Cross-currents in French Defense and U.S. Interests (Strategic Perspectives, no. 10)
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV FORT MCNAIR DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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France is the only European ally except for the United Kingdom UK that regards its military capabilities, operational performance, and defense industry as vital levers to exert global influence. While the French believe strongly in their need to preserve strategic independence, they see new challenges in the evolving international security environment that will oblige them to accept greater cooperation with others, even in areas once considered too sensitive to discuss. Although some French strategists remain uncomfortable with the notion of closer defense ties with the United States, others ask whether there might be a greater danger ahead specifically, if Europe s strength dissipates as America rebalances toward the Asia-Pacific region, where does France turn to find capable and willing partners to protect its security interests The Libyan conflict in 2011 brought to light many of the cross-currents that are shaping French defense policy. French leaders are proud of their military s performance in Libya, which many view as having validated President Nicolas Sarkozy s decision in early 2009 on France s return to full participation in North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO military structures. But the conflict also exposed Europe s continuing dependence on U.S. military capabilities, reinforced France s lack of confidence in Germany and the European Union as serious military partners, and increased its determination to improve defense cooperation with the United Kingdom.
- Government and Political Science