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France

Britain, France Propose EU Code of Conduct

European Union (EU) members began consideration of a proposed arms sales code of conduct within the EU Council of Ministers' working group COARM on February 17. The proposal, drafted by Britain and France, lists eight broad criteria which EU members should take into account when making arms export decisions.

Under the proposed code, members are expected to refuse an export request for military equipment or dual-use goods (when the end user is suspected to be the armed forces or internal security forces) if the request is "inconsistent" with international obligations such as arms embargos and treaty commitments and if there is a risk that the equipment might be used for "internal repression," prolonging an existing conflict, used "aggressively" against another country or re-exported to a third country. A requesting country's human rights record is to be considered, as well as economic factors such as external debt and economic and social development.

EU members are to inform all other members of an export denial and its underlying rationale. If another member decides to make an "essentially identical" export within three years of a refusal, that member must only notify and consult the state that issued the original refusal.

Although the code claims to have the aim of "setting high common standards for arms exports," the code would not be legally binding and the final export decision would remain a matter of national discretion.

French Defense Policy: Gaullism Meets the Post-Cold War World


 

Stanley R. Sloan

Stanley R. Sloan is the Senior Specialist in International Security Policy for the Congressional Research Service (CRS). He has followed European security issues for the executive and congressional branches of the U.S. government for some thirty years. His current work focuses primarily on issues related to NATO adaptation and enlargement. The views in this article are his own, and are not necessarily those of CRS or the Library of Congress.

French President Jacques Chirac, since his election victory in May 1995, has led the way toward fundamental reform of French defense policy. He has, among other things, conducted a "final" set of nuclear tests, removed one leg of France's strategic nuclear triad, decided to move toward smaller but more flexible professional military forces, and changed France's role in NATO. In the process, Chirac has incurred the wrath of both the Gaullists in the governing coalition and the opposition socialists. Do the Chirac reforms add up to a violation of Gaullist principles, as his domestic critics charge, or will they simply produce a Gaullist defense posture in disguise, as some Americans fear?

The End of the Cold War

The end of the Cold War raised fundamental issues for French defense policy, just as it did for the United States and other powers. The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and disintegration of the Soviet Union removed the principal threat on which French defense strategy had been premised and against which French forces had been planned. But France was notably slow in adapting to the new circumstances. PostCold War realities did not easily penetrate the longheld Gaullist precepts of French independence, even as they were interpreted by the socialist leadership of President François Mitterrand. Furthermore, it can be argued that once Mitterrand was forced to enter "cohabitation" with a government formed by the opposition in 1993, policymaking on important issues became even more problematic. Nevertheless, as the other NATO members undertook the initial adjustments in strategy and planning to accommodate a changed international environment, Mitterrand began a cautious process of rapprochement with the United States and NATO. Mitterrand was encouraged to do so by the fact that the newlyelected American president, Bill Clinton, appeared more favorably inclined than the previous incumbent toward a stronger European role in the transAtlantic alliance.

The NATO summit meeting in January 1994, one year after Clinton had begun his first term, confirmed U.S. willingness to envision a degree of "Europeanization" of NATO. The summit communique yielded glowing references to the process of developing a "common foreign and security policy" in the European Union (EU) and creating a "european security and defense identity" (ESDI). Perhaps more importantly, the United States proposed creating Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) headquarters in NATO. CJTFs were designed to give NATO the ability to deploy multinational force packages appropriate to the "task" at hand. The first purpose of the highly adaptable CJTFs would be to facilitate transAtlantic military responses to nontraditional security challenges, like the one that was developing in Bosnia. A secondary purpose, however, and one that became primary in the eyes of Paris, would be to allow the European allies to take responsibility for CJTF operations in which the United States chose not to be directly involved.

