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France's new NATO policy: leveraging a realignment of the alliance?

French president Nicolas Sarkozy entered office with the intention of fundamentally revitalizing his country following many years of stagnation--and in doing so he did not shrink from violating one of the long-standing taboos of French defense and security policy. Beginning in mid-2007, Sarkozy gave notice on several occasions that he intended to complete the process begun by his predecessors of reintegrating France into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) military structures and to normalize overall French relations with NATO. The move was officially announced on 11 March and consummated during the celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of NATO's founding, held on 3-4 April 2009 in Strasbourg, France, and Kehl, Germany, thus bringing to an end the special status that France had held in the alliance since 1966. (1) The special character of France's relationship to NATO had been aimed primarily at guaranteeing French independence and influence internationally and not only was an integral element of the country's national identity but also placed France in the role of the alliance's enfant terrible--often the sole, unequivocal opponent of American dominance of Europe.

"Speedy Sarko," as the unusually forceful and lively French president is often called, has broken with the conventions of French NATO policy in such a way as to divide the country's political establishment and place in doubt the Fifth Republic's broad political consensus on defense and security policy. The question is, Just what does Sarkozy hope to achieve through such a striking change in policy? Has he joined the Atlanticists? Or does he hope to improve his chances of pursuing long-established French objectives in the alliance? To answer these questions, we must examine the complex strategic thinking on which France's normalization of relations with NATO rests. This in turn requires that we first assess the special position France has held in NATO.

France's Rapprochement with NATO during the 1990s

On 7 March 1966, France withdrew from NATO's integrated military structures and nuclear weapons program though it remained a member of the Atlantic Pact. This was de Gaulle's reaction to Anglo-American dominance of the alliance as well as to the shift in US strategy to that of flexible nuclear response, which allowed for the possibility of conflict in Europe using nuclear weapons. (2) Since then, French security and defense policy has been guided by the Gaullist "principle that asserts: Whenever the West is under threat, France will stand in solidarity with the Western community of values; but in times of peace, it will seek to preserve its independence, in particular vis-a-vis the United States." (3)

The first noteworthy divergence from this course occurred under Socialist president Francois Mitterrand (1981-95). Mitterrand was decidedly more transatlantic in his views than were his predecessors. So much so, in fact, that at the time of the NATO Double-Track Decision, he offered the alliance his complete support, even urging approval of the rearmament effort during a speech before the German parliament in January 1983, which included the dictum "Les pacifists sont a l'Ouest mais les missiles sont a l'Est" (The pacifists are in the West, but the missiles are in the East). But even though Mitterrand recognized the paramount role NATO played in Europe's (and France's) security, he chose to hold firm to France's special position in the alliance for the time being. It was only in response to the Gulf War of 1991 that he developed a new NATO policy. France, which had 14,500 troops involved in the operation, suffered the bitter experience of seeing just how inferior its own military capabilities were in comparison to those of the Americans. "France's experience of participating in a multinational force commanded by a US general under NATO procedures ... was both humiliating and revealing--particularly for the military. Any illusion which might have remained about France's (and Europe's) capacity to underwrite the collective security of the continent was shattered in the Saudi Arabian desert." (4) The Gulf War, therefore, can be understood as the "turning point in French NATO policy." (5) By 1993, as NATO involvement in a disintegrating Yugoslavia appeared in the offing, Paris came to the realization that rapprochement with NATO, perhaps even reintegration, could increase France's influence in the alliance.

After Defense Minister Pierre Joxe declared that France "must be present in the relevant bodies ... where ... decisions about our security are made," Paris once again began participating in the work of the NATO military committee, starting in April 1993. (6) In 1996 Francois Leotard became the first French minister of defense to attend a meeting--albeit informal--of NATO defense ministers. (7) Although some observers at the time reckoned with France's full reintegration into NATO structures, Mitterrand chose not to go beyond what were on the whole rather limited steps toward rapprochement.

