The Last Moonshiners of European Defence, or how solitary military operations will very soon belong to history
Drifting on the web is one of my favorite games. Today, I would like to deal with those I would like to name the last Moonshiners of European Defence.
How is it the hell possible to draw a parallel between the late Popcorn Sutton, a renowned Appalachian moonshiner, and European powers?
Let me tell you!
First of all, as less than a quarter of my readers are Americans, here are some details on the Appalachian moonshiners. Those guys have been illegally making liquor for generations and belong to the American traditions. One of them, a iconic figure was named John 'Popcorn' Sutton, and he will be at the centre of this post. In the documentary that you can see here below, this 62 years old man, riding an Ford-T pick-up states:
This is exactly what countries like France are thinking, almost ready to say, in a parody of Popcorn Sutton: 'This is the last dam operation I'm ever gonna make alone'. Like the moonshiners are vanishing from the Appalachian landscape, worn out by their difficult life, their struggle agains the mainstream way of life, the harassment by the police, the European countries have abandonned one after the other their traditions of lonely operations, putting an end to decades of slow decline. When the UK decided to leave its aircraft carriers in the ports, they renounced to 'rule the waves'. 'Popcorn' Sutton alike, France was the latest expeditionary moonshiner, until it latest operation in Mali revealed the limits of its military capabilities.
'Popcorn' alike, it is still capable of launching an operation. However, 'Popcorn' (watch the documentary), its back is bent by the burden of life, its driving an antique pick-up, it makes use of scarce resources in order to produce a very limited amount of operational result. The heroism of French soldiers, the focus on the rush towards the North of Mali should not hide the vacuity of the post-war planning. Just moonshiners alike, who claim for liberty, but are just a drop of water (or liquor) in US alcohol market. They just don't shape the things anymore.
France in the middle of an unprecedented renouncement to its former military glory, is almost ready to state about Mali: 'this is the last dam run of operation I'm ever gonna make alone'. Nevertheless, romantism, or shame, or both, could lead them to still smuggle, trying to let us believe that they still have an influence and play a great role, just like 'Popcorn' Sutton, turning into an icon, without any influence, though. Turning into a remnant of former times is what expects France if it tries to maintain past times way of doing.
What brought me to this somber conclusion is the principle that expeditionary warfare and autonomy require three elementary elements in order to work properly:
- solid combat capabilities,
-strategic airlift assets,
-autonomy in decision process, first of all in intelligence.
The quality of French soldiers can not be questioned. However the value of armed forces cannot be assessed, as their enemy is by far below the level of which French armed forces are tailored against.
French operation in Mali currently shows that two third of the necessary assets are missing as France absolutely needed the US, British and Canadian C-17, and the USA are currently providing a large part of intelligence with its UAV and aircraft.
What lead the moonshiners to disappear is that they couldn't anymore continue their business as their organization, although very flexible and reactive was extremeley fragile and easy to disrupt.