In the spring of 1994, Mitterrand and many French analysts apparently interpreted the CJTF initiative as a sign that the United States was preparing to back away from its active leadership of NATO, leaving a vacuum that France could fill by leading its Western European colleagues into the breach. This analysis, as it happened, was flawed on two counts. First, the United States would not abandon its leadership position in NATO, even though some Americans supported doing so. Second, the other Europeans were still sufficiently suspicious of French motives and methods that they were not of one mind about placing all their bets on Europeanization. In addition, Germany's support for ESDI did not include a willingness to bankroll expensive European defense programs that would only duplicate NATO capabilities. As it became clear that France's policy was based on shifting sands, the CJTF concept languished in difficult internal NATO negotiations, while a dying French president decided that he would not allow the FranceNATO rapprochement to proceed any further on his watch.

Meanwhile, another factor was eating away at the foundations of a Cold Warbased French defense posture. In 199091, President George Bush had shaped an international coalition to oust Iraqi forces from their occupation of Kuwait. When France decided to join that coalition, it had two fundamental problems. First, when France joined the air war against Iraqi targets, French aircraft could not initially fly at the same time as U.S. and British aircraft because of incompatible friendorfoe identification systems that could have led to fratricide among allied forces. Second, France had great difficultly mobilizing ground forces capable of operating in the coalition. As Chirac subsequently observed in a February 1996 interview with the France2 Television Network, France's military was "heavy and excessive, and does not allow us to fulfill our missions.... You saw it during the Gulf War: we had trouble deploying 10,000 men." In addition, participation in the Gulf coalition convinced French officials that France's ability to conduct independent foreign and defense policies in the future would require possession of its own overhead intelligence capabilities. These Gulf War experiences made a profound impression not only on France's professional military leadership, but also on the strategic thinking of Jacques Chirac.

The Chirac Reforms

Soon after assuming the presidency, Chirac made some fundamental decisions about French defense which included elements of both continuity and change. Chirac would maintain France's independent nuclear capabilities, a key pillar of Gaullist defense policy. Further, France would continue to pursue the goal of developing a European security and defense identity, which had been a central focus of Mitterrand's defense and European policies, enshrined in the EU's Treaty of Maastricht.

But Chirac had obviously concluded that France could not afford a fully autonomous conventional defense posture given domestic social needs and the demands for reductions in government spending to meet the criteria for European monetary union. At the same time, it had become clear that divergent concepts concerning the organization of European defense cooperation and freefalling European defense budgets would not allow France to rely on a defense framework built primarily around European cooperation, as Mitterrand had hoped to do. Chirac's approach proceeded from the judgment that France needed to pursue its security goals with a new blend of autonomy, symbolized and operationalized primarily by independent strategic nuclear forces, and cooperation with its European partners and with the United States, within the framework of the transAtlantic alliance. The question was how to mold a combination of Gaullist philosophy, European unity goals, the requirements of transAtlantic cooperation, and pragmatic strategic and financial considerations into a coherent defense policy. Chirac's answer was provided in subsequent months, culminating in release of a defense reform program in February 1996.

Nuclear Forces: The Ultimate Guarantor

One of Chirac's first steps toward his reform goal was to announce a controversial 11-month nuclear testing program that met widespread opposition in and beyond Europe. In spite of those protests, France, in September 1995, began a series of what turned out to be six nuclear tests at France's testing site in the South Pacific, a move that had been rejected by Chirac's predecessor as unnecessary. Chirac and his advisors nonetheless judged that the tests were essential to complete testing of the TN75 warhead for the M45 submarinelaunched ballistic missile, and to enhance French data on the performance of French nuclear weapons that would support development of computersimulation capabilities for future maintenance of the warhead stockpile.1 When the tests were completed ahead of time in February 1996, France had taken substantial flak from antinuclear forces in the Pacific region and even from a number of Western European states, but claimed to have accomplished the objectives of the program.

Defending the tests in a June 1996 speech to the Institute for Advanced National Defense Studies (HEDN), Chirac said his "first duty" was to guarantee that France would have "a reliable, certain deterrent force for as long as our security demands it." In January 1996, he reported that "thanks to the excellent results of our last series of tests, I have been able to announce the final cessation as well as the closure of our experimental facilities in the Pacific." Chirac also proclaimed French support for negotiation of a "zero option" (zero nuclear yield threshold) Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the closure of the Pierrelatte and Marcoule factories where fissile material for military use had been produced.

