defence cooperation within the EU, notably through the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). However, there are still considerable differences between EU Member States on the direction and pace of defence integration. Some countries remain cautious, concerned about the risk of duplication with NATO and about having to shoulder a greater share of the financial burden of defence. Consequently, although progress has been made, building a genuine common European defence remains a long-term challenge that will require political will, consensus and significant investment.

After the end of the Cold War, NATO had to adapt its role and mission to a constantly changing international security environment. While the threat of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe disappeared, new security threats emerged, requiring a collective response. These new missions include stabilising Afghanistan after the 2001 intervention, implementing the UN resolution in Libya in 2011, participating in peacekeeping operations in the Balkans during the 1990s and 2000s, and more recently, deterring Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. NATO is also committed to strengthening cooperation with partner countries and promoting dialogue and cooperation in the field of security with countries around the world. Today, NATO continues to play an essential role in the collective defence of its members. However, differences of opinion between NATO members on strategic priorities and defence commitments have become increasingly apparent, raising questions about the future direction of the alliance.

NATO member countries and enlargement since 1949.

The enlargement of NATO in the 1990s and 2000s, which saw the accession of many former communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe, was an important step for these countries in their efforts to secure themselves against any potential resurgence of Russian aggression. It was also an essential part of their transition to open market democracies aligned with the West. However, this enlargement of NATO has not been well received by Russia, which sees it as a threat to its own security and strategic interests. Tensions are particularly acute over the potential membership of countries such as Ukraine and Georgia, which have been at the centre of conflicts with Russia. In response to Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine, NATO has strengthened its military presence in eastern European countries and increased its efforts to deter future Russian aggression. However, managing the relationship with Russia remains a major challenge for NATO, which must balance the defence needs of its members with the prevention of conflictual escalation with Russia.

The idea of a European army[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Map showing EU and NATO Member States
  États uniquement membres de l'UE
  États uniquement membres de l'OTAN
  États membres des deux

The idea of a European army has been raised several times by various European leaders and thinkers. The aim would be to give Europe greater autonomy in terms of defence and security, so that it is not solely dependent on NATO, which is heavily influenced by the United States. It would also enable the European Union to respond more effectively to crises on its borders or which directly affect its interests. The creation of a European army would involve much closer cooperation between EU Member States on defence matters, including the pooling of resources and capabilities, as well as the harmonisation of military doctrines and command procedures.

The Eurocorps, created in 1992, is a multinational military force made up mainly of French and German troops, but also including contingents from several other European countries. Eurocorps is an example of closer cooperation between EU countries on defence matters. Based in Strasbourg, France, the Eurocorps is made up of troops mainly from five EU member states - France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain - but it can also welcome contributions from other EU and NATO countries. Eurocorps is capable of providing an operational headquarters to command EU, NATO, UN or other coalition military missions. It has been deployed on several missions, including Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Although it is not a fully-fledged 'European army', Eurocorps is an example of how EU Member States can work together to achieve common defence and security objectives. However, its size (around 1,000 soldiers in peacetime, but can be increased to 60,000 for specific operations) and scope are limited, and it is still subordinate to the national decisions of the countries contributing its troops.

Despite efforts to strengthen European military cooperation, the creation of a European army remains controversial and difficult to achieve. Member States have different perspectives on defence and security issues, and there are significant financial, logistical and political obstacles to overcome in order to create a functional and effective European army.

The creation of a genuine European army is a complex issue involving a number of challenges. One of the main challenges is the political consent required for such an undertaking. EU Member States have diverse and often divergent views on defence and security issues. Consequently, obtaining robust political agreement to create a European army could prove difficult. Another major challenge concerns national sovereignty. Setting up a European army would require a certain cession of national sovereignty in defence matters. This could give rise to considerable resistance from certain Member States who value their independence in this area. Funding is also a potential obstacle. A European army would require significant financial investment. Given the current budgetary constraints of many Member States, finding the necessary funds could prove problematic. Interaction with NATO is also a key issue. Since the end of the Second World War, NATO has been the main body for European defence. It would therefore be necessary to determine how a European army would coexist with NATO or whether it would replace it partially or totally. Finally, the command structure and decision-making in the event of a crisis are crucial issues to be resolved. How would these responsibilities be allocated and what role would each Member State play in these processes? Despite these challenges, the EU has made defence and security cooperation a priority. Progress has been made with the creation of the European Defence Fund and the establishment of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) for defence and security. Nevertheless, the creation of a genuine European army remains a long-term objective that will require considerable coordination and political will.

The question of political Europe: Challenges and controversies[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Since the symbolic demolition of the Berlin Wall marking the end of the Cold War, it has become clear that Europe's role in international relations does not reflect its considerable economic influence. This is particularly apparent when we consider Europe's response to a series of major geopolitical crises in the 1990s. For example, in the Arab-Israeli conflict, an issue central to the stability of the Middle East, Europe failed to impose its vision or mediation in any significant way, often leaving diplomatic leadership to the United States. Europe's position was also on the back foot during the genocide in Rwanda, one of the most devastating human tragedies of the late twentieth century. Despite its colonial heritage and close ties with Africa, Europe failed to act decisively to prevent or stop the massacre. Europe also had difficulty managing the conflict that was taking place on its own continent, the war in Yugoslavia. Despite its geographical proximity and the enormous humanitarian and security stakes involved, Europe was unable to put an end to the conflict, and it was ultimately NATO's intervention that led to a resolution of the crisis. Similarly, during the conflict in Chechnya, Europe was largely silent and powerless in the face of Russian action. During these decisive moments, Europe did not play the leading role that its economic and historical weight might suggest. Its action has often been characterised by a secondary or even marginal position, a situation which underlines the need for a more coherent and assertive foreign and security policy on the part of Europe on the world stage.

The absence of a unified European foreign policy is one of the main factors limiting Europe's ability to act as a global power. On the United Nations Security Council, only two European nations - France and Great Britain - hold the right of veto. However, these two countries do not act as representatives of Europe as a whole, but according to their own national interests. Whenever an international crisis erupts, the European response is often fragmented and incoherent. The various European powers intervene, not with a common vision and objectives, but according to their own strategic and economic priorities. This results in a series of independent actions rather than a coordinated European response. This lack of unity dilutes Europe's influence on the world stage and limits its ability to shape international events. To become a more effective and influential international player, Europe will need to work to create a common foreign policy that reflects and defends its shared interests and values.

The Treaty of Lisbon, adopted in 2009, marked an important turning point in the effort to harmonise European foreign policy. This treaty created a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, a position that is not yet quite that of a European foreign minister, but which comes close. This progress has been complemented by the establishment of a network of European embassies around the world, laying the foundations for a more coherent and integrated European foreign policy. It can therefore be said that since 2009, Europe has begun to sketch out a common foreign policy. However, the appointment of Catherine Ashton, a Briton, to the post of High Representative has sent out an ambiguous signal. The UK has historically opposed the idea of a common European foreign policy. The choice of Ashton for this crucial post has therefore raised questions about the European Union's real commitment to the objective of a common foreign policy. Despite this potential symbolic misstep, the establishment of the position of High Representative nevertheless represents an important step towards a more unified Europe on the international stage.

Federica Mogherini was appointed High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in 2014. A native of Italy, Mogherini already had significant foreign policy experience prior to her appointment, having served as Italy's foreign minister. As High Representative, she played a key role in representing the EU on the international stage, working to coordinate the foreign policies of EU Member States and representing the Union in international discussions. Her mandate thus marked a further step towards the establishment of a common EU foreign policy. However, the role of the High Representative remains a delicate one, given the persistent differences between EU Member States on some key foreign policy issues. Josep Borrell succeeds Federica Mogherini in December 2019 as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. He is the European Union's current chief representative for international affairs. Of Spanish origin, Borrell has extensive experience in politics, having served as President of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2007 and as Spain's Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation from 2018 to 2019. As High Representative, Borrell plays a crucial role in coordinating the foreign and security policies of EU Member States, and represents the EU in international dialogues on these issues. His mandate is crucial if we are to make further progress towards a common EU foreign and security policy, a challenge that requires close cooperation and coordination between the Member States.

The observation that political Europe seems to be at odds with economic Europe is a pertinent one. Indeed, while the European Union (EU) has become a powerful economic entity with a single market and a common currency for many of its members, its evolution as a unified political power remains much more uneven. Economically, the EU has succeeded in integrating its members through trade agreements, common regulations and the eurozone. Politically, however, although there is some convergence around shared values and democratic principles, national sovereignty remains predominant in many areas. Member States have divergent views and interests on major issues such as foreign policy, defence, immigration, and even certain economic policies, making it difficult to implement a truly unified policy. Building a political Europe requires not only alignment on strategic issues, but also a common will to go beyond intergovernmental cooperation to share sovereignty in areas traditionally reserved for nation states. It remains to be seen how this will develop in the future.

The return of nationalism: The case of the Yugoslav conflict[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The break-up of Yugoslavia at the end of the twentieth century is a striking example of the revival of nationalism in Europe. Yugoslavia, created after the First World War, was a multicultural and multinational state made up of six republics and two autonomous provinces. The death of its charismatic leader, Tito, in 1980 triggered a political, economic and social crisis that exacerbated tensions between the different ethnic communities. By the early 1990s, these tensions had reached a breaking point. The leaders of Slovenia and Croatia, two of the constituent republics of Yugoslavia, declared independence for their respective territories. This decision triggered armed conflicts with the federal Yugoslav army, dragging other republics into a spiral of civil war and inter-ethnic violence. The escalation of the conflict took a terrible human and material toll, with thousands of deaths and millions of displaced persons. The after-effects of these conflicts are still being felt today, as the region continues to struggle to overcome its tumultuous past and move towards a more stable European perspective.

The Yugoslav wars revealed that nationalist tensions, long contained or marginalised after the Second World War and the start of European integration, retained immense destabilising potential. The conflict stirred up dark memories of the past, reminding Europe that old hatreds and ethnic rivalries could resurface and cause devastating damage. Moreover, the Yugoslav crisis underlined the challenges inherent in managing ethnic and national conflicts in a region of overlapping identities and ambiguous borders. Ethnic, religious and cultural divisions, though longstanding, had been largely neglected during the Tito era. When the conflict broke out, the complexity of these divisions was revealed in all its gravity, making the peace and reconciliation process extremely delicate and protracted. Ultimately, the experience of war in Yugoslavia provided a sombre lesson in the persistence of nationalism in Europe and the dangers it can pose to stability and peace on the continent.

