These last few weeks have allowed the “Biden presidency” to reveal its methods and its rhythm to the West, as well as to its Russian and Chinese partners. A style that is the opposite of his predecessor’s, in restraint and in the mastery of timing. Another form of predation, in short, which is aligned if not inspired by the rules coming from Asia.
In the middle of the chessboard are the territories to be conquered. The Europe of nations probably had a small chance of existing in its own right thanks to Donald Trump, because it is a natural attitude to look for allies when one is the victim of an overly important and irritable opponent. But the arrival of Joe Biden has appealed to the wider Germanic community, particularly the German one, because of a forthcoming change in power. All this reinforces the uncertainties about European unity and sustainability.
One thing is guaranteed, however: the French domestic market remains too small, neo-colbertism works but cannot save everyone. The recovery in K is no longer a hypothesis, it implies that companies adopt the new business codes to take their place in the future. How to adopt one’s own style when Falcons and Warrior Wolves abound and condition business?
Americans on Beijing time, Europeans out of time?
The new American way of doing business is pragmatic, offensive, and imperial. It is also part of an approach that aims to inscribe sustainability. This ideological and rhetorical line is the perfect American response to Beijing. Beijing has finally taken control of the time and the pace by forcing its opponent to play this game, all with the equally effective and intelligent backing of Moscow.
The two typical examples of this adoption of Eurasian codes can be found, on the one hand, in the diplomatic encounter between the Falcons and the Fighting Wolves, which conditions a much more calculated confrontation than before and, it must be admitted, a recognition of China’s true power in the world influence; and the authorization for BlackRock to operate on Chinese soil, on the other hand, because the way of approaching risk management, supported by a strong digitalization and a real political neutrality, turns out to be perfectly compatible with the nascent Chinese financial doctrine All the stakes are crystallized in these two events: will the Yuan sweep away the Dollar? Will the world market be regulated by Beijing or by Washington? Isn’t money power?
This way of doing business, because let’s make no mistake, American interests are first and foremost economic interests, is based on new codes: patient observation, pragmatism, optimization of information or disinformation. Information is the master of these new exchanges and strategy follows from it. One does not enter the table of the powerful by managing relationships without having prepared a few moves in advance. It is no longer a question of playing poker but of playing chess and Go simultaneously.
What are the Europeans doing in the meantime? To tell the truth, the lack of collective awareness in Europe is certainly a major factor in the weakening, as the overlap of European interests seems to be fading since the change in American power. For example, German partners are uncertain about projects that they share with France: armaments, agriculture, high-tech industry, digital technology. The French therefore have an interest in turning to the Italians, with whom they share their Latin culture and short-term considerations. But how to find common ground between these two powers? And should we leave aside the relationship with Germany, which remains the European Union’s largest economy? At the level of a European company director, how can one find one’s way and how can one avoid being in a weak position when faced with American, Chinese and Russian predators?
Between Falcons and Wolves, how to become a player in the European power economy?
In the specific case of France, the economy is struggling to keep up with the new rules, as there are many delays on the list of tasks to be done in order to consider being a power. Among these essential tasks, there is first of all the ability to adapt. This is the essence of the problem that French entrepreneurship faces: adaptation is undermined because certainties are omnipresent.
The “Knowers” meet among themselves, talk a lot but rarely have concrete objectives. It is for this reason that the French Executive has approached international consulting firms, such as McKinsey & Co or the Boston Consulting Group, to support the steps related to the current crisis. It certainly needed a more pragmatic management and less locked by the bureaucracy, whose codes and decisions lack practicality.
However, these same venerable companies of the XXth century are globally losing speed on the whole planet, what we reproach them is mainly based on the lack of adaptation to Eurasian and Asian influences, thus to the human being. Organizational theorists are not good enough to integrate sensitive and strategic realities. Yet, seen from France and Italy, these theorists and consultants remain much more connected to the realities than the operational staff of the Public Sector. How else to explain the need for the Executive to solicit their intervention for impressive fees?
So, the Americans have put themselves on Beijing time in order to compete with the Eurasian powers, but the Europeans are putting themselves on the old Washington time. Why? Can we reasonably consider that a French company, especially if it wishes to prove useful to the Sovereignty of its country, of the European Union, has an interest in following this backward logic?
What is the trick to not be “left out”, to not be forgotten? We can consider that Eurasian practices are the right ones, even if our culture remains quite distant. The American Falcon feeds on these practices. If we hope that the European Eagle will one day have a federating system as it did a few centuries ago, can it not also draw inspiration from the Eurasians?
Eurasian methodologies have brought American concepts to their excellence, particularly in terms of the competitiveness of economic operators. They have done so by optimizing the use of business or geostrategic intelligence, adapting the discourse to each target concerned. To become a real player of weight in the European economic power, using this type of process is essential and unavoidable. One cannot reasonably rely on the technocratic practices advocated by accountants such as McKinsey & Co. or logisticians such as the Boston Consulting Group, even if the latter are excellent in their field and modernize the practices of European bureaucracies.
Economic warfare and aspirations for power and sovereignty are based on greater adaptability than these old organizational models. Especially since the human element is the keystone of Eurasian strategies, they imply that one must know one’s interlocutor perfectly in order to be able to adapt to him. This is what we call geo-culture. It is also one of the principles of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”.
What exactly is the purpose of intelligence and geo-culture for a European company? Simply to do business! The domestic markets of each country, taken independently, are too small, bogged down in their difficulties to reform. It is therefore vital to consider the European market as a whole, which is however not entirely coherent due to fiscal and political disparities. Geo-culture is the ability to understand this disparity and to transform it into a relevant negotiating lever. We are made to understand each other, if not because of our geographical position, then because we are considered a territory to be controlled by the real world superpowers. Let’s start by adapting to our own Community and take advantage of the European heritage.
Conclusion about the K-Shaped
To conclude this dossier on the K-Shaped that we started at the beginning of the winter, it is essential to acknowledge the major transformations that have taken place in a few months. The world has indeed changed, there is a world after. But this next world does not resemble the idealistic dreams of Europeans. It does not even resemble the American ambitions of omnipotence, but rather has the flavour of Asia.
This next world has discarded the intellectual conceptions coming from the business schools of American doctrine, which Europe has assimilated since the Marshall Plan, to bring a more pragmatic, more visceral conception of economy and Sovereignty.
Working for the country, for Europe itself, is central because nothing that was built in European countries or in the European Union is finally secure. Thinking about one’s competitiveness in order to survive in an implacable environment cannot be improvised, nor can one have a healthy confidence in the great thinkers who dominated the intellectual life of management, management and strategy.
We can only look to the real powers, like our American big brother, to learn from them. Yes, the world has changed, and it is important to adapt to it in order to build and develop a power economy that guarantees the European identity.