Pres. Jacques Chirac (1995-2007) propelled this pro-Atlantic process a step further. During the war in Bosnia (1991-95), Europe was again confronted with its own military inferiority vis-a-vis America, whereupon Chirac announced in December 1995 that France would officially rejoin the Council of Defense Ministers as well as the military council, leaving one final hurdle to complete the process of reintegration: the return to the alliance's military structures. Chirac saw an opportunity for France's full reintegration in the adoption of the combined joint task force (CJTF) concept in Berlin in January 1996, which permitted Europeans to establish their own separate security and defense identity--a European pillar in NATO. The CJTF concept accorded with Chirac's notion of a new NATO that allowed France "a prendre toute sa place" (to take her rightful place). (8) Before the CJTF concept could be implemented, however, the command positions within the European pillar first had to be defined. Since NATO's commander in Europe--the supreme allied commander, Europe--is always an American, Chirac, with the support of Germany, called for the appointment of Europeans to the regional command posts, with selection based on a rotation system. Chirac was interested in particular in the post of commander of Allied Forces, South Europe, based in Naples. But the United States refused to assign a European officer to this strategically important post in European Southern Command, prompting France to decide to remain outside NATO's military structures. In retrospect, it seems strange that Chirac would commit the tactical mistake of announcing France's return without first negotiating its price. (9)

France's Unsatisfying Position in NATO

Though America's intransigence in 1997 caused Chirac to suspend the process of formal reintegration into NATO, he did essentially move de facto rapprochement forward in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. In 2002 he approved both France's massive participation in the NATO Response Force and in the new Allied Command Transformation (ACT) in Norfolk, Virginia. (10) Since 2004 France has had a contingent of 100 officers at the integrated command structures (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers, Europe in Mons, Belgium, and ACT in Norfolk). But the roughly 280 military personnel detailed to cooperation duties with NATO constitute "only about 10 percent of the German or British" personnel assigned to the same task. (11) In spite of France's de facto participation in the integrated structures of NATO, its peculiar position within the alliance means that it is not part of the standing chain of command--and consequently occupies none of the senior command posts. There are also two central NATO structures to which France still does not belong: the Nuclear Planning Group and the Defense Planning Committee.

By contrast, French operational and financial contributions to NATO have been substantial. France, which has participated in all out-of-area NATO operations since 2003, contributed (as of 2007) the third largest contingent of troops and was the fourth largest financial contributor in the alliance. (12) This is not compensated, however, by a commensurate level of influence within the alliance, so that from the French perspective, the cost-benefit calculation is a negative one. As a result, Frederic Bozo has referred to France's "unsatisfactory role" within the alliance since "the involvement of France at decision-making levels is still proportionally much less than its operational participation." (13) In addition, the development of NATO during Pres. George W. Bush's eight years in office has been characterized by the operating principle in which the mission determines the coalition, muscling aside any approach grounded in greater partnership and cooperation. President Sarkozy has sufficient reason, therefore, to put an end to France's unsatisfactory, thankless, and untenable position in NATO.

Sarkozy's New NATO Policy: The Announcements

Sarkozy first announced his new NATO policy in a speech delivered before a gathering of ambassadors in Paris on 27 August 2007. This came as a surprise since the topic had not come up during the French election campaign. After appealing for a "new elan" in the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), Sarkozy stressed that there was no rivalry between the European Union (EU) and NATO, that they instead complemented one another. "I hope," Sarkozy continued, "that in the coming months we can pursue both the strengthening of the Europe of defense and the renewal of NATO, as well as NATO's relationship to France in general. Each is bound up together with the other: an autonomous Europe of defense and a transatlantic alliance in which we will be able to play our role to its fullest extent." (14)

The second time Sarkozy spoke about his NATO plans was in an address before the US Congress on 7 November 2007. He began by first reminding his audience that, in light of global instability, the United States needed a strong and resolute Europe: "There are more crises than there are means of dealing with them. And since NATO cannot be everywhere at once, it is essential that Europe be capable of taking action itself." After he, rather pedagogically, emphasized the "legitimate strategic interest" on both sides of the Atlantic in a strong Europe, he went on to speak of his new NATO policy:
   Standing here at this podium before Congress, I say to you: the
   more successful a Europe of defense is, the more likely it is that
   France's decision to fully assume its place in NATO will become a
   reality. I hope that France, a founding member of the alliance and
   one of its most important troop contributors, will be able to
   assume an important role in renewing the alliance's means and
   capabilities and that France will be able to further develop its
   relationship with the alliance in parallel with the further
   development and greater empowerment of the Europe of defense.