The origins of the conflict[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The Yugoslav conflict has its roots in a rich and complex historical context, dating back to the 19th century. It was at this time that the idea of nationalism took off in Europe, influencing in particular the South Slavs in their quest for unity. However, Serbia, the homeland of many South Slavs, was not yet free of the Austro-Hungarian or Ottoman empires. It was only in 1878, at the Congress of Berlin, that it gained formal independence, although it remained under Ottoman suzerainty. In 1912, Serbia joined an alliance, the Balkan League, which also included Bulgaria, Greece and Montenegro. Their common goal was to drive the Ottomans out of the Balkans. This alliance won crucial victories in the two Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, and succeeded in expelling Turkey from the region. During these wars, Serbia managed to expand its territory considerably by annexing regions such as Kosovo and Macedonia, as well as Montenegro. These territorial acquisitions fuelled Serbian nationalism and strengthened their ambition to unite all the Southern Slavs under a single political entity. It was against this backdrop that the Sarajevo bombing took place in 1914, triggering the First World War and marking the start of a tumultuous century for the region.

The birth of Yugoslavia was anchored in the Treaty of Versailles of 1919. The new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes came into being through the unification of several pre-existing political entities: the Kingdom of Serbia, the Kingdom of Montenegro and the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. As the largest and most influential ethnic group, the Serbs sought to establish both political and cultural dominance over other ethnic groups, including the Croats and Slovenes. Yugoslavia's first constitution, put in place in 1921, created a unitary state, highly centralised around the Serbian capital, Belgrade. This centralisation of power exacerbated tensions with other regions, particularly Croatia, which aspired to greater autonomy. In response to these tensions, in 1939 the Croats created their own regional government, called the Banovine of Croatia. However, it was not until after the Second World War that the federalisation of Yugoslavia was established, allowing each republic a certain level of autonomy.

After the First World War, the creation of Yugoslavia did not ease the existing tensions between the different ethnic communities. King Alexander I, seeking to strengthen the unity of the state, implemented a policy of centralisation. This increased the influence of the Serbs, to the detriment of other ethnic groups. Nationalist tensions intensified, particularly among the Croats and Slovenes, who demanded greater autonomy. In response to this unrest, King Alexander I established a royal dictatorship in 1929, hoping to solve the country's political problems. This involved the abolition of federal institutions and increased centralisation. These measures were not well received, especially by the Croats, who continued to demand their autonomy and independence. The authoritarian rule of Alexander I persisted until his assassination in 1934, an event that is considered to be largely a direct consequence of the nationalist tensions in the country. This period of history illustrated how deeply rooted the issue of autonomy and national identity can be, and how it can affect the stability of a country over long periods of time.

The conflict between the forces of centralisation and decentralisation has played a crucial role in the complex history of Yugoslavia. The Serbs, who were the main military and political force within the Yugoslav state, sought to preserve their dominant position by advocating greater centralisation of power. On the other hand, the Croats and Slovenes, seeking to preserve their autonomy, insisted on a federal structure that would favour greater decentralisation of power. These tensions were a constant throughout Yugoslavia's existence, fuelling friction and internal conflict. They persisted even beyond the era of the authoritarian rule of King Alexander I, enduring under Tito and his policy of "brotherhood and unity" until the end of the twentieth century. Eventually, these unresolved tensions led to the break-up of Yugoslavia, giving rise to a series of tragic and violent conflicts, the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

Religious and political tensions have deeply marked the history of Yugoslavia, particularly between Orthodox Serbs and Bosnian Muslims. The mainly Orthodox Serbs often saw the Bosnian Muslims, who represented a significant proportion of the Yugoslav population, as a potential threat to their regional dominance. Bosnian Muslims, on the other hand, sought to retain their distinct identity, as well as their cultural and political autonomy. These tensions intensified following major events such as the death of Tito in 1980, and the collapse of the communist bloc in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s. These changes created a political vacuum and a climate of uncertainty that provided opportunities for nationalists of all ethnicities. Taking advantage of this context, they succeeded in gaining strength, putting forward their separatist claims and stirring up ethnic and religious divisions. The escalation of these tensions eventually led to the break-up of Yugoslavia and the outbreak of the Yugoslav Wars. These conflicts, which ravaged the region in the 1990s, were characterised by inter-ethnic violence and mass atrocities, highlighting the deep divisions that marked Yugoslav society.

The Second World War marked a particularly dark period in the history of Yugoslavia. When the country was invaded and fragmented by Axis forces, the independent state of Croatia was created as a satellite of the Third Reich. Croatian nationalists, known as the Ustasha, seized power and established a regime characterised by policies of extreme brutality towards Serbs, Jews and Roma. At the same time, they set up a ferocious crackdown on Yugoslav resistance fighters, marking a period of terror and massive violence. This Ustashi regime, allied to the Axis forces, was responsible for mass atrocities and crimes against humanity. These acts left indelible scars on the region and further heightened inter-ethnic tensions, particularly between Serbs and Croats. The repercussions of this period of Nazi occupation were felt well beyond the end of the war, fuelling nationalist resentments that ultimately contributed to the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. This period of history highlights the importance of historical memories in the formation of national identities and inter-ethnic conflicts. The traumas of the Second World War were reactivated during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, demonstrating that past conflicts can continue to influence political and inter-community relations decades later.

At the end of the Second World War, Yugoslavia managed to free itself from the Nazi yoke without the direct support of the Allies, thanks largely to the resistance led by Josip Broz Tito. A charismatic Yugoslav communist leader, Tito emerged as the leader of this resistance, and his influence did not stop there. He later assumed the presidency of the new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which he led until his death in 1980. Tito showed great skill in managing the various ethnic and political tensions that marked Yugoslavia. He established a federal structure that sought to balance the interests of the various Slavic peoples of Yugoslavia. His policy of workers' self-management was innovative, and his foreign policy, resolutely independent of that of the superpowers of the day (the USSR and Western countries), enabled Yugoslavia to maintain a degree of autonomy on the international stage. During his mandate, despite moments of instability, Yugoslavia enjoyed a period of relative peace. However, Tito's death created a power vacuum and removed the main arbiter of ethnic rivalries within the country. In the absence of his unifying influence, inter-ethnic tensions gradually escalated and eventually led to the break-up of the Yugoslav federation in the 1990s, triggering a series of bloody and tragic conflicts.

The late 1980s and early 1990s saw a resurgence of nationalist tensions in Yugoslavia, and the key figure in this period was undoubtedly Slobodan Milošević. Elected President of Serbia in 1989, he embodied and propagated a fervent nationalist policy, exacerbating ethnic rivalries within the country. The international context of the time, with the collapse of the Eastern bloc and the dissolution of the Communist parties, had a strong influence on the political situation in Yugoslavia, further accentuating its fragility. In this climate of growing tension, the republics of Slovenia and Croatia proclaimed their independence in 1991, a bold move that was imitated by Bosnia-Herzegovina shortly afterwards. The Serbian government, seeking to maintain the integrity of Yugoslavia, did everything in its power to prevent these secessions. This resistance triggered a series of armed conflicts of unprecedented brutality that ravaged the region. The hostilities culminated in war crimes and crimes against humanity, the most tragic of which was undoubtedly the genocide at Srebrenica in 1995, an act of cruelty that shocked the international community and left indelible scars on the history of the Balkans.

The break-up of Yugoslavia[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Territory of the political entities known as Yugoslavia.

In 1992, history turned a crucial page with the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This entity was replaced by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a considerably smaller entity comprising only two of the original six republics: Serbia and Montenegro. However, even within this new structure, cohesion did not last. Relations between Serbia and Montenegro gradually deteriorated, and tensions rose, culminating in Montenegro's proclamation of independence in 2006. This event marked the end of Yugoslavia's existence, and once again highlighted the difficulty of uniting peoples with distinct identities and aspirations under a single banner. This reality, which was one of the main themes of the Yugoslav tragedy, continues to influence relations between the countries of the Balkans.

Serbian nationalism was undoubtedly one of the major dynamics of the conflicts that emerged following the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Under the aegis of Slobodan Milošević, the Serbian government adopted an expansionist policy, asserting territorial claims over certain regions of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. This claim was based on the argument of protecting the Serb populations living there. However, these geopolitical aspirations led to devastating wars in both Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, which resulted in numerous atrocities being committed against civilians. The Srebrenica massacre remains one of the darkest and most tragic episodes of this period. At the same time, the Croatian and Bosnian nationalist movements also fuelled tensions and the spiral of violence. Each side, claiming its own identity and territorial legitimacy, contributed to aggravating an already extremely complex situation. This explosive cocktail of clashing national and ethnic identities led to the violent break-up of Yugoslavia, underlining the failure of attempts to peacefully unify peoples with sometimes antagonistic histories, cultures and aspirations.

Macedonia managed to separate from Yugoslavia relatively peacefully in 1991. Nationalist tensions did not reach the same level of intensity in Macedonia as in Bosnia-Herzegovina or Croatia. This can be explained by Macedonia's more diverse ethnic make-up, with a large Albanian minority accounting for around 25% of the population, as well as by the fact that Macedonia did not have a large Serb minority that Milošević's government would have wanted to protect or annex. Bosnia-Herzegovina, on the other hand, was the scene of much greater inter-ethnic tensions, with Serb, Croat and Bosnian communities competing for control of the territory. This led to a very violent war from 1992 to 1995, during which numerous war crimes were committed, including the genocide at Srebrenica.