The defense reform program, made public in February 1996 just as the nuclear test series had concluded, called for a major restructuring of French nuclear forces. Even though the strategic nuclear capability remained critical to future French defense independence, nuclear forces clearly were not as important as they had been during the Cold War, and the French capabilities could be rationalized to match the new strategic realities as well as fiscal constraints. Chirac therefore decided to eliminate the landbased leg of France's strategic nuclear triad. The 18 groundtoground strategic missiles deployed on the Plateau d'Albion, with a range of 5,600 kilometers and 1megaton warheads, were taken off alert September 16, 1996. They are being removed from their silos and dismantled at the rate of one per month, with the process scheduled to conclude in the summer of 1998.

In addition, France's 30 450kilometer range, groundtoground Hades missiles, put in storage by Mitterrand, were ordered dismantled. Given their limited range, the missiles could only have hit targets in Germany from launch sites in France. Since their original development they had been nothing more than a thorn in the side of France's relationship with Germany.

When the reform package is fully implemented, French strategic nuclear forces are supposed to include:

  • four (reduced from the current number of five) nuclear missilelaunching submarines (SNLE), Le Triumphant-class, each with 16 missiles with up to eight warheads apiece;
  • modern groundbased aircraft and seabased strike aircraft equipped with air-to-ground nuclear missiles;
  • new warheads for the nuclear submarine force and new longer-range AirSol Moyenne Portee (ASMP) airlaunched nuclear missiles for deployment on land- and carrier-based aircraft.

According to Chirac, the planned deployments are at levels "strictly calculated to guarantee" French security. Future financial constraints, however, could force further reductions in system numbers. Under these circumstances, and given the residual size of U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals, Chirac observed that the time had not yet arrived for France to participate in negotiations to reduce strategic nuclear arms.

The nuclear force reform package will allow France to remain a nuclear power, with forces that are capable of playing a deterrent role, under a variety of circumstances for some time into the future, at a reduced price. But the reform package did not answer many outstanding questions about the role of French nuclear forces and the strategy for their use. Such questions, however academic they might appear in today's threat circumstances, nonetheless suggest that both France and its NATO allies would benefit from closer consultations about nuclear strategy, whether France rejoins NATO's integrated command structure.

Given the emerging focus of French and NATO defense planning on new threats beyond Europe, one question concerns the role of nuclear weapons in deterring the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by nonEuropean states. Chirac has clearly envisioned such a role for France's nuclear weapons. In a February 23, 1996 speech to the Military Academy, he noted: "Other continents already possess nuclear and nonnuclear massive destruction weapons and we cannot exclude the fact that they may one day also affect our vital interests. In these conditions, nuclear deterrence remains an imperious necessity...." Given the fact that France will most likely be dealing with nonEuropean security challenges in the company of European and NATO allies, it may be difficult to escape the requirement for closer French consultation with NATO in the future on the nuclear implications of possible WMD threats.

The most important question about French nuclear strategy is what role its forces will play beyond their place in France's national deterrence strategy, and what this could mean for the process of European integration and France's role in NATO. France has recently engaged in a dialogue with Western Europe's other nuclear power, the United Kingdom, in the framework of the FrancoBritish Joint Nuclear Commission. When Chirac met with former British Prime Minister John Major in October 1995, Major supported the French nuclear testing decision and the two leaders announced further development of their cooperation in nuclear relationships.2 These discussions suggested that the door might be opening for some new approaches to "concerted deterrence." For some time now, France has suggested that it would consider the eventual possibility of extending nuclear deterrence to its EU partners. When Chirac repeated the offer to open discussions on the topic in December 1995, it was seen by many as a cynical attempt to wrap the French testing decision in the protective garb of European unity. But the issue remains an important one for future French and European defense policy.