In closing, Sarkozy spoke of a "credible and strong Europe within a newly structured alliance." (15)

Sarkozy broached his new policy approach for the third time on 3 April 2008, during the NATO summit in Bucharest. Having announced prior to the meeting that France would increase the size of its contingent in Afghanistan by roughly 1,000 troops, he repeated to his colleagues his intention not to reduce defense expenditures, regardless of current budget problems. Following this dual commitment by France to stand together with its alliance partners in the fight against terrorism, Sarkozy then went on the offensive. He restated the need for both NATO and a strong Europe of defense. Sarkozy's position found favor with President Bush, who on 2 April 2008 unexpectedly announced, "Building a strong NATO alliance also requires a strong European defense capacity." Sarkozy eagerly took up Bush's comment, thanking him twice in his Bucharest address for the remark. "This opens the possibility for France to fundamentally renew its relationship to NATO." And for the first time, he set forth a date for implementation of the new policy; the process of normalization would be consummated at the NATO summit scheduled for 3-4 April 2009 to be held in both Kehl and Strasbourg on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the alliance's founding. "This act will serve as a symbol of Franco-German friendship, European reconciliation, and transatlantic partnership." (16)

The Dual Arrangement in Sarkozy's New NATO Policy

A closer examination of Sarkozy's series of statements shows that it would be a mistake to conclude that his new approach is merely an expression of the new president's "Atlanticism" or that it can be interpreted as a desire to steal the title of Washington's most devoted ally from the British or Germans. Although it is doubtless true that Sarkozy is the most pro-American of any president in the history of the Fifth Republic, his NATO initiative is not an example of that.

Instead, Sarkozy is attempting to resolve the dilemmas of France's existing status in NATO. Based on the foregoing account, these can be described as follows:17 How can the discrepancy be resolved between France's limited influence in the alliance and its actual contributions? In view of the relative isolation arising from its peculiar status in the alliance, how can Paris obtain effective leverage over the long-term developments in the alliance? And how can France simultaneously place its decades-old efforts toward a Europe capable of acting on its own in defense and security policy--a Europe Puissance--on a sustained road toward success? (18)

The president's solution consists of a dual arrangement that ties France's full reentry into NATO to certain conditions. This in itself signals that Sarkozy has no intention of quietly joining the ranks of the Atlanticists. Instead, he expects that his decision to reenter NATO will lend the ESDP--l'Europe de la defense, as he likes to refer to it--a new vitality. This constitutes the first part of the arrangement. A strengthened ESDP that operates in partnership with NATO, whose contribution to international security the United States expressly welcomes, will inevitably increase Europe's standing in NATO. The second part of the arrangement is directly related to this: France will rejoin only a remodeled NATO--a remodeling, as France sees it, in which the asymmetry in favor of the United States that has existed since the alliance's founding should end and in which Europe is recognized as an equal partner in matters of defense and security policy. "A France that fully assumes its role in NATO presupposes an alliance in which Europe is given a greater part to play." (19)

Thus, to make France's complete reintegration into NATO palatable to the French electorate, Sarkozy set forth a complex approach linked to a series of arrangements which argued that France would rejoin only a reformed NATO that accepts the ESDP as an equal partner. But to make this approach credible, the ESDP would have to make fundamental progress in moving beyond the rather modest status it had achieved by 1999. According to Sarkozy, a substantive strengthening of the ESDP again presupposes that France relinquishes its special status and becomes a "normal" NATO member. The president takes the view--as all his statements indicate--that France can advance the development of the ESDP only as a full member of NATO since a France that insists on its special status in the alliance only provokes mistrust and a tendency to obstruction on both sides of the Atlantic, owing to persistent suspicions that France is trying to weaken the transatlantic alliance. For decades this was indeed a central reason why an integrated Europe accepted US dominance and explains why it practiced abstinence in defense and security policy matters through the end of the 1990s--and why development of the ESDP has proceeded only sluggishly since then. (20) This mistrust is constantly being stoked as a consequence of EU expansion eastward since--aside from a traditionally ESDP-skeptical Britain--the pronounced Atlanticism of the new members in Eastern Europe leads them to accuse France of seeking to weaken the alliance. Sarkozy's new NATO policy, therefore, serves to a great degree to build trust in the EU-27 as a prerequisite for strengthening the ESDP.