The Yugoslav crisis revealed the divisions within the European Union and highlighted its inability to pursue an effective common foreign and defence policy. At the start of the conflict, the EU attempted to play a mediating role and organised a series of peace talks, but these efforts were hampered by a lack of consensus among its Member States. For example, Germany was among the first countries to recognise the independence of Croatia and Slovenia, while other countries, such as France and the UK, were more reticent, fearing that this would encourage further separatism in Europe. In the end, the EU was unable to stop the war and had to rely on NATO for military intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995 and Kosovo in 1999. The Yugoslav crisis highlighted the need to strengthen the European Union's foreign and defence policy, an objective that is still relevant today.

During the Yugoslav crisis, Russia, which traditionally has close cultural and historical ties with Serbia due to their shared Orthodox heritage, supported Belgrade's position. However, despite this support, Russia found it difficult to significantly influence developments on the ground. In part, this was due to the country's internal difficulties following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia, faced with considerable political and economic instability, was not in a position to adopt as active and influential a foreign position as it would later occupy. Moreover, Russia's influence was also limited by the dominance of the Western powers, particularly the United States, in dealing with the Yugoslav crisis. NATO, led by the United States, carried out military interventions in Bosnia in 1995 and Kosovo in 1999, despite Russia's opposition. However, despite these limitations, Russia has continued to support Serbia in the post-Yugoslav context, notably by refusing to recognise Kosovo's independence in 2008, a position it maintains to this day.

The separation of populations and the humanitarian consequences[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

NATO played a crucial role in resolving the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina with Operation Deliberate Force. This operation began in August 1995, mainly under US leadership, in response to atrocities committed by Bosnian Serb forces, notably the Srebrenica massacre. NATO's air campaign against Serb positions was followed by a ground offensive by the Bosnian-Croat force, which led to a change of dynamic on the battlefield and eventually forced the Bosnian Serbs to negotiate. The Dayton Accords, signed in November 1995, put an end to the war and established a Bosnia-Herzegovina divided into two semi-autonomous entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (with a Bosnian-Croat majority) and the Bosnian Serb Republic. However, the country remained ethnically divided, with persistent tensions between these groups. In 1999, NATO again intervened militarily in the region, this time in Kosovo, with Operation Allied Force. This air campaign against the forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (mainly Serbian) was launched in response to the violent repression of the Albanian population of Kosovo by the Serbian government of Slobodan Milošević.

Although the Dayton Accords ended the war, they also codified certain ethnic divisions in the political structure of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The country was divided into two main political entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (inhabited mainly by Bosniaks and Croats) and the Republika Srpska (inhabited mainly by Serbs). Each entity has its own government and a large degree of autonomy, but there is also a central government and a tripartite presidency, with a president from each ethnic group (Bosniak, Serb, Croat) taking turns. However, this structure has also been criticised for creating a political deadlock and for reinforcing ethnic divisions rather than overcoming them. Tensions and political differences between the three ethnic groups remain a feature of Bosnia-Herzegovina to this day. This has made the country politically unstable and hampered its economic development and integration into the European Union and NATO.

Kosovo is another Balkan region where ethnic tensions have led to a violent crisis. After the Bosnian war, Kosovo became the next point of tension between the province's majority Albanians, who demanded greater autonomy or even independence, and the Serbian government, which sought to maintain its control over the region. The conflict reached a climax in 1998-1999, when ethnic tensions degenerated into open warfare. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), composed mainly of Kosovo Albanians, fought the Serbian security forces. The Serbian government, under the leadership of Slobodan Milošević, responded with a brutal campaign of repression that resulted in the forced displacement and murder of many Kosovo Albanians. In 1999, NATO intervened to stop the violence, conducting an aerial bombing campaign against Serbia. The war ended in June 1999, when the UN took control of Kosovo. Kosovo declared independence in 2008, which was recognised by much of the international community, including the United States and most members of the European Union. However, Serbia and several other countries, including Russia and China, did not recognise Kosovo's independence. Today, the situation in Kosovo remains complex and unstable. Although violence has largely ceased, ethnic and political tensions persist and Kosovo's future remains uncertain.

The arrest of Slobodan Milošević in 2001 and his transfer to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague represent a major milestone in post-Yugoslav history. Milošević was indicted for various war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the wars of the 1990s. However, he died in custody in March 2006 before his trial was completed, thus avoiding a final verdict. As for the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the independence of Montenegro in 2006 and Kosovo in 2008 marked the end of the process. However, the situation in the region remains complex and the future of Kosovo, in particular, remains a source of tension. Kosovo is recognised as an independent state by a majority of countries, including the United States and a majority of the members of the European Union, but others, including Serbia and Russia, continue to regard Kosovo as a province of Serbia. Montenegro, for its part, has managed to maintain relative stability since independence and has made progress in its EU accession process, although challenges remain, notably in the areas of corruption and institutional reform. The Balkan region has undergone profound changes since the break-up of Yugoslavia, and the problems inherited from that period continue to influence the region's politics to this day.

The war in the former Yugoslavia remains one of the darkest periods in recent European history. The loss of life was devastating, with over 100,000 people killed and millions displaced. The atrocities committed during the conflict, including the genocide at Srebrenica, demonstrated the human capacity for extreme violence against fellow human beings. The war not only left deep scars in the region, but also had repercussions on international politics. It highlighted the European Union's difficulty in managing crises in its own region and the limitations of the UN as a conflict mediator. It also led to military intervention by NATO, an act that drew international criticism but was also seen by others as necessary to end the violence. The legacy of the war in the former Yugoslavia is still present in the Balkans today, with persistent ethnic tensions and major challenges in terms of reconciliation and justice for the victims of the conflict. Despite reconstruction and reconciliation efforts, the healing process is slow and difficult, and the region continues to struggle to come to terms with the past.

The emergence of new powers on the world stage[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The multipolar world in which we live is characterised by the presence of several centres of power which have a significant influence at international level. These centres of power can be countries, or blocs of countries, such as the European Union. China, India, Brazil, Russia and South Africa are often grouped together under the acronym BRICS. These countries have experienced rapid economic growth in recent decades and have increased their influence on the international stage. China, in particular, is seen as an emerging superpower, rivalling the United States in terms of economic power and, increasingly, in terms of technological and military power. India, with its rapid growth and large population, is also a key player on the international stage. The European Union, as a union of 27 countries, is another major player in this multipolar world. Despite its internal challenges, the EU has a significant influence, particularly in terms of the economy and regulatory standards.

In this multipolar world, international coordination and cooperation can be more complex, as interests and values may diverge. However, it is also an opportunity to establish genuine global governance that reflects the diversity of global players. This multipolarity makes international governance more complex, as different actors have different objectives and different foreign policy priorities. However, this situation offers new opportunities for cooperation and economic development, as well as new mechanisms for resolving conflicts and promoting international peace and security.

China: An economic dragon[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The country has followed a unique path, combining the maintenance of an authoritarian political system with far-reaching economic reforms. Unlike the USSR, China chose to retain some of its communist structures while launching economic reforms in the 1980s, liberalising its economy and attracting foreign investment. Economic reforms began under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These reforms, often referred to as "socialism with Chinese characteristics", gradually opened up the Chinese economy to foreign investment and liberalised parts of the domestic market, while maintaining a strong role for the state in key sectors of the economy. These reforms have had a considerable impact, transforming China from an agrarian economy to a modern industrial and service economy. China is now one of the world's largest economies and a major player in world trade. However, the Chinese Communist Party has maintained strict control over political power, with close surveillance of society, the press and the Internet, and regular repression of dissidents. The legal system remains under party control, and human rights are often neglected. Despite its economic opening up, China remains an authoritarian one-party regime.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has managed to maintain authoritarian control over the country while introducing economic reforms that have stimulated growth and improved living conditions for many Chinese. The country's economic success has helped to strengthen the CCP's legitimacy. In addition, the CCP has put in place an extensive system of surveillance and social control, including censorship of the media and the Internet, surveillance of the population using modern technology, and repression of dissidents and minority groups. These measures have served to contain political opposition and prevent potential challenges to the party's authority. At the same time, the CCP has been able to evolve its ideology in response to changing conditions. For example, while the party continues to rely on the language of Marxism-Leninism, it has also embraced concepts such as the market economy and openness to foreign investment. Finally, nationalism has been an important tool for the CCP in consolidating its power. The party has worked hard to promote the idea that China is on the rise as a world power and that the CCP is uniquely capable of realising this dream for the Chinese people.

China has become a major international power. With a population of over one billion, a rapidly growing economy, advanced nuclear and space capabilities, and an army of over two million soldiers, China plays an important role in world politics. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has veto power and plays an important role in decisions relating to international peace and security. China's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2001 marked its commitment to the rules-based global trading system. This has helped to further integrate China into the global economy and accelerate its economic development. As a member of the G20, China participates in discussions and decision-making on major global economic and financial issues. The G20 brings together the world's 19 largest economies and the European Union, and represents over 80% of global GDP. The BRICS are another important forum for China. This is an association of five major emerging countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - seeking to promote their collective influence in world affairs. These participations show how China has gradually increased its role and influence in world politics, evolving from a regional to a global power over the last few decades. However, with this growing influence comes increased responsibility, and China is often under pressure to contribute more to solving global problems, from climate change to managing humanitarian crises.

China has made considerable advances in space technology, making it one of the world's leading space powers alongside the United States and Russia. In 2003, China became the third country to independently send an astronaut into space with the launch of Yang Liwei into orbit. Since then, it has carried out several more manned missions. In terms of lunar exploration, China has carried out several successful missions, including the Chang'e-4 mission, which achieved the first landing on the far side of the Moon in 2019. As part of its ambition to have its own space station, China launched the first module of its station, the "Tiangong" (or "Celestial Palace") in 2021, and plans to complete construction of the station by 2022. In another landmark achievement, China landed its Zhurong rover on Mars in 2021, becoming the third country to do so after the United States and the Soviet Union. Finally, China has also launched numerous satellites for various applications, including communication, navigation and Earth observation, with its Beidou navigation system a notable alternative to the American GPS. However, these advances in space are raising concerns in terms of security and strategic rivalry, particularly with the United States.

