The Impact of Institutions on Foreign Policy Think-Tanks in France and Denmark

I published with my colleague Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen a piece in The International Spectator comparing the French and Danish think-tanks. The article is available here and can be downloaded here. I reproduce the abstract below.

Even though France is an active player on the world stage, its foreign and security think tank milieu is smaller than that of similar powers, most notably the United Kingdom. Comparing French think tanks with those in Denmark illustrates how French institutional structures constrain think tank activities. France’s political tradition of centralisation, its non-academic civil service education, and separation of academia and administration create an environment in which think tanks are underfunded and walk a fine line between an over-controlling administration and a suspicious academia. Some French think tanks perform well in spite of these structures, which indicates that they could flourish and compete at the highest international level if given better structural conditions.

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The Causes, Character and Conduct of Internal Armed Conflict, and the Effects on Civilian Populations

I published a book chapter co-authored with Theo Farrell on the evolution of the character of internal armed conflicts, and the consequences for people fleeing mass violences (refugees and internally displaced people).
The chapter is the analytical foundation for discussions on the legal instruments of civilian protection, and potential rooms for improvement and updates.

The project was supported by the UNHCR.

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Studying France’s defence policy

I published two articles in the Journal of Strategic Studies on France’s defence policy. They are part of a special issue on France in the transatlantic security order I guest-edited, and which includes articles from Alice Pannier (US-UK-France relations), Stephanie Hofmann (French party politics and policies towards NATO), Olivier Chopin (intelligence reform), Nicolas Giacometti (nuclear policy) and Élie Tenenbaum (irregular warfare).

Below are the abstracts and the links to the two articles, available in open access thanks to the SDU library.

 

“The Reluctant Atlanticist: France’s Security and Defence Policy in a Transatlantic Context” (link) (pdf)

This article introduces the key tenets of French foreign and security policy during the Cold War, and illustrates the deep challenges to the French consensus raised by the emergence of a unipolar system. There is a growing gap between the rhetoric of French security policy, emphasizing ‘autonomy’ and ‘sovereignty’ out of habit from the Cold War, and the actual security practices showing a gradual embedding within the transatlantic security structures. In the absence of a new transpartisan grand narrative relevant for the contemporary international system, such embedding is easily portrayed in France as a ‘treason’ from a romanticized Gaullist foreign policy.

 

“French Military Adaptation in the Afghan War: Looking Inward or Outward?” (link) (pdf)

For some, a specific feature of the French armed forces’ adaptation process would be the capacity to look inward instead of outward in order to identify relevant solutions to tactical/doctrinal problems. This article questions such a narrative, and argues that the French armed forces are as quick as any to borrow from other countries’ experiences. In order to do so, this article introduces the concept of ‘selective emulation’, and compares the French and German military adaptation processes in Afghanistan. The article argues that there is indeed something distinctive about French military adaptation, but it is not what the fiercest defenders of the French ‘exceptionalism’ usually account for.

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International Sanctions

I published a chapter on international sanctions in the second edition of the Routledge Handbook of Security Studies, edited by Thierry Balzacq and Myriam Dunn Calvety, in which I survey the academic literature.

The handbook is available both as hardback and as ebook. You can download a pre-proofed version of the chapter here.

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Conspiracy theories in contemporary Russia

My latest article (in French), co-authored with Stéphane François, has been published by Diogène (the social sciences journal founded by Roger Caillois and supported by the UNESCO).

It is about conspiracy theories in contemporary Russia, and is part of a special issue on conspiracy theories.

You can find it online or in PDF.

Diogène

The French far-right and the world : an ‘alternative’ view of international relations

I published with my colleague Stéphane François an article on the French far-right view of the world (in French) in the sociology journal Interrogations.

I reproduce the abstract below, and the article can be read here (ungated)

The various groups composing the French far-right share a specific vision of international relations, based on anti-imperialism (justifying anti-americanism) and a « geopolitical » and totalising understanding of international life, according to which « everything is connected ». In this article, we establish the genealogy of this analytical grid, and illustrate some of its expressions, notably the anti-materialism of the far-right, its rejection of Human Rights and its ambiguities towards islam. This frame of reference is useful in order to understand the statements of the Front National (and other far-right movements) on recent international events such as the Ukrainian or Syrian crises.

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