There is much that would in fact indicate that France's return to NATO should significantly spur the development of the ESDP, but it remains to be seen whether France's reintegration will lead to greater French influence in the alliance. This is related to--and thus forms another aspect of France's call for a reformed alliance--Paris's view that fundamental NATO reforms are essential and its search for the means to actively shape those reforms. France wants (has wanted for quite some time, actually) to scale down the outsized military apparatus of NATO and adapt it to new strategic needs. Secondly, Paris seeks (again, has sought for years) to limit the growing politicization of the alliance to prevent it from becoming the cornerstone of international order--one dominated by the United States. This defensive action against a globally operating and politicized NATO was initiated under Mitterrand in light of the rapid expansion of the alliance following the end of the Cold War. (21) In view of American NATO policy during the Bush years--in which the mission determined the coalition and where Washington placed greatest value on the alliance's role in legitimizing American actions--Paris renewed its effort against the "globalization" of NATO, for example, by joining with Germany in opposing quick membership for Georgia and the Ukraine. Included among the classic reform demands France seeks in NATO is the previously mentioned desire to see Europeans given greater influence in the alliance--including high-ranking command posts--to put an end to asymmetry (i.e., American dominance). In light of the far-reaching demands for reform that Paris has always directed at NATO, it seems doubtful that normalization will bring about a reorientation of the alliance in accordance with French designs. (22)

Strengthening the European Security and Defense Policy as a Counterpart to French Reintegration: Mission Accomplished?

When President Sarkozy presents his new NATO policy as primarily benefiting Europe, in concrete terms this means that he places highest priority on strengthening the ESDP. France's assumption of the EU presidency during the second half of 2008 presented him with the opportunity to take effective action in this regard. Sarkozy seized the opportunity and declared the goal of giving new momentum to the ESDP as one of the four main elements of his agenda during France's six-month term in the EU presidency. Specifically, France planned to formulate a new European Security Strategy that would replace the document passed in 2007. As his first priority, however, Sarkozy sought to expand the ESDP's military and civilian capacities. (23) Intensified cooperation between the EU and NATO, also part of the presidential agenda, was supported by a paper containing far-ranging proposals for cooperation that France had presented to the NATO Council in October 2003. As one commentator observed, with this step Paris set aside its traditional resistance to rapprochement between the EU and NATO, substantially accommodating the wishes of both Washington and London. (24)

Given French ambitions and prior concessions, one must ask whether Sarkozy, as EU president, has indeed given measurable new momentum to the ESDP. Or have the turbulent events that occurred during France's EU presidency--Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty on 12 June 2008, the war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008, and the financial crisis beginning in the fall of that year--thrown Sarkozy off his plans as Europe's senior crisis manager? (25)

The answer is clearly no, for, largely unnoticed by the general public, the European Council on 11-12 December 2008 "reaffirmed its intention to take concrete steps to lend new momentum to European security and defense policy and thereby take into account the new responsibilities that have arisen with respect to Europe's security." (26) The "Statement of the European Council on the Consolidation of the ESDP" contains everything France had proposed: a revision of the European Security Strategy; the pledge to remedy the "inadequacies in Europe's existing capabilities through the gradual improvement of its civilian and military capacities," together with a detailed "Statement on Improving Capabilities"; (27) the commitment to be able to simultaneously conduct up to 19 military and civilian ESDP missions of differing dimensions; an "Erasmus militaire" to promote cooperation in training efforts; and an explicit declaration "to improve cooperation between the EU and NATO ... in full complementarity ... within a framework of renewed transatlantic partnership." For this purpose, "an informal high-level EU-NATO group" should be established, as per France's proposal. The single, albeit serious, deficiency remaining in ESDP resolutions relates to the highly sensitive question as to the development of an independent European central command and the European Council's inclination to merely endorse the efforts undertaken by Javier Solana "toward the creation of a new integrated structure for civil-military planning" of ESDP operations. It was Great Britain, above all, that rebuffed French plans to add 20-30 additional personnel to the 90 already serving in the still embryonic EU Operations Center. (28) Yet, following the summit in December 2008, Defense Minister Herve Morin declared nevertheless that "everything we put on the table a year ago is now in the works." (29)

Will Reintegration Mean the End of the "Exception Francaise"?