China's rise to power is an issue of great importance in world politics and economics. On the one hand, China's rapid economic development has created new opportunities for international trade and investment. China is now the largest trading partner of many countries and a major investor in regions such as Africa and South East Asia. However, China's rise also raises concerns. On the economic front, some critics point the finger at China's business practices, such as the protection of its domestic industries and accusations of currency manipulation. In addition, the growing dependence of many countries on China as a trading partner and source of investment can give China significant influence over their political and economic decisions. On the political front, China's authoritarian governance and repression of internal dissent have raised human rights concerns. Moreover, China's territorial ambitions, particularly in the South China Sea, are a source of tension with its neighbours and the United States. China's rise as a global power presents both challenges and opportunities for the existing world order.

China has adopted a diversified international strategy, showing different levels of involvement depending on the region and its strategic interests. In Africa, for example, it has invested heavily in infrastructure projects and the exploitation of natural resources. It has established solid economic partnerships with various countries, often in exchange for access to valuable natural resources. China's approach, which focuses on trade and investment without political conditionalities, is sometimes described as a form of "infrastructure diplomacy". In the Middle East, China is playing a growing role, particularly in Iran and Syria, where it is a major player in post-conflict reconstruction. It is seeking to secure its energy supplies and extend its influence in a strategic region. In South America, although China is less visible, its economic influence has also grown, mainly through investments in the energy, minerals and agriculture sectors. China's expansion on an international scale is attracting criticism. Its lack of transparency, alleged non-compliance with environmental and labour standards, and apparent disregard for human rights and democratic values are all the subject of controversy. The notion of a "debt trap", where developing countries are forced into economic dependence on China, is also a matter of concern for the international community.

India: a demographic and technological powerhouse[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

India, with a population of around 1.3 billion, is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The economic reforms undertaken since the 1980s have transformed the country from a closed, agricultural economy into a more open and diversified one, with a dynamic industry and an expanding services sector. Market liberalisation and openness to foreign investment have been key drivers of this growth. They have helped to make India a global centre for computer services and information technology, creating jobs for millions of people and raising levels of literacy and education. At the same time, India has also developed other economic sectors. The financial sector, for example, has undergone rapid modernisation and expansion, supported by regulatory reforms and the adoption of digital technologies. The manufacturing sector has also grown, although its share of the economy remains relatively small compared with that of services.

India is a dynamic economy with one of the highest growth rates in the world. This growth is largely driven by rapid urbanisation, a young population and an expanding middle class. Key sectors underpinning growth include IT, the services sector, manufacturing and, increasingly, the digital sector and e-commerce. However, India faces serious challenges despite its strong economic growth. One of the biggest problems is economic inequality. There are huge disparities in income and wealth in India, not only between different regions of the country, but also between different social classes. Urban areas, particularly large cities such as Mumbai and Bangalore, have benefited from most of the growth, while many rural areas remain relatively underdeveloped and poor. In addition, India faces a range of social challenges, including poverty, lack of access to quality education, unemployment, particularly among young people, and public health problems. In addition, pollution, climate change and water stress are other major challenges facing India.

India conducted its first nuclear test in 1974, an operation known as "Smiling Buddha". This test marked India's entry into the select club of nuclear-armed nations. India then conducted a series of nuclear tests in 1998, consolidating its status as a nuclear power. However, it is important to note that India maintains a "no-first-use" policy when it comes to the use of nuclear weapons, meaning that it will not be the first to use these weapons in a conflict, but will reserve its nuclear arsenal for deterrence and reaction in the event of a nuclear attack against it. India has also pursued a civil nuclear programme to meet its growing energy needs. The country has several nuclear power plants in operation and plans to further develop its nuclear infrastructure in the coming years.

India has made significant advances in space exploration. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was set up in 1969, and since then India has succeeded in carving out a place for itself among the great space-faring nations. India's first satellite, Aryabhata, was launched by the Soviet Union in 1975. However, ISRO soon acquired the capability to launch its own satellites and put the Rohini satellite into orbit in 1980. Since then, India has carried out several impressive space missions. The country has successfully launched missions to the Moon (Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and Chandrayaan-2 in 2019) and Mars (Mars Orbiter Mission, also known as Mangalyaan, in 2013). India was the first country in Asia to reach the orbit of Mars and the first in the world to succeed in doing so on its first attempt. ISRO has also launched the Gaganyaan programme, which aims to send Indian astronauts into space by 2023. If this project succeeds, India would become the fourth country to send humans into space independently, after Russia, the United States and China. In addition to these exploration missions, ISRO carries out commercial satellite launches for international customers, generating revenue and strengthening India's place in the global space industry.

As the world's largest democracy and a major player in the global economy, India is seeking to increase its influence on the international stage. India is a member of the G20, a forum of 19 countries and the European Union, which together account for around 90% of the global economy, 80% of world trade and two-thirds of the world's population. The G20 is an important platform for India to discuss and influence global economic and financial issues. India has also repeatedly expressed its desire to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Currently, the UN Security Council has five permanent members - the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France - all of whom have the right of veto. India argues that, given its size and growing importance, it should have a permanent place on the Security Council. However, reform of the UN Security Council is a complex process that requires the consent of the majority of UN members, including all current permanent members, and so far no reform has been implemented.

India is a major player in Asia and is seeking to strengthen its presence on the international stage. Its rapidly growing economy, large population and robust democracy give it considerable influence. However, India faces many internal challenges, including poverty, inequality and underdevelopment, which could hamper its international ambitions. On the diplomatic front, India has established strong relations with key global powers such as the United States, Russia and Japan, and has important trade and economic ties with the European Union. India is also an active member of several multilateral forums, such as the G20, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. However, India faces geopolitical tensions with some of its neighbours, notably Pakistan and China. Relations between India and Pakistan are strained by a number of unresolved territorial disputes, in particular that over Kashmir. Relations between India and China are also strained, with persistent border disputes and a growing strategic rivalry. Despite these challenges, India continues to play an increasingly important role on the international stage and seeks to influence the international system in accordance with its national interests and values.

India has demonstrated considerable potential to become a superpower in the 21st century. Its economy, ranked sixth in the world, continues to grow rapidly, fuelled by sectors such as information and technology, manufacturing and trade. Its military is one of the largest and best equipped in the world, bolstered by nuclear capabilities and a developing space programme. On the international stage, India has strengthened its presence by being a member of influential groups such as the G20, BRICS and the Non-Aligned Movement. It has also strengthened its diplomatic ties with other world powers, including the United States, Russia, China and the European Union. Despite these advances, India must overcome many internal and external challenges if it is to achieve its full potential as a superpower. Problems of poverty, social inequality and inadequate infrastructure persist. There are also tensions with some of its neighbours, notably Pakistan and China, over border and security issues. However, India has clearly signalled its desire to broaden its influence and adopt a more assertive stance on the world stage, indicating a clear aspiration to become a global power in the 21st century.

Japan: A repositioning economic power[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Japan achieved spectacular reconstruction after the Second World War, transforming itself into one of the world's leading economic players. Through a combination of hard work, ingenuity and international support, notably through the Marshall Plan, Japan was able to overcome the massive damage of the war and propel itself towards unprecedented economic prosperity.

Japan's economy is highly diversified, with key sectors including the automotive, electronics, steel and chemical industries. Japanese companies such as Toyota, Sony and Panasonic are recognised worldwide for their innovation and the quality of their products. The country is also a leader in research and development, and remains at the forefront of new technologies, particularly in the fields of automation, robotics and artificial intelligence.

Politically, Japan is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system, with an emperor as a symbolic figure and a prime minister who is the head of government. It has a well-established democratic structure with regular elections, a free press and an independent judiciary. Japan maintains close relations with the United States, which has been a key security partner since the signing of the Treaty on Mutual Cooperation and Security in 1960. This treaty was concluded after the end of the US occupation of Japan following the Second World War and commits both countries to defend each other in the event of an armed attack. This has played a key role in the defence policy of Japan, which is officially pacifist and only maintains armed forces for self-defence. In addition, Japan and the United States have strong economic ties and are important trading partners for each other. They also collaborate on a range of international issues, from climate change to nuclear proliferation.

Japan's constitution, also known as the "Potsdam Constitution" because it was adopted after the Second World War, places significant restrictions on the country's ability to wage offensive war. Article 9 of this constitution states that "the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes". Consequently, although Japan maintains self-defence forces, it has no conventional army and is largely dependent on the United States for its defence. Despite the constitutional restrictions, Japan has found ways to contribute to international peace and security. With the adoption of the Law on International Cooperation for Peace and Security in 1992, Japan was able to participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations, marking a major change in its post-Second World War security policy. The Japan Self-Defence Forces (JSDF) have since participated in a number of peacekeeping missions, including in Cambodia, Mozambique, East Timor and South Sudan. It should be noted, however, that these deployments are strictly non-combatant and generally focus on engineering, logistics and medical support. These initiatives demonstrate Japan's willingness to play an active role in international affairs despite constitutional restrictions on the use of military force. This has enabled Japan to increase its international influence and contribute to peace and stability in the world.

As the world's third largest economy, Japan has a major influence on global economic decisions. Its active participation in the G7, G20 and APEC is testimony to its key role in shaping global economic policy. In addition, Japan has always been a major contributor to the United Nations and other multilateral organisations, giving it significant influence in these forums. It plays a particularly important role in discussions on sustainable development, international aid and human rights. Thus, despite its military restrictions, Japan continues to wield considerable global influence thanks to its economic status and its commitment to multilateral diplomacy.

Since the end of the Cold War, Japan has redoubled its efforts to strengthen its presence and influence in Asia. This has resulted in the establishment of numerous free trade agreements with Asian countries, active participation in regional cooperation forums such as ASEAN+3 (which brings together the ASEAN countries plus China, Japan and South Korea), and a strong commitment to development aid. Japan is one of the largest donors of development aid in Asia, providing significant assistance in economic development, education, health and the fight against climate change. These actions reflect Japan's ambition to play a leading role in the stability and development of the Asia-Pacific region.

