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Small pearls from the last week (29 September 2013)

(This article is not available in English.)
29 septembre, 2013
New Brief
Hajnalka Vincze
Le Royaume-Uni
Hard-up RAF flies second-hand spy planes in US coloursL'ultime plaisanterie: les anciens-nouveaux avions d'espionnage britanniques voleront sous les couleurs de l'US Air Force. Après l'affaire Snowden qui a mis en évidence à quel point les renseignements électroniques de Sa Majesté fonctionnent, dans la pratique, comme une filiale financée et dirigée par l'Amérique, il fallait le faire. A quand le remplacement de "Union Jack" par "Stars and Stripes", pour réaliser des économies d'échelle?
"The RAF’s three RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft will sport a white top, black nose and grey underside — the same colour scheme as the 17 flown by the US air force (USAF). Flying in another air force’s colours is likely to prove another embarrassing symbol of the UK’s reliance on its US ally”. (The Sunday Times, 22 septembre 2013)
Joint Strike Fighter F-35
Turkey Could Face Huge Fighter BillPartout où il passe (ou plutôt: où il est envisagé de passer), le JSF phagocyte déjà les budgets normalement alloués à développer-produire-acquérir-maintenir des capacités réelles, effectivement contrôlées par le pays qui les achète.
"They said Turkey could face a US $50 billion bill in the next few decades if it decides to go ahead with now maturing plans to build an indigenous fighter jet and order scores of the US-led, multinational F-35 joint strike fighter in a parallel move.The [local] fighter program has not yet won the final green light from the government, but if it does, Turkish budget planners will have to sit down and find ways to finance both this ambition and the JSF program”. Evidemment, si Ankara tient à ce que ce soient des JSF/F-35, faire les deux en parallèle serait un peu comme la quadrature du cercle.
(Defense News, 22 septembre 2013)
5th-Generation Fighter, 1st-Generation Tires? "Lockheed Martin Corp. bills the F-35 as the pinnacle of more than five decades of fighter-jet development, with the latest in stealth technology, supersonic speed, extreme agility and the most powerful sensor package available. But someone apparently forgot to kick the tires."

"Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, who oversees the Defense Department’s Joint Strike Fighter program, this week said some parts of the plane break down too frequently. When a reporter asked for examples, Bogdan cited a seemingly mundane component: the tires. Those tires today are coming off the airplane way, way, way too frequently,” Bogdan said Sept. 17 at the Air Force Association’s annual Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition at National Harbor, Md."
 (Brendan McGarry,5th-Generation Fighter, 1st-Generation Tires?,, 19 septembre 2013)

