Three Questions with Vice Admiral Henri Schricke
During the 20th Mediterranean Strategy Group in Naples (November 26-27 2019), GMF’s Vice President Ian Lesser sat with Henri Schricke, Vice Admiral of the French Navy and military international relations; advisor to the French Chief of Defense, to discuss military dynamics in the Mediterranean region and their implications for security and geopolitics. While regional states and global powers are evolving militarily and technologically, non-state actors are increasingly taking the scene with new capabilities of their own, and new technologies are introducing new measures of power and potential. The central question among these new developments is how these changes affect the geopolitical outlook of the region, and how regional and international stakeholders should adjust their policies and strategies accordingly.
Ian Lesser: Are military developments in the Mediterranean increasing the risks for NATO and others?
Henri Schricke: The issue with the military developments in the Med is mainly the fact that there is simultaneously an increased horizontal proliferation and the involvement of too many actors that are not from the bordering countries. Therefore it seems to me we are not anymore in a Cold War-kind of situation where everything is under control. We are in a situation where there are risks for many limited-size conflicts, with too many different actors involved, while the world’s security architecture is discussed or questioned by some actors.
Ian Lesser: What is the most troubling development?
Henri Schricke: I would say that – currently – what we have to keep an eye on is the fact that two states are more and more present in the [Mediterranean] area, namely Russia and China. Therefore the real question is what their objectives are and will Western countries remain credible partners of the bordering countries; will we maintain the trust, in the long term, of all the bordering countries we are working with now. This is a real challenge.
Ian Lesser: What can transatlantic partners do to address the challenge of growing state and non-state military capabilities?
Henri Schricke: We have to do everything possible to make sure that the bordering nations of the Eastern Med do trust NATO countries and NATO as an organization and, if need be, then we should make sure that we reconcile these countries and their government with the Western governments.