Sarkozy's new NATO policy is based on the recognition that France's special role in the alliance has become untenable and is no longer in keeping with French interests. This view was shared by the team of experts who, in June 2008, presented the new white book Defense and National Security. "The report backs Sarkozy's position in calling for France to return to the integrated structures of NATO." (30)

This gives rise to the question of exactly how this "complete reintegration" should occur. Will France become another NATO member like all the rest? Will Paris abandon its motto "Friends, allies, but not aligned" and obediently join the Atlanticist camp? In short, will this mean the end of the "exception francaise" in matters of defense and security policy?

The answer must surely be no since full reintegration will not be as all encompassing as it sounds. Although France will rejoin the Defense Planning Committee--where central issues such as, currently, the US missile shield will be decided--the same does not apply to the Nuclear Planning Group. This will allow France to retain an autonomous decision-making power over the Force de Frappe. As Sarkozy has stated, "France's nuclear deterrent will remain a strictly national responsibility." (31) Also, France will still not place any troops under NATO control during peacetime. Lastly, it is not expected that France will commit itself to a quantitatively complete reintegration in the alliance's integrated structures since to be represented in these structures at the same level as Britain or Germany, it would have to increase its presence there tenfold, from 120 to 1,200. Since this is beyond France's capacity over the short term, either financially or in terms of personnel, and since France considers this institution bloated even as it is, an "integration a minima" seems the more likely outcome, "representing greater symbolic and political than practical or military significance." (32) At the NATO summit of 3-4 April 2009, France let it be known that it will send some 15 generals to the military structures. (33)

Also of great symbolic importance will be France's future access to NATO command posts. The statement "France can only take its place in NATO when it is granted a proper seat at the table" was once Chirac's, and now Sarkozy's, mantra. (34) According to press reports, Sarkozy--rather, his chief advisor, Jean-David Levitte--has already gotten consent from Gen James Jones, President Obama's national security advisor, that France can assume the ACT command in Norfolk as well as the regional command in Lisbon, to which Paris has contributed significantly. (35)

Knowledge of these plans and the general prospect of reintegration sparked a lively debate within France since resistance to Sarkozy's assault against the Gaullist holy of holies extends beyond the military itself. The general public is also concerned that Sarkozy's new NATO policy could undermine France's international clout and reduce its influence and the independence that has allowed it to say things that others only think. Former Socialist foreign minister Hubert Vedrine put it in particularly stark terms: Were France to become a "normal ally," many countries would view this as its "re-subordination under the US"; it would lead to the "marginalization of French power internationally." (36) Others fear the surrender of an important element of French identity. (37) Still others demand that the link between reintegration and the Europeanization of NATO be strictly enforced. Especially widespread are the doubts that Sarkozy's new NATO policy will provide the ESDP the critical momentum it needs. Is it not more likely that, through reintegration, France will sacrifice its traditional ambitions, wonders Laurent Zecchini, who concludes that "La messe atlantiste est dite" (the Atlanticism is only so-called). (38)

To politically neutralize accusations that the final result of this process would be France's unconditional reintegration into NATO, Prime Minister Francois Fillon coupled the parliamentary debate that took place on 17 March 2009 to a confidence vote so that representatives serving in the majority who were opposed to the move would be bound by parliamentary discipline. (39) In addition Sarkozy sought to demonstrate his independence vis-a-vis the new US president during the summit marathon in early April (the G-20 in London, the NATO anniversary in Strasbourg and Kehl, and the EU summit in Prague). Like other Europeans, for instance, he followed through only to a limited degree on Obama's appeal to demonstrate greater engagement in Afghanistan. And he openly opposed Obama's view that Turkey should be made a full member of the EU. A certain degree of competition between the two leaders became evident over the issue of future disarmament policy. As departing head of the EU Council, Sarkozy, as early as 8 December 2008, had gotten EU foreign ministers to agree to a statement devoted to nuclear disarmament. As part of preparations for the review of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, set for 2010, the EU was thus making the first concrete proposals for nuclear disarmament. (40) Sarkozy wanted to signal the new US president that Europe has a right to have a say in the matter too. Obama, on the other hand, considers the vision of a nuclear-free world--as he proposed to great effect on 5 April 2009 in Prague--an integral part of his claim to global leadership. (41) Sarkozy has downplayed the implications of Obama's scheme, indicating that the US president is merely drawing on existing measures and proposals to camouflage the United States' previous policy of delaying such efforts. (42)

In summary, one can say that despite having only just completed reintegration into NATO, a France that still reserves certain special privileges to itself while seeking to limit US claims to leadership cannot be said to have simply conformed, nor has it aligned itself as much as one may have thought. A complete end to the exception francaise is therefore not in the offing.