Japan has stepped up its efforts to expand its diplomatic and economic influence on a global scale. In Latin America, for example, Japan has concluded free trade agreements with several countries and increased its investments, particularly in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors. In Africa, Japan has strengthened its presence through TICAD (Tokyo International Conference on African Development), a forum initiated by Japan in 1993 to promote political dialogue and economic development on the African continent. Through TICAD and other initiatives, Japan strives to support Africa's economic development, promote trade and investment, and strengthen political and cultural ties. As for the Middle East, Japan relies heavily on this region for its oil and gas supplies, and therefore has a strategic interest in maintaining stable and positive relations there. Japan has also played an active role in reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has participated in peacekeeping missions under the aegis of the United Nations in the region. These efforts reflect Japan's determination to strengthen its position as a major global player, capable of influencing economic and political dynamics on a worldwide scale.

Japan has used its formidable economic power as a key tool in its diplomacy. Thanks to its status as the world's third largest economy, it has been able to position itself as a crucial trading and financial partner for many countries. This has been a particularly effective strategy for developing relations with countries that might otherwise be reluctant to engage with Japan on political or security issues. Japan's economic diplomacy includes initiatives such as investing in foreign infrastructure, providing development aid, concluding trade agreements and encouraging Japanese companies to invest abroad. These efforts enable Japan to increase its influence, promote its national interests and contribute to global economic stability. However, it should be noted that while economic diplomacy is an important part of Japan's international strategy, it is not the only one. Japan is also actively involved in political and security initiatives, such as participating in UN peacekeeping missions and promoting nuclear disarmament. In addition, Japan maintains a strong security alliance with the United States, which continues to play a key role in its security strategy.

Brazil: An emerging giant in Latin America[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

From 1964 to 1985, Brazil was ruled by a military junta that exercised authoritarian and repressive power. This period was marked by censorship, political repression, torture and the exile of many political opponents. During this period, the military junta implemented economic policies that promoted industrialisation and economic growth, but also increased social inequality and the country's foreign debt. In 1985, after a period of growing pressure for a return to democracy, the military regime came to an end and a civilian government was re-established.

However, the process of transition to democracy was slow and difficult. The democratic governments that followed faced many challenges, including fighting corruption, developing policies to reduce poverty and social inequality, reforming political institutions and establishing truth and justice for the crimes committed during the military dictatorship. Over the last few decades, Brazil has made significant progress towards democracy and economic development. It has managed to stabilise its economy, reduce poverty and inequality, and play a more active role on the international stage. However, the country continues to face many challenges, such as corruption, violence, persistent social inequalities and political tensions.

Since the 1990s, Brazil has implemented a series of economic reforms aimed at stabilising its economy and encouraging growth. These reforms included privatising many state-owned enterprises, reducing trade barriers and attracting foreign investment. This period of economic liberalisation contributed to a significant increase in Brazil's GDP and enabled the country to become one of the world's largest economies.

During the 2000s, Brazil benefited from a commodity boom, which stimulated economic growth and helped reduce poverty. However, Brazil's dependence on commodity exports has also exposed the economy to international price volatility. At the same time, Brazil has implemented income redistribution policies and social protection programmes that have helped to reduce poverty and inequality. These policies include the Bolsa Família programme, which offers financial assistance to poor families in exchange for their commitment to send their children to school and to respect vaccination schedules. Despite this progress, Brazil still faces many economic challenges, including the need to diversify its economy, improve infrastructure, reform the tax system and fight corruption.

Despite Brazil's impressive economic growth at the start of the 21st century, the country suffered a severe recession in 2015 and 2016. This recession was caused by a combination of factors, including a fall in commodity prices, an internal political crisis, and high levels of corruption. Since then, Brazil's growth rate has been low, despite some signs of recovery. At the same time, Brazil has a huge domestic market, which offers enormous potential for economic growth. The country is the largest economy in Latin America, and its population of over 200 million represents a huge market for goods and services.

Brazil has invested heavily in modernising its armed forces in recent years, significantly increasing defence spending. It has the second largest army in the Americas, after the United States, making it a key player in regional security in South America. However, Brazil has a tradition of not intervening militarily in international conflicts, preferring instead to use diplomatic means to resolve disputes. This is in line with its tradition of seeking peaceful solutions to international conflicts, a principle enshrined in the Brazilian constitution. Despite its growing military power, Brazil continues to favour a diplomatic and peaceful approach in its foreign policy.

Brazil has played a significant role in United Nations peacekeeping missions, particularly in Haiti. From 2004 to 2017, Brazil led the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The aim of this mission was to maintain peace and stability in Haiti after a period of political unrest. When MINUSTAH ended in 2017, it was replaced by the United Nations Mission in Support of Justice in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), which was then replaced in 2019 by the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH). The aim of these new missions was to support sustainable development in Haiti and strengthen the rule of law. Although Brazil's role has changed with these new missions, it remains an important player in the stabilisation efforts in Haiti. Brazil's participation in these peacekeeping missions underlines its commitment to regional peace and security, and demonstrates its growing influence on the international stage.

New areas of tension in the post-Cold War world[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The control of nuclear proliferation[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev on 6 July 2009.

The issue of disarmament has been a major preoccupation in international relations since the end of the Cold War.

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties (START) have played a key role in nuclear disarmament efforts since the end of the Cold War. These agreements were signed between the United States and the Soviet Union (then the Russian Federation after the dissolution of the Soviet Union) to limit and reduce the nuclear arsenals of the two superpowers. These agreements led to the signing of two treaties: SALT I in 1972 and SALT II in 1979, but the latter was never ratified due to tensions between the two countries.

START I was signed in 1991, limiting each country to a maximum of 6,000 nuclear warheads. START II, signed in 1993, provided for a further reduction of these arsenals to 3,000-3,500 warheads. However, Russia never ratified this treaty and finally denounced it in 2002.

The draft START III treaty, which was to further reduce nuclear arsenals, was never signed. However, it is worth mentioning the 'New START' treaty (New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) which was signed in 2010 by the United States and Russia. This treaty set a new limit of 1,550 deployed warheads for each country and was extended in February 2021 until 2026.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is one of the main pillars of the international effort to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The Treaty, which came into force in 1970, recognises five countries as nuclear states - the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China - and prohibits all other signatories from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons. The NPT rests on three fundamental pillars: non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Under the Treaty, the nuclear-weapon States undertake to pursue negotiations on nuclear disarmament in "good faith", while the non-nuclear-weapon States agree not to seek or develop nuclear weapons.

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a crucial international agreement. Signed in 1996, it aims to ban all nuclear tests worldwide, whether for military or peaceful purposes. However, although many countries have signed and ratified the treaty, it has not yet entered into force because some countries with nuclear capabilities have not yet ratified it. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (CTBT) was adopted in 2017. It prohibits signatory states from developing, testing, producing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons. The CTBT is seen as a significant development towards nuclear disarmament. However, none of the nuclear-weapon States has signed this treaty to date, which limits its impact. These treaties and other arms control agreements are important in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and promoting nuclear disarmament. However, implementation of these treaties and compliance with them by all countries remain major challenges.

Arms control treaties are not just about nuclear weapons. There are also treaties aimed at limiting and regulating conventional weapons. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), signed in 1987 by the United States and the Soviet Union, banned the possession, production and testing of intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles. However, in 2019, the United States announced its withdrawal from the treaty, claiming that Russia had violated its terms. In addition, the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), signed in 1990, limited the number of tanks, heavy artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters that NATO and Warsaw Pact countries could deploy in Europe. However, in 2007, Russia suspended its participation in the treaty, claiming that NATO enlargement had changed the balance of power in Europe. These recent developments underline the continuing challenges to global arms control and disarmament. Although treaties have played a crucial role in preventing conflict and limiting the arms race, their implementation and compliance remain key issues on the international agenda.

Nuclear proliferation[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The spread of nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

After the break-up of the Soviet Union, the issue of managing the nuclear arsenal was a major challenge. Three former Soviet republics - Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus - inherited vast stocks of nuclear weapons. Through bilateral and multilateral agreements, and with the help and support of Russia and the United States, these three nations voluntarily gave up their nuclear weapons. This is a rare and significant example of nuclear disarmament. The weapons were dismantled or returned to Russia, and the three nations joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as non-nuclear states. The US Cooperative Threat Reduction assistance programme, sometimes called the Nunn-Lugar Programme (after US Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar), played a key role in this process, providing funding and technical assistance to secure and eliminate weapons of mass destruction on the territory of the former Soviet Union. Although these countries have renounced their nuclear weapons, Russia remains one of the world's two largest nuclear powers (along with the United States), and managing this legacy continues to be a major concern for international stability.

The Nunn-Lugar programme was a major bipartisan effort by the US government to help secure and dismantle weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, in the former Soviet republics. The programme eliminated thousands of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and nuclear submarines, as well as securing large quantities of nuclear materials. The task was immense. For example, Ukraine had the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world at the time, and Kazakhstan had major nuclear weapons storage and production facilities. Thanks to international aid and national efforts, these countries managed to eliminate these weapons and strengthen the security of their nuclear facilities. In addition to these efforts, several international agreements and treaties have been put in place to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and various arms control agreements between the United States and Russia.

The new nuclear powers[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The nuclear club grew after the Second World War. The first five nations to develop nuclear weapons were the United States, the Soviet Union (now Russia), the United Kingdom, France and China. These five countries are recognised as nuclear powers by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which was signed in 1968 and came into force in 1970. Since then, other countries have developed nuclear weapons, although most of them are not recognised as nuclear powers by the NPT. These include India and Pakistan, which conducted nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998 respectively, and are now widely regarded as nuclear powers. Israel is also widely suspected of possessing nuclear weapons, although it has never officially confirmed or denied this, a policy known as nuclear ambiguity. Finally, South Africa developed nuclear weapons in the 1970s and 1980s, but voluntarily dismantled its nuclear arsenal in the early 1990s, before the end of apartheid. There is also the case of North Korea, which conducted its first nuclear test in 2006 and has since pursued its nuclear programme despite international condemnation and sanctions.

