The EU

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

France is Back In

I admit that Nicolas Sarkozy is one of my favorite political leaders.  Unfortuantely, he is not a citizen of this nation.  At any rate, The Washington Post reports that President Sarkozy is bringing France back into the military chain of command in NATO. The fact is that ever since President Charles de Gaulle pulled France out of the Military side of NATO, but not NATO itself (or OTAN, in French), French forces have been in place and ready to help, but just not integrated, as have been the forces of the US, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and the other nations of NATO.

The Post tells us:
Sarkozy argued that, given the level of French participation on the ground, it made no sense for France to continue boycotting the command structure that runs such interventions.

"We send our soldiers onto the terrain but we don't participate in the committee where their objectives are decided?" he said.  "The time has come to end this situation. It is in the interest of France and the interest of Europe."
Of course, there is opposition within France, from some quarters.
Former prime minister Dominique de Villepin, who served with Sarkozy under Chirac, nevertheless called the decision a blunder that would dilute the independence of French foreign policy.  Ségolène Royal, the Socialist former presidential candidate, said Sarkozy was identifying France too closely with the United States just as the world was moving from U.S. domination.
The side story on President de Gaulle pulling France out of NATO is that he also told the United States he wanted all American military personnel out of France.  A year ago Michael Gerson wrote:
President Lyndon Johnson (in one of his finest hours) instructed his secretary of state to ask de Gaulle:  "Does your order include the bodies of American soldiers in France's cemeteries?
Looking to the future, what do you bet that President Sarkozy is looking for a French General to Command one of NATOs two Major NATO Commands (MNC)?

Regards  --  Cliff

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