Monday, June 9, 2008
Dept. of Proud Plugs
Here's the introduction to a weeklong series of articles going up over at World Politics Review titled, "France's Strategic Posture Review." It's the product of a month's worth of interviews with some of France's leading foreign and defense policy community, and will conclude with the text of an interview of former Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine:
Next week, a commission appointed by President Nicolas Sarkozy will unveil France's eagerly awaited White Book on Defense and National Security. The product of months of reviews and fierce debate among France's national security community, the Livre Blanc (as it is known) will largely determine France's strategic posture and military procurement priorities for the coming 15 years. The direct impact of the commission's findings will be felt principally within the French military. But in articulating France's strategic orientation and tactical capabilities, their indirect effect will ripple outward, most immediately within Europe and the NATO alliance, but also beyond.
The commission's work must also be understood in the context of a year which saw President Sarkozy announce his willingness to rejoin the NATO integrated command structure and his desire to renegotiate France's bilateral military treaties on the African continent; the opening of a permanent French military base in the United Arab Emirates; as well as a re-articulation of France's nuclear deterrent policy. Taken as a whole, the developments reinforce the image of a nation engaged in a thorough re-examination of its national security posture. So as much as the commission's final conclusions, which have not yet been officially released even if the broad lines have filtered out, the debates that went into reaching them are in themselves revealing.
I hope you enjoy it, and be sure to pass on the link to anyone you know who might find it interesting.