Brazil, Iran and Saudi Arabia have all raised concerns over the years because of their nuclear activities. Brazil has had a civilian nuclear programme since the 1950s and also explored nuclear weapons technologies in the 1970s and 1980s. However, in the 1990s Brazil renounced the pursuit of nuclear weapons, signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and established safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure the transparency of its nuclear activities. Iran's nuclear ambitions have been a major source of tension on the international stage for many years. Iran has insisted that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, but many countries, particularly the United States and Israel, have expressed doubts about Iran's intentions. The 2015 Vienna Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was a major effort to limit Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for relief from international sanctions. However, the agreement was undermined when the US withdrew from it in 2018 under the Trump administration. Saudi Arabia, for its part, does not officially have a military nuclear programme. However, it has expressed an interest in developing nuclear energy for civilian purposes and has also publicly expressed its intention to acquire nuclear weapons if Iran did so. These statements, together with reports of Saudi cooperation with countries such as Pakistan on nuclear issues, have raised concerns about Saudi Arabia's intentions. In all these cases, it is crucial that the international community remains vigilant and works actively to promote transparency and nuclear non-proliferation.

The distinction between civil and military nuclear programmes is sometimes blurred, and some countries may seek to develop nuclear weapons under the guise of civil nuclear programmes. This is a major concern in terms of nuclear non-proliferation. Iran is a notable example. For several years, Iran has been suspected by many countries, including the United States and several of its allies, of seeking to acquire nuclear weapons. Iran's nuclear programme has raised many concerns due to its lack of transparency and its potential to support a nuclear weapons programme. In response to these concerns, the United Nations Security Council adopted several resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran in order to force the country to limit its nuclear programme and make it more transparent. This led to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which established strict limits on Iran's nuclear activities and a strengthened inspection regime by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), part of the United Nations system, plays a key role in preventing nuclear proliferation. It was established in 1957 to promote the safe and peaceful use of nuclear energy. The IAEA has several important roles. Firstly, it sets nuclear safety standards and helps countries to implement them. Secondly, it verifies that countries comply with their nuclear non-proliferation commitments under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). To this end, it carries out regular inspections of nuclear facilities. Finally, the IAEA promotes the peaceful use of nuclear energy by providing technical advice and training on nuclear energy and its applications, including electricity generation, the use of nuclear energy in medicine and agriculture, and nuclear waste management. Although the IAEA plays a vital role in promoting the safe and peaceful use of nuclear energy and preventing nuclear proliferation, its role is limited by what its Member States are willing to allow. For example, the IAEA can only inspect a country's nuclear facilities if that country has signed a safeguards agreement with the agency.

The IAEA has no coercive powers as such. It is first and foremost a monitoring and verification organisation. It is responsible for ensuring compliance with the commitments made by States in the areas of nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear safety and security, and technical cooperation. Its main tool for ensuring compliance with non-proliferation obligations is the regular inspection of Member States' nuclear facilities. These inspections are carried out by IAEA experts who examine facilities, verify documents and records, and use a variety of monitoring equipment and sampling techniques to detect suspicious activities. If the IAEA finds that a State is not in compliance with its commitments, it can report the matter to its Board of Governors, which is made up of representatives from 35 Member States. The Board can then take a series of actions, including referring the matter to the UN Security Council. The Security Council has the power to impose sanctions or take other coercive measures against a State that does not comply with its nuclear non-proliferation obligations. However, the IAEA itself cannot impose sanctions or take other coercive measures. Rather, it is a technical organisation that provides technical monitoring, verification and assistance.

The issue of traceability and dissemination of nuclear weapons is a major challenge for nuclear non-proliferation. This concerns not only the nuclear weapons themselves, but also the fissile materials (enriched uranium and plutonium) used to manufacture them. Monitoring these materials and their transfer is crucial to prevent them falling into the wrong hands. There is a range of control measures in place to monitor and trace these materials, from on-site monitoring by the IAEA to reporting and traceability mechanisms. However, these systems are not infallible and fissile materials have sometimes disappeared or been stolen. In addition, with the emergence of new technologies such as advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment, it has become technically easier for states or non-state groups to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. The other aspect of dissemination is the spread of nuclear knowledge and technology. It is increasingly difficult to control access to this information in the Internet age. This raises challenges for nuclear non-proliferation and requires continued attention from the international community to maintain effective control regimes.

Transnational terrorism: A new security challenge[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Although terrorism has existed for centuries, attention to the issue intensified after the attacks of 11 September 2001. These attacks have had a significant impact on the way terrorism is perceived and treated, particularly through the "war on terror" launched by the United States and its allies. Armed conflicts, such as the war in Afghanistan and the first Gulf War, can create favourable conditions for the spread of terrorism. Armed conflicts can foster terrorism by creating an environment of instability and violence, which can be exploited by terrorist groups to recruit members, organise attacks and obtain support. These conflicts can also generate feelings of anger and resentment towards foreign forces, which in turn can fuel support for terrorism. In addition, wars can result in the displacement of populations, the destruction of infrastructure and the destabilisation of governments, creating a power vacuum that terrorist groups may seek to fill.

These two conflicts have had a significant impact on the development of Islamist terrorism around the world. The war in Afghanistan in the 1980s played a key role in the birth of Al Qaeda. The Afghan Mujahideen, supported by the United States and other Western nations, fought against the Soviet Union in what was essentially a proxy for the Cold War. Many of these mujahideen later became members of Al Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden, who was one of many foreigners to travel to Afghanistan to support the cause. As for the Gulf War, it was perceived by some as Western aggression against the Islamic world, fuelling resentment and anti-Western sentiment in certain factions of the Islamic community. This sentiment has been used by Islamist terrorist groups to recruit new members and justify their violent actions. These conflicts have therefore been major factors contributing to the rise of Islamist terrorism in recent decades. However, it is important to remember that the majority of Muslims around the world strongly condemn terrorism and that Islamist terrorist groups represent only a tiny minority of the global Islamic community.

The war in Afghanistan[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The war in Afghanistan had a lasting impact on the region and contributed to the formation of Islamic militant groups, some of which have become major players in international terrorism. The war in Afghanistan in the 1980s was very destructive and costly in terms of human lives. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives and millions more were displaced. The war created major instability in the region, providing fertile ground for the rise of Islamic militant groups.

The Mujahideen, financed and armed by the United States and other Western countries, succeeded in repelling the Soviet invasion. However, after the Soviet withdrawal, the situation in Afghanistan remained unstable, and many of the mujahideen formed their own militant groups. One of the most notable is al-Qaeda, founded by Osama bin Laden, a former mujahedin who received military training and financial support from the United States during the war. After the war, Afghanistan was torn apart by civil war, which led to the rise of the Taliban, another militant Islamic group formed by former mujahedin. The Taliban took control of most of the country in the 1990s and imposed an extremely strict version of Islamic law.

The war in Afghanistan had many consequences, including the exhaustion of the Soviet economy, the weakening of Soviet citizens' confidence in their government and the strengthening of radical Islamism. The war in Afghanistan was a major drain on the resources of the Soviet Union, which was already weakened by internal economic problems. The massive military expenditure associated with the war has accelerated the economic collapse of the USSR. In addition, the unpopular war eroded Soviet citizens' confidence in their government, contributing to the weakening of the Communist regime. In addition, the war created an environment conducive to the development of radical Islamism. The Mujahedin, supported by the United States and other countries, succeeded in pushing back the Soviet army. However, once the war was over, many fighters found a new purpose in turning to global jihad. Among them were Osama bin Laden and other future leaders of Al Qaeda, who used the infrastructure, financial support and networks established during the war to carry out terrorist attacks around the world.

The situation in Afghanistan continued to grow more complex after the Soviet withdrawal. The Mujahideen did form the government of Afghanistan initially, but the country entered a phase of civil war due to internal divisions between the various Mujahideen groups. The Taliban, a radical Islamist group made up mainly of Pashtuns with close links to Pakistan, succeeded in taking control of Kabul in 1996 and established a brutal regime, imposing a strict interpretation of Islamic law. The Taliban offered refuge to Osama bin Laden and his group, al-Qaeda. After the al-Qaeda attacks of 11 September 2001, the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan and quickly overthrew the Taliban regime. However, they failed to stabilise the country and a Taliban insurgency broke out. The Mujahideen played different roles in this context. Some former mujahideen joined the new US-backed government, while others joined the Taliban insurgency or other militant groups. It should be noted that the term 'mujahideen' is generally used to refer to Afghan fighters who resisted the Soviet invasion, and should not be confused with militants who fought against the US invasion or the US-backed Afghan government.

The Gulf War[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Operation Desert Storm led by the United States and its allies against Iraq liberated Kuwait in a matter of weeks, but it also caused extensive civilian and infrastructural damage in Iraq. Moreover, despite their military defeat, Saddam Hussein and his regime remained in power in Iraq, leading to a decade of international isolation and economic sanctions against the country.

The US deployed an impressive array of advanced military technologies, including stealth aircraft, cruise missiles, satellite reconnaissance systems and precision-guided weapons. These technologies enabled the US-led coalition to conduct a highly effective air campaign, which destroyed much of Iraq's military capability in a matter of weeks. However, the intensive bombing also caused extensive damage to Iraq's civilian infrastructure, including water, electricity and transport networks, as well as schools, hospitals and housing. This destruction caused considerable suffering to the Iraqi population, both during the war and in the years that followed, when Iraq was subjected to a regime of strict economic sanctions. Despite their technological success, US forces and their allies were unable to completely eliminate Iraq's military capabilities, and Saddam Hussein was able to remain in power until the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

This war also had important political and social consequences. It reinforced the strategic importance of the Middle East for the United States and its allies, due to its role in the global oil supply. At the same time, it exacerbated tensions between the West and part of the Muslim world, due to the presence of foreign forces in the region and US support for authoritarian regimes. The war has also had an impact on the Iraqi people, who have suffered the consequences of bombing and economic sanctions. Living conditions in Iraq deteriorated, with an increase in poverty, malnutrition and disease.

Following the 1991 Gulf War, the United Nations Security Council imposed severe economic sanctions against Iraq under Resolution 661. This embargo covered a wide range of goods, including medical supplies and many staple foods, with a disastrous impact on the Iraqi civilian population. Reports from international organisations and NGOs in the decade since the embargo was imposed have highlighted the devastating effects of these sanctions. They led to an acute shortage of food, drinking water and medicines, contributing to high rates of malnutrition, disease and mortality, particularly among children. In response to the humanitarian crisis, the United Nations set up the "Oil for Food" programme in 1995, which allowed Iraq to sell oil on world markets in exchange for food, medicines and other humanitarian goods. However, even this programme has been criticised for its inadequacy and mismanagement. Sanctions against Iraq were not lifted until 2003, after the invasion of Iraq by a US-led coalition and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The sanctions period left a legacy of poverty, disease and despair that affected Iraqi society for many years afterwards.