US moves drone fleet from Camp Lemonnier to remote airstrip. Prolifération des drones US: bientôt ils n'auront même plus besoin de tirer des missiles pour faire des dommages collatéraux. "The concerns about drone safety present a strategic challenge for the Pentagon as it begins to shift more of the robot planes to new frontiers, where they must share congested airspace with commercial aircraft."
"Last year, the Pentagon was forced to suspend drone operations in Seychelles, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, after two Reaper drones crashed on the runway at the main international airport, which serves half a million passengers a year. The overseas accidents could have repercussions in the United States, where the military and the drone industry are pressing the federal government to open up the skies to remote-controlled aircraft."
Et pour clore, un dernier aspect: "In a separate interview, a diplomat from a Middle Eastern country cited rising concern that the civilian side of the Djibouti airport might be targeted by militants looking to retaliate against U.S. drone operations. Regional tensions have risen as the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command has carried out dozens of strikes against al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Yemen."
“Once you have military installations in civilian facilities, that civilian facility and the public become endangered,” the diplomat said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss U.S. drone strategy in the region.” (Craig Whitlock - Greg Miller, US moves drone fleet from Camp Lemonnier to remote airstrip, Stars and Stripes, 25 septembre 2013)
Relations transatlantiques
Geopolitical Journey: The U.S.-European Relationship, Then and Now.  Un institut/société et un auteur qui ont leur propre agenda bien connu (voir "Stratforgate: WikiLeaks releases ‘shadow CIA’ mail"), mais les observations n'en sont que plus instructives. "It is Europe, taken as a whole, that is the competitor for the United States. Its economy is still slightly larger than the United States', and its military is weak, though unlike Russia this is partly by design."
"I've talked about the fragmentation of Europe. Nothing is more striking than the foreign policy split between France and Germany not only on Syria but on Mali and Libya as well. One of the central drivers behind the creation of the European Union and its post-war precursors was the need bind France and Germany economically. French and German divergence was the root of European wars. It had to be avoided at all costs.Yet that divergence has returned."
"Whenever I visit Europe -- and I was born in Europe -- I am struck by how profoundly different the two places are. I am also struck at how the United States is disliked and held in contempt by Europeans. I am also struck at how little Americans notice or care.”
"There is talk of the transatlantic relationship. It is not gone, nor even frayed. Europeans come to the United States and Americans go to Europe and both take pleasure in the other. But the connection is thin. Where once we made wars together, we now take vacations. It is hard to build a Syria policy on that framework, let alone a North Atlantic strategy." (George Friedman: Geopolitical Journey: The U.S.-European Relationship, Then and Now | Stratfor, 24 septembre 2013).
Petit historique des projets d' « Union atlantique »"Indeed, the congressional record is peppered with resolutions and hearings from the late 1940s to the 1970s pushing for Atlantic Union. For example, in 1971, the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives convened a hearing to discuss the prospect of combining the United States of America and Western Europe into one country. This “Atlantic Union” would be a federal union, very similar to the the one described in United States Constitution. Existing countries would become states under a federalist system, with the larger federal system having its own currency, military, interstate commerce regulation and foreign relations apparatus."
"Streit never achieved his goal of having a formal “Atlantic Union.”  But with an international “intelligence community,” globalized supply chains, increasingly global free trade agreements that subordinate national court systems, and globalized private and central banks, all couched under the rubric of promoting “freedom,” he has as much claim to being the true animating force behind what we’re facing today as anyone else." (Matt Stoller, Elites' strange plot to take over the world, Salon, 20 septembre 2013).
Industries d’armement
European defense industry’s decreasing competitiveness. "Less State commitment would result into freedom for major industries to decide on their own according to the market, rather than to political considerations" Pour l'auteur, c'est une bonne chose. Pour les nations, c'en est moins.
"Programs such as the F-35 and the new NATO missile shield, based on the SM-2/SM-3 missile system, seem to drain further European resources towards investments which favor the U.S. industrial base rather than the European one, which is already threatened by the outcomes of the economic depression".C'est justement leur raison d'être principale, à ces programmes. La crise économique ne fait qu'accélérer le plan. (Marco Giulio Barone, European defense industry’s decreasing competitiveness, International Security Observer, 6 septembre 2013).
Forces spéciales
Nouveau rapport: U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF). Les forces spéciales, l’instrument de prédilection de l’administration Obama (opérant hors les cadres établis, sinon dans le secret le plus total, elles froissent moins les susceptibilités, permettent d’affirmer une chose et faire son contraire, se moquer des règles aussi aisément que des frontières), veulent s’autonomiser encore davantage.
Triplées en budgets /effectifs/ déploiements depuis le 11 septembre 2001, l’USSOCOM (commandement des opérations spéciales) est devenu, selon son ex-patron, un « microcosme » (comprenons : un univers complet en soi) du Département de la défense des USA. Aujourd’hui, l’USSOCOM souhaite voir ses responsabilités élargies au déploiement et à l’emploi effectif des forces spéciales, avec le feu vert des seuls commandants régionaux. Sans attendre donc celui du centre à Washington. Meilleure recette pour accroître toujours davantage l’irresponsabilité et le chaos.
Une des raisons invoquées : l’USSOCOM pourrait ainsi faciliter ses relations avec des armées étrangères. En réalité, il s’agit de la construction, déjà en marche, d’un réseau global de forces spéciales, avec l’USSOCOM au gouvernail et l’Etat-major des opérations spéciales de l’OTAN (NSHQ)comme laboratoire. Pour le secrétaire général Rasmussen, il s’agit de la clé de l’avenir : les forces spéciales sont, avec la cyberdéfense et le système antimissile, l’une des composantes de la nouvelle triade stratégique. Inutile de préciser que le personnel du NSHQ de l’Alliance est majoritairement américain, et que son patron est directement nommé par le président des Etats-Unis.
(Andrew Feickert, U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service, 18 septembre 2013)