The Catalytic Potential of France's New NATO Policy: Future Prospects

President Sarkozy carried through on France's full reintegration into NATO because of the significant catalytic potential he attaches to it. The backing he received from Germany at the Munich Security Conference in February 2009 offered the first indication that he was correct. On 4-5 February, he and Chancellor Angela Merkel jointly presented a paper regarding the future of the alliance and of EU-NATO relations, proffering Franco-German proposals that for the first time were set forth without prior consultation with the new US administration. (43) What is especially worth emphasizing about this remarkable, content-rich initiative is Merkel and Sarkozy's call for joint decision making within the alliance--since "one-sided moves would be contrary to the spirit of partnership"--and their demand that strengthening European security policy be a premise of transatlantic equality, saying, "We Europeans must speak with one voice." Most evident, however, is their shared opposition to the transformation of NATO into a global security agency of the sort the United States has long sought to establish. Paris and Berlin, by contrast, "do not want to reinvent" NATO fundamentals, and they recognize Article 5 of the NATO Treaty as the "core element" of what is an "essentially military alliance." In this way, Merkel and Sarkozy have established a clearly outlined framework interwoven with Franco-German objectives for the debate over a new NATO strategy now set to begin. And they take the view of the new US administration at its word, as expressed by General Jones, the new national security advisor, who has promised the allies increased cooperation and reciprocal coordination. (44) It appears that France's new NATO policy can act as a catalyst to the degree that Germany, with France as a full NATO member by its side, is prepared to strengthen Europe's foreign and security policy substantially.

On the other hand, the actual consummation of France's return to NATO has produced no direct vitalizing effects within the alliance. Reintegration became practically a nonevent during NATO's anniversary celebration. The "Strasbourg/Kehl Summit Declaration" states laconically, "We warmly welcome the French decision to fully participate in NATO structures; this will further contribute to a stronger alliance." Even point 20 of the declaration, in which NATO "recognises the importance of a stronger and more capable European defence, and welcomes the EU's efforts to strengthen its capabilities and its capacity to address common security challenges," fails to offer much promise for a Europe of defense. (45)

For that reason, we will have to wait on a new alliance strategy (commissioned at the anniversary summit and expected by 2010) to assess the actual catalytic effect of France's new NATO policy on Europe's role in the alliance. It is primarily up to Europeans to achieve substantive changes. Are France's 26 EU teammates at all ready and willing to credibly divide up power and the responsibilities of burden sharing in a reformed alliance? Only if they are will it be clear that Sarkozy's gambit has worked and that his new NATO policy has produced a real reorientation of the alliance.

Notes

(1.) Since Kehl did not offer a suitable backdrop for the ceremonies, the anniversary's evening events were held in Baden-Baden.

(2.) Jean-Pierre Maulny, "Frankreich und seine zukunftige Stellung in der NATO--eine politische, keine militarische Debatte" [France and its future role in NATO--a political, not military debate], Frankreich-Analysen der FES, November 2007, 2, http://library.fes.de/cgi-bin/populo/digbib.pl?f_SER=frankreich -analyse&t_listen=x&sortierung=jab.

(3.) Winfried Veit, "Bruch oder Bluff? Franzosische Aussenpolitik unter Sarkozy" [Broken or bluff? French foreign policy under Sarkozy], IPG, no. 2 (2008): 33, http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/ipg/ipg-2008 -2/04_a_veit_d.pdf.

(4.) Jolyon Howorth, European Integration and Defence: The Ultimate Challenge?, Chaillot Paper no. 43 (Paris: Institute for Security Studies, 2000), 18.

(5.) Kai Burmester, "Atlantische Annaherung--Frankreichs Politik gegenuber der NATO und den USA" [Atlantic approach--France's policy towards NATO and the USA], in Die verhinderte Grossmacht: Frankreichs Sicherheitspolitik nach dem Ende des Ost-West-Konflikts [The indisposed great power: France's security policy after the East-West conflicts], ed. Hanns W. Maull, Michael Meimeth, and Christoph Nesshover (Opladen: VS Verlag fur Sozialwissenschaften, 1997), 107. See also Gisela Muller-Brandeck-Bocquet, Frankreichs Europapolitik [French European policy] (Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, 2004), 111ff, 133ff.