The 1991 Gulf War and the US military presence in Saudi Arabia contributed to the rise of anti-American sentiment and Islamist terrorism. This fuelled the ideology of organisations such as al-Qaeda. Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qa'ida, was particularly angry with Saudi Arabia for allowing US forces to be stationed on Saudi soil - the land where Islam's two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina, are located. In his view, this constituted an unfaithful occupation of sacred Islamic soil, and a betrayal by the Saudi rulers. These factors, together with other grievances, fuelled Islamist militancy and contributed to the radicalisation of certain individuals, ultimately leading to the attacks of 11 September 2001 and other acts of terrorism in the years that followed. In addition, the aftermath of the Gulf War and the resulting regional instability created conditions conducive to the rise and spread of violent extremism in the region.

The emergence of the Al-Qaeda threat[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 was one of the first major examples of Islamist terrorism on American soil. This bomb attack, carried out by a group of radical terrorists, used a truck bomb placed in the underground car park of the World Trade Center in New York. The toll was high, with six people killed and more than a thousand injured. This act was a harbinger of the terrorist threat to come. Later, in 1998, we witnessed coordinated attacks by Al Qaeda on the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The toll of these attacks was even more tragic, with over 200 people killed and thousands more injured. These attacks helped to make the world aware of the growing threat posed by al-Qa'ida. In 2002, the world was once again shaken by the Bali bombings. Carried out by the Jemaah Islamiyah group, affiliated to al-Qa'ida, these bombings in tourist resorts killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, and injured more than 200 others. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Indonesia's history. These acts of violence marked an escalation in the audacity and scope of international terrorist attacks. Each of these events, culminating in the attacks of 11 September 2001, had a profound impact on the global perception of the terrorist threat. They led to major changes in national and international security policies in response to a growing and increasingly complex threat.

The question of Muslim countries' loyalty to the United States is undeniably complex, not least because of the diversity of diplomatic relations and historical contexts. Pakistan, for example, illustrates this complexity. The country is considered an important ally of the United States in the fight against terrorism. However, it has been accused on several occasions of supporting terrorist groups, underlining an ambivalence based on economic and geopolitical interests and strategic alliances. Muslim countries' perceptions of the United States are also shaped by the recent history of American military intervention in the region. Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, have given rise to feelings of mistrust and hostility towards the United States. The impression often given is of a foreign superpower imposing its will on the region. This has contributed to the emergence of radical movements that reject Western influence and values.

Saudi Arabia has been a major strategic ally of the United States since the Second World War. This alliance has been built mainly around security and energy. On the one hand, the United States has supported Saudi Arabia in protecting the kingdom from external threats, a commitment that was highlighted during the Gulf War in 1991. On the other, Saudi Arabia, with its colossal oil reserves, has been an essential source of oil supplies for the United States, reinforcing its role as a major player in the global economy. However, this alliance also has its dark side. The deeply conservative Saudi political system is often criticised for its lack of respect for human rights. Moreover, Saudi Arabia is the cradle of Wahhabi Islam, a rigorous and puritanical interpretation of Islam. Although the Saudi government is committed to the fight against terrorism, this form of Islam is often cited as a source of inspiration for many radical Islamist movements. This paradox makes Saudi Arabia a complex ally for the United States.

Osama bin Laden has become one of the most recognisable faces of global terrorism, largely due to his role in orchestrating the attacks of 11 September 2001. Born into a wealthy Saudi family, he emerged on the international scene in the 1980s, when he joined the jihad against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He provided significant financial and logistical support to the Afghan Mujahideen, consolidating his position as a leader among the jihadist groups. Returning to Saudi Arabia after the war, Bin Laden became increasingly vocal in his disapproval of the Saudi government, which he saw as corrupt and excessively aligned with US interests. After his expulsion from Saudi Arabia in 1991, he moved to Sudan where he formed al-Qa'ida, an organisation aimed at countering the influence of the United States and its allies in the Muslim world. Under Bin Laden's leadership, Al Qaeda orchestrated a series of deadly attacks, including the bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998 and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. However, it was the attack of 11 September 2001 that propelled al-Qa'ida onto the world stage, leading to an American military response in Afghanistan and a tightening of anti-terrorism policy around the world.

The global war on terror[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Al Qaeda's vision goes far beyond national or regional borders. The group has ambitions that embrace the whole world, and aims to overthrow what it perceives as corrupt, US-backed regimes, with the ultimate intention of establishing a global caliphate under sharia, Islamic law. This ideology is rooted in a radical interpretation of Islam that legitimises the use of violence as a means of achieving these goals. In Al Qaeda's worldview, terrorist attacks are seen not only as a legitimate means, but also as a religious imperative in the fight against what they call Western 'crusaders' and their allies. This ideology has been the driving force behind a series of terrorist attacks perpetrated by the group and its affiliates over the past two decades.

After the devastating attacks of 11 September 2001, the fight against terrorism became a central concern for the international community. The United States responded with what it called the "war on terror", which led to military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the same time, many countries have tightened their legislation on terrorism and increased intelligence cooperation to better identify and counter terrorist threats. Unfortunately, terrorist attacks have not diminished, but have spread to different regions of the world, while new terrorist organisations have emerged. Among the most notable is the Islamic State (EI), which emerged in Syria and Iraq, capturing large areas of these countries and implementing an extremely brutal version of Islamic law.

The death of Osama bin Laden in 2011 dealt a severe blow to al-Qa'ida and weakened its global influence. However, the terrorist organisation has evolved since its inception, giving rise to new branches and factions in different countries, including Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQPA) and Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). As far as the Arab revolutions are concerned, Al-Qaida's message did not resonate with the majority of the popular movements that toppled several authoritarian regimes in the region. The demonstrators were primarily calling for more democracy, freedom and social justice, rather than the establishment of a radical Islamic state. This does not mean that terrorism has disappeared from the region; extremist groups continue to carry out violent attacks in some countries.

Despite the blows dealt in recent years, the Al-Qaida network remains active. It has fragmented into several distinct branches, including Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQPA), Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and Al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQSI). These entities have their own objectives and areas of action, but they share a common ideology and use the same terrorist methods. Other Islamist terrorist groups have also emerged in recent years. These include the Islamic State (EI), which has overtaken Al-Qaeda as the world's leading terrorist group, and Boko Haram in West Africa. Mali is one of the countries affected by the presence of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and affiliated groups. In 2012, these groups took control of certain regions in the north of the country. Although French and African forces have managed to repel these groups, some remain active in the region and continue to attack security forces and civilians.

Although media and political attention has shifted slightly to other issues in recent years, terrorism remains a major concern in international relations. Terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qa'ida continue to carry out attacks in various countries, claiming innocent lives and generating tensions between nations. Moreover, the terrorist threat continues to evolve. New forms of terrorism, such as cyber-terrorism and eco-terrorism, are emerging. As a result, the fight against terrorism remains a top priority for states and international organisations.

The Arab world on the move: from the Arab Spring to its contemporary consequences[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The geopolitical consequences of the Arab Spring[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The Arab Spring has played a significant role in reshaping international relations, calling into question some of the policies adopted by the major powers in the Middle East. These revolutions revealed the democratic aspirations of local populations and their rejection of authoritarian regimes, often supported by foreign powers. In several countries in the region, such as Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, the events led to major transformations. These upheavals have also highlighted the differences between regional and international powers in their approach to events. Dissent centred on whether to support the protest movements or to keep the existing regimes in place. The tensions between the major powers were particularly palpable during the Arab Spring, especially in Syria. This example demonstrates the extent to which the Arab revolutions have had repercussions not only on regional politics, but also on global geopolitics.

Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria was faced with a popular uprising that was brutally suppressed. This led to a variety of international responses. Russia and China vetoed several United Nations Security Council resolutions condemning the repression in Syria and calling for a peaceful political transition. On the other hand, the United States and its Western allies gave limited support to Syrian opposition groups, while calling for Assad's departure. The Arab Spring also exacerbated the divisions between the United States and Iran, particularly with regard to the situations in Syria and Yemen. The two nations have supported opposing sides in these conflicts, fuelling regional tensions. In addition, differences between the United States and its traditional allies in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, came to the fore during this period. The United States has tried to maintain a balanced position between the various regional players, a stance that has been a source of frustration for some of its traditional allies. The latter would have liked the United States to adopt a more decisive stance against its regional adversaries.

The Arab Spring represented a period of major change and questioning for the Middle East region. Popular movements and uprisings in various Arab countries challenged the established order and demanded greater freedom, democracy and social justice. Faced with these upheavals, the major powers have had to navigate a new political and social landscape. Authoritarian regimes, often supported by the West, found themselves weakened or even overthrown, making way for new political players. The consequences of these uprisings have been complex and have sometimes led to chaotic situations. Some democratic transitions have met with obstacles, while others have triggered civil wars or led to a return to authoritarian regimes. The role of Islamist groups in these protest movements has been a key issue. Some Islamist parties, as in Tunisia, succeeded in seizing power peacefully, while others were accused of trying to co-opt the revolution for their own benefit or even of betraying it. The Arab Spring thus marked a significant break with the previous political and geopolitical order in the region. It has also raised new questions and challenges for international actors.

The challenges of the Arab Spring[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The Arab Spring was a popular protest movement calling for political, economic and social reforms in various countries across the Arab world. The uprisings, which began in 2010 and 2011, highlighted the desire of many Arab citizens to live in more democratic societies, where fundamental rights and freedoms would be respected and participation in political and economic life would be broader and fairer. However, the results of these movements have been diverse, varying greatly from country to country. Some countries have seen more or less successful democratic transitions, while others have sunk into chaos and civil war. The Arab Spring has thus given rise to contrasting realities, between hope for democratisation and political and social instability.