Supériorité américaine
Démystification de la supériorité aérienne US. Avec de précieux retours en arrière pour voir de plus près la performance de l'USAF lors des conflits du dernier siècle. Culmine par l'examen du F-22 Raptor, illustration jusqu'à l'absurde des graves dysfonctionnement du système. En cela, digne précurseur du F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
"The service’s most expensive fighter aircraft, the F-22 Raptor, has never flown a single combat mission.  According to the Government Accountability Office, the total price tag for the Raptor comes in at more than $80 billion (a lot of money until you consider that the Pentagon’s more recent aircraft procurement program, the F-35 Lightning II, is expected to cost $392 billion to acquire, according to current estimates)."
"At almost $420 million a plane, American taxpayers might expect that F-22 pilots have a tremendous advantage over our allies or potential adversaries whose fighter jets cost a fraction of the F-22’s price tag."  
"While Air Force officials maintain that the F-22 fights well in training exercises, a report published last year in Combat Aircraft Monthly showed that the Raptor did not out-perform cheaper, non-stealthy European fighter aircraft during combat training exercises."
Et un (autre) petit cocorico pour la fin: en évoquant un exercice entre alliés en 1966, l'auteur observe que "Things did not go well for the Americans during this exercise with France, the country that enabled the US to win the Revolutionary War and to survive the War of 1812. Actually, not well is quite an understatement. The French pilots simply outflew the Americans time and time again. In fact, right from the start, clever and skilled French pilots brutally disproved the American theory that the French cannot fight."
"The French aircraft were all older models, some dating back to the Korean War era, whilst the Americans flew the much newer and more powerful F-4 Phantom. The rules of engagement specified that visual identification was required before attacking hostile aircraft, which obviously limited the use of the Phantom's radar-guided AIM-7 Sparrow missiles. The rationale for this rule was to prevent fratricide. In other words, pilots had to make visual contact before engaging a target to minimize the possibility of a “blue-on-blue” incident. This was an eminently reasonable precaution, but keep in mind that the dogma in the USN and the USAF at the time was that beyond visual range missiles had made dogfighting obsolete. The French felt otherwise, and as we'll see later, for good reason."
"As F-4 pilot Lieutenant Junior Grade John Monroe “Hawk” Smith put it 'The French decimated our jets then bolted out of the area before we could launch." The French were able to do this because, thinking tactically, they had been monitoring the movements of the American forces and found it all too easy to  predict when they should strike.“As the exercise progressed,” wrote Auten, “... and the number of engagements increased, it became clear that America's aircrews were usually outmaneuvered and outclassed by the French.”The French, unlike the Americans, still knew how to dogfight. "
Pour rappel: une récente entrée sur l'USAF "à l'abri des attaques et libre d'attaquer"
La France
Quelle France dans 10 ans ? Débat avec des think tanks. Par moments, le débat fait penser à ce poème de Bertolt Brecht: «J'apprends que le gouvernement estime que le peuple a "trahi la confiance du régime" et "devra travailler dur pour regagner la confiance des autorités". Dans ce cas, ne serait-il pas plus simple pour le gouvernement de dissoudre le peuple et d'en élire un autre ? » (Bertolt Brecht, La Solution)
Dominique Reynié (directeur général de la Fondation pour l'innovation politique), voudrait revenir sur l'élection du président de la République au suffrage universel. En période de crise, il lui paraît trop risqué de donner le vote direct aux citoyens... Si la génération actuelle des politiques n'est pas à la hauteur, c'est sûrement la faute à la Ve République. Vite, il faut donc passer à la sixième (ça éviterait de se regarder dans le miroir et de s'attaquer aux vrais problèmes). Quitte à «dissoudre le peuple», comme dirait Bertolt Brecht.


politique américaine, royaume-uni, forces spéciales, politique en france, relations transatlantiques, drones, armement, joint strike fighter/f-35

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