(6.) Joxe is quoted in Burmester, "Atlantische Annaherung," 101.

(7.) Wichard Woyke, Deutsch-franzdsiche Beziehungen seit der Wiedervereinigung: Das Tandem fasst wieder Tritt [German-French relations since the reunification] (Opladen: Leske & Budrich, 2004), 136.

(8.) Jolyon Howorth, "La France, l'OTAN et la securite europeenne: statu quo ingerable, renouveau introuvable" [France, NATO and European security: Status quo unsustainable, new balance unobtainable], Politique Etrangere, no. 4 (2002): 1005. An English version is available on the IFRI Web site http://www.ifri.org.

(9.) Dominique David, "France/OTAN: la derniere marche" [France/NATO: The latest march], Politique Etrangere, no. 2 (2008): 431.

(10.) Ibid.

(11.) Leo Michel, "Liaison dangereuse: Kehrt Frankreich tatsachlich zuruck in die NATO-Strukturen?" [Dangerous liaison: France actually returns into NATO structures?], Internationale Politik, March 2008, 35.

(12.) Maulny, "Frankreich und seine zukuenftige Stellung," 2.

(13.) Frederic Bozo, "France and NATO under Sarkozy: End of the French Exception?," working paper (Paris: Fondation pour l'inovation politique, 2008), 6.

(14.) Nicolas Sarkozy (speech, Conference of Ambassadors, Paris, 27 August 2007), http://www.elysee.fr/ download/?mode=press&filename=embassadeur-27-08-07.pdf.

(15.) Nicolas Sarkozy (speech, US Congress, 7 November 2007), http://www.elysee.fr/edito/index.php?id=23.

(16.) Nicolas Sarkozy (speech, NATO summit, Bucharest, 3 April 2008), http://wwww.elysee.fr/documents /index.php?mode=view&lang=fr&cat_id=7&press_id=1243.

(17.) Bozo, "France and NATO under Sarkozy," 5.

(18.) Gisela Muller-Brandeck-Bocquet, "The Big Member States' Influence on the Shaping of the European Union's Foreign, Security and Defense Policy," in The Future of the European Foreign, Security and Defense Policy after Enlargement, ed. Gisela Muller-Brandeck-Bocquet (Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag, 2006), 25-53.

(19.) Sarkozy is quoted in Le Monde, 18 June 2008.

(20.) See Muller-Brandeck-Bocquet, Frankreichs Europapolitik; and Muller-Brandeck-Bocquet, "Big Member States' Influence."

(21.) Muller-Brandeck-Bocquet, Frankreichs Europapolitik, 133ff; and "Wie halten wir es mit Amerika? Die transatlantischen Beziehungen, die Konstruktion Europas und die deutsch-franzosische Zusammenarbeit in der Ara Kohl" [How do we keep America? Transatlantic relations, the construction of Europe and the Franco-German cooperation in the Kohl era], Historisch-politische Mitteilungen: Archiv fur ChristlichDemokratische Politik [Historical and political messages: Archive for Christian-democratic policy], no. 14 (2007): 280ff.

(22.) Bozo is also skeptical; see his "France and NATO under Sarkozy," 9ff.

(23.) See point 3.1 of the French presidential agenda, which contains numerous proposals for improvements in capabilities.

(24.) he Monde, 10 October 2007; and Veit, "Bruch oder Bluff?," 45.

(25.) Ireland's challenge to the Lisbon Treaty has serious consequences with respect to the priority given to the ESDP because it means that it will not be possible in the foreseeable future to make use of the means for structural cooperation that the treaty would establish--and because it prevents the new office of the European foreign minister from properly developing.

(26.) European Council, "Conclusions of the Chair," Brussels, 12 December 2008, doc. 17271/08.

(27.) European Council, "Declaration of 8 December 2008 on Strengthening ESDP Capabilities," doc. 16840/08. Specific projects include, among others, the establishment of a European air-transport fleet, improvements in reconnaissance, and increased cooperation in armaments production to implement the capabilities development plan of the European Defense Agency.