The Arab Spring has introduced new complexities into our understanding of international relations and the political dynamics of the Middle East and North Africa. The popular uprisings that marked these movements were characterised by their spontaneity and lack of formal leadership, which challenged traditional patterns of international politics based on interactions between structured state or non-state entities. What's more, the Arab Spring illustrated very clearly people's demand for more inclusive and democratic participation in political life, as well as the need for far-reaching socio-economic reforms. The demands were not limited to regime change, but also encompassed broader demands relating to employment, corruption, social justice and equal opportunities. This posed a challenge to the major powers, as these movements showed that traditional categories of understanding international relations are insufficient to understand and respond to the complex and rapidly changing dynamics of the region. The Arab Spring has thus underlined the need to rethink and adapt traditional approaches to diplomacy and international relations to respond to the new realities of global politics.

The influence of Cold War geopolitics[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Although the Cold War is officially over, its echoes continue to resonate in international politics today. Tensions between the United States and Russia, for example, remain high, whether through regional geopolitical conflicts in Ukraine, Syria or elsewhere, or in the area of cyber security and interference in democratic processes. The rise of China as a global power has also brought a new dynamism to international relations, with a direct challenge to American hegemony. China is now a force to be reckoned with on the international stage, generating tensions, as in the South China Sea, and leading to a reconfiguration of alliances and balances of power. The rise of populist and nationalist movements in many Western countries has also introduced new dynamics. These movements can call into question existing institutions and alliances, and can sometimes align themselves with the interests of some of the former Cold War powers. So, although the world has changed a great deal since the end of the Cold War, some of the fault lines and tensions of that era persist, albeit modified and reinterpreted in the light of the new challenges and dynamics of the 21st century.

The situation in the Middle East is marked by several interconnected conflicts and tensions, involving a multitude of both regional and international players. Iran has emerged as a key regional power. Tehran has extended its influence by supporting non-state actors such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and several Shia militias in Iraq. Iran has also supported Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria throughout the civil war, providing crucial military and economic aid. The war in Syria is another major factor in the complexity of the region. What began as a popular uprising against the Assad regime quickly became a protracted and devastating civil war involving many actors. Countries in the region such as Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel have all played a part in the conflict, as have international players such as the United States, Russia and the European Union. The emergence of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria has also had a significant impact, not only because of its brutal activities and terrorist attacks, but also because of the international response to its rise. The military campaign to defeat the EI involved an international coalition and had significant implications for the region. Finally, we must not forget the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which remains a central issue despite its longevity, and continues to affect relations between countries in the region.

Bashar al-Assad's regime has been able to survive in the face of rebellion and international pressure largely thanks to the support of foreign powers, in particular Russia, Iran and, to a lesser extent, China. Russia has been the most direct and important supporter of the Syrian regime. As early as 2015, Russia began a military intervention in Syria, supporting government forces with airstrikes, troops and equipment. Russia's support was crucial in turning the tide of the war in favour of the Assad regime. Iran has also played a significant role in supporting the Assad regime. Tehran has provided financial aid, military advisers and fighting forces, notably through allied militias such as the Lebanese Hezbollah. Iran regards Syria as a crucial ally in maintaining its sphere of influence in the Middle East. China, for its part, has been less directly involved on the ground in Syria, but has nevertheless played an important role in supporting the Assad regime on the international stage. At the UN Security Council, China has on several occasions used its veto power to block resolutions that would otherwise have imposed sanctions on Syria or paved the way for international military intervention. These three countries have played a crucial role in enabling Assad to maintain his grip on power in Syria, despite the civil war and international condemnation.

The Arab League[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The Arab League has taken notable action against Bashar al-Assad's regime in response to its violent suppression of the revolt in Syria. In November 2011, the League suspended Syria, a decision that was seen at the time as a strong signal given that the League has traditionally avoided interfering in the internal affairs of its member states. The Arab League has taken unprecedented steps in response to the Syrian crisis, reflecting the scale of the violence and deep regional concerns about stability in the Middle East. However, these efforts have not succeeded in ending the violence or achieving a lasting political solution in Syria. This reflects both the complexity of the Syrian conflict and the limitations of the Arab League as a regional organisation.

The war in Syria is a complex conflict involving many internal and external actors with diverging interests. The internal divisions within the Arab League, particularly between the Gulf States and countries such as Algeria and Iraq, have made it difficult to implement a unified and effective position. In addition, the Arab League has also faced opposition from outside powers such as Russia and Iran, which have given significant support to the Assad regime. The Arab League's influence is also limited by its own institutional constraints. Although the organisation has been able to take measures such as suspending Syria, it has few means of enforcing its decisions or intervening effectively in conflicts. Moreover, the League has generally avoided interfering in the internal affairs of its member states, which limits its ability to respond to crises such as the one in Syria.

The role of Turkey[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

Turkey has played an increasingly active role in regional affairs in recent years. This has been partly due to the assertive foreign policy of its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has sought to increase Turkey's influence in the Middle East and beyond. One of the most controversial aspects of this policy has been Turkey's intervention in the Syrian conflict.

Turkey's intervention in Syria has been highly controversial. Ankara has played an important role in supporting various rebel groups opposed to the Assad regime, while also seeking to contain the expansion of Kurdish forces in northern Syria. The latter, linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is waging an insurrection on Turkish soil, are regarded by Ankara as a terrorist threat. In particular, Turkish military operations in Afrin and north-eastern Syria have raised many humanitarian and geopolitical concerns. From Turkey's point of view, these operations are aimed at creating a "security zone" along its border and countering what it perceives as a terrorist threat. However, these interventions have been criticised by many international players, notably Russia and Iran, which support the Assad regime, but also by Western countries that support Kurdish forces in their fight against the Islamic State. These operations have also raised questions about respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, particularly with regard to the displacement of civilians and the management of Islamic State prisoners. In this complex and charged context, Turkey continues to seek to navigate between its national security interests, its international relations and its position in the Syrian conflict.

Libya has become another theatre of geopolitical confrontation with a range of international and regional actors supporting different factions in the conflict. Turkey, in particular, has played an active role in supporting the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli. Turkish military support, which included drones, military advisers and Syrian mercenaries, was essential in helping the GAN repel a major offensive launched by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Russia and others. Turkey's support for GAN is part of a wider strategy to strengthen its influence in the eastern Mediterranean and secure rights to important natural gas resources in the region. It has also created tensions with other regional players and contributed to the complexity of the Libyan conflict.

Turkey has sought to develop its relations with many countries and regions of the world as part of its foreign policy. It has particularly strengthened its relations with Africa, whether economically, diplomatically or culturally. Turkey has also sought to play a more active role in Asia, including Central Asia where it shares cultural and linguistic links. That said, Turkey's foreign policy has also faced many challenges. It has sometimes been criticised for its assertive and unilateral approach on certain issues, which has created tensions with other countries. In addition, its military interventions in Syria and Libya, as well as its policy towards the Kurds, have given rise to controversy. The domestic political situation in Turkey also has an impact on its foreign policy. For example, internal political tensions, repression of dissent and human rights concerns have affected Turkey's relations with the European Union and other partners. So while Turkey aspires to play a greater role on the international stage, it also faces considerable challenges. How it tackles these challenges and future developments in the region and the world at large will have a significant impact on the direction of its foreign policy.

The influence of the United States[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

The United States' influence in the Middle East has evolved over time. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq marked an important turning point, with a high cost in terms of human lives, financial expenditure and political capital. They also raised questions about the effectiveness of direct military intervention as a foreign policy strategy.

The Obama administration sought to achieve what it called a "pivot to Asia", recognising the growing importance of the Asia-Pacific on the international stage. This pivot was supposed to be reflected in an increase in the diplomatic, economic and military resources devoted to the region. The aim was to balance the growing influence of China and to ensure the security and prosperity of the United States in the context of growing global economic interdependence. However, crises in the Middle East continued to attract US attention and resources. The Syrian conflict, the rise of the Islamic State, and tensions with Iran all required significant attention. These crises have shown how difficult it can be for a country, even a superpower like the United States, to completely reorientate its foreign policy. As a result, although the Obama administration has made efforts to redirect US resources to the Asia-Pacific, the reality of security challenges in the Middle East has hampered these efforts. The 'pivot to Asia' has taken place, but perhaps not as fully or as quickly as initially planned.

Under the Trump administration, the US has continued to reassess its role in the Middle East. One of the administration's stated aims was to reduce the US military presence in the region, which was reflected in troop withdrawals in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, these decisions drew criticism. Some analysts have warned that the withdrawal could create a power vacuum that could be exploited by terrorist groups. They have also expressed concern that the withdrawals were hasty and lacked a clear strategy for maintaining stability after the departure of US troops. As for the normalisation agreements, known as the Abraham Accords, they marked an important stage in the development of relations between Israel and several Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. However, these agreements have also been criticised for sidestepping the Palestinian question, a major source of conflict in the region. Ultimately, the challenge for the United States - and for any power involved in the region - is to navigate a complex environment with many players with diverging interests. This requires nuanced diplomacy and a deep understanding of regional dynamics.

Despite policy changes and attempts to withdraw, the United States remains a key player in the Middle East. The country maintains strong strategic alliances in the region, notably with Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and continues to exert significant influence on a number of regional issues. That said, the United States faces a changing regional landscape. The rise of Iran, the protracted conflict in Syria, internal tensions in countries such as Iraq and Lebanon, the Palestinian question, and the emergence of external powers such as Russia and China, all complicate the role of the United States in the region. In addition, it is important to stress that US domestic policy also has an impact on its foreign policy. Questions of military spending, involvement in foreign conflicts and the role of the United States on the world stage are subjects of political debate in the United States.

Annexes[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

References[modifier | modifier le wikicode]

  1. Page personnelle de Ludovic Tournès sur le site de l'Université de Genève
  2. Publications de Ludovic Tournès | Cairn.info
  3. CV de Ludovic Tournès sur le site de l'Université de la Sorbonne
  4. Il s'agit d'un terme politique, prononcé en 1999 par le ministre des Affaires étrangères français Hubert Védrine au sujet des États-Unis de la fin du xxe siècle