(28.) Ronja Kempin, "Frankreich und die Annaherung von NATO und EU" [France and the approach of NATO and the EU], SWP-Aktuell, April 2008, 2. Regarding the European Command Center, see Gisela Muller-Brandeck-Bocquet, "Deutsch-franzosische Beziehungen und das Projekt 'Friedensmach Europa' " [German-French relations and the project "Peace Power Europe"], in Berliner Friedenspolitik? Militarische Transformation--Zivile Impulse--Europaische Einbindung [Berlin peace project? Military transformation--civilian impulses--European integration], ed. Peter Schlotter, Wilhelm Nolte, and Renate Grasse (Baden Baden: Nomos Verlag, 2008), 233-60.

(29.) Le Monde, 4 October 2008. For a critical view, see Ronja Kempin and Marco Overhaus, "Kein grosser Sprung in der Entwicklung der ESVP: Lehren aus der franzosischen Ratprasidentschaft" [No great leap in the development of the ESDP: Lessons from the French presidency], SWP-Aktuell, January 2009.

(30.) Ronja Kempin, "Modernisierung der franzosischen Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik" [Modernization of the French security and defense policy], SWP-Aktuell, August 2008. The white book also makes the case for an increased Europeanization of French defense and security policy and calls for the expansion of autonomous EU planning and command capacities.

(31.) Sarkozy is quoted in Le Monde, 18 June 2008. See also Sarkozy's address of 11 March 2008, in which he officially announced his reintegration policy, Le Monde, 13 March 2008.

(32.) Bozo, "France and NATO under Sarkozy," 14. See also Kempin, "Frankreich und die Annaherung von NATO und EU," 2.

(33.) Le Monde, 4 April 2009.

(34.) Sarkozy is quoted in Le Monde, 5 February 2009.

(35.) Ibid.; and Sueddeutsche Zeitung, 20 February 2009.

(36.) Vedrine is quoted by Michel, "Liaison dangereuse," 35.

(37.) Modem-Chef F. Bayrou, Le Monde, 5 February 2009.

(38.) Le Monde, 11 March 2009.

(39.) The general public responded positively to the step, with 58 percent expressing support for the decision--70 percent of the UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) voters and 52 percent of the PS (Socialist Party) voters.

(40.) Urging, for example, a ban on the production of fissionable materials as well as a continuation of the START Treaty between the United States and Russia. See European Council, "Council Statement on Strengthening International Security of 8 December 2008," doc. 16751/08.

(41.) With his vision, Obama is aligning himself with the "Global Zero" initiative currently being circulated by a portion of the American security policy establishment.

(42.) Le Monde, 11 April 2009.

(43.) Reprinted on 4 February 2009 in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung and on 5 February 2009 in Le Monde.

(44.) See the interview with Jones in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, 9 February 2009.

(45.) See the "Strasbourg/Kehl Summit Declaration," 4 April 2009, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_52837.htm?mode=pressrelease. This passage appears verbatim in the "Declaration on Alliance Security," 4 April 2009, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, http://www.nato .int/cps/en/natolive/news_52838.htm?mode=pressrealease.

DR. GISELA MULLER-BRANDECK-BOCQUET, The author studied political science in Grenoble, France, and Munich, Germany. Since 1996 she has been professor of European integration and international relations at the University of Wiirzburg, Germany. Her most recent books include The Future of the European Foreign, Security and Defense Policy after Enlargement (Baden-Baden, 2006), Die Afrikapolitik der Europaischen Union (Opladen, 2007), and Deutsche Europapolitik: Von Konrad Adenauer bis Angela Merkel (Wiesbaden, 2009).

This article is reprinted with courtesy from DieAussenpolitik der USA: Prasident Obamas neuer Kurs unddie Zukunft der transatlantischen Beziehungen (The foreign policy of the USA: President Obama's new course and the future of transatlantic relations), Berichte & Studien 89 (Reports & Studies no. 89), ed. Reinhard C. Meier-Walser (Munich: Hanns Seidel Foundation, 2009), ISBN 978-3-88795-344-7, http://www.hss.de/ english/politics-education/academy-for-politics-and-current-affairs.html. It may be ordered from http:// www.hss.de/mediathek/publikationen/detailinformationen.htmlPtx_ddceventsbrowser_pi2%5Bpublication _id%5D=279.
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Date:Sep 22, 2011
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