The issue came to the fore again when it was made public early in 1997 that Chirac and Germany's chancellor, Helmut Kohl, meeting in Nuremberg, Germany, in December 1996, had agreed on a "Joint Concept for FrenchGerman Defense and Security." The text of the accord attempts to reconcile transAtlantic nuclear relationships (vital for Germany) and European considerations (key to France's approach). The leaders apparently agreed to give a "new impetus" to their security and defense cooperation "in both a European and Atlantic perspective." They specified that France and Germany "are ready to open a dialogue on the role of nuclear deterrence in the framework of European defense policy." When German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe, in a January 29, 1997 Munich ARD Television Network interview, trumpeted the fact that the two had also agreed that NATO's nuclear defense and strategic systems, "particularly those of the United States," are the "decisive systems for security," with the French and British systems in a supporting role, a political firestorm broke out in Paris.

The socialist opposition, already troubled by Chirac's moves toward rapprochement with NATO, challenged the accord as a violation of established French defense doctrine. The Socialist Party leader, Lionel Jospin, warned the National Assembly against the "NATOization" of Europe. Former Socialist Defense Minister and Socialist Party defense spokesman Paul Quiles argued in a February 10, 1997 interview with the Cologne Deutshlandfunk Network that Europe needs to develop an "autonomous" common foreign, defense and security policy. Carrying the point further, Quiles referred to NATO as an "empire" in which the United States has a hegemonic role and right of veto: "This is how NATO works because unanimity is required, that is, a right to veto operations that the Europeans want to carry out...." Meanwhile, oldline Gaullists in the governing coalition, including former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Pierre Messmer, grumbled that "Germany wishes to bring France back into the U.S. orbit, so that it will lose its nuclear autonomy."3

Reforming France's Non-Nuclear Forces

The Franco-German Nuremberg agreement caused a political furor not so much for what it said but because it is set against the backdrop of broader change in France's defense posture. While Chirac can credibly argue that changes in the nuclear posture are largely intended to preserve France's independence and autonomy, the changes in the conventional area explicitly accept the necessity of France's reliance on cooperation with its European and transAtlantic partners. During the Cold War, France had the luxury of counting on the United States, Germany and other allies to man the front lines against a Warsaw Pact attack. In a relatively static military environment, France could derive influence from its independent role while its security remained well ensured.

Today, with the SovietWarsaw Pact threat gone, the front lines have moved. If France does not participate in shaping responses to the new security challenges around the edges of Europe and beyond, French influence and claim to leadership in Europe will suffer. In Chirac's judgment, France's existing conventional forces were not wellsuited to the kind of challenges likely to arise in the future. And he knew that France could not deal with most of those challenges on its own.

Explaining his military reform package, Chirac has noted that a "strategy of action, which is based on autonomous and projectable conventional forces, reliable command capabilities, and diversified intelligence capabilities, is regaining new importance." He said the mission of French armed forces remains "to protect our national territory and the French people," but argued that "this mission is being carried out beyond our borders, sometimes on the sidelines of Europe, anywhere that crises and conflicts could become contagious and threaten our territory and our security interests."

And so, Chirac proposed professionalizing French armed forces, shrinking their size and making them much more capable of intervention beyond France's borders in coalitions with France's EuroAtlantic allies. According to Chirac, "By virtue of its mobility and availability, the professional army of tomorrow will enable us to respond better to our security requirements, but also to those of Europe and its collective defense within the framework of the alliance."

At the end of the process, Chirac hopes to have reduced French defense manpower from Cold War levels of around 500,000 to some 350,000, and to be able to deploy up to 30,000 troops abroad plus one further brigade in a separate location at any one time. This will require deployable forces of 50,000-60,000 to take into account rotation requirements. Under the plan, France will also have the ability to deploy around 100 combat aircraft from bases which can be relocated, and the ability to deploy a naval air force and a substantial submarine force. According to Chirac's explanation of the program in his February 1996 speech to the Military Academy, a reformed conventional structure should include:

  • an army reorganized around an armored force, an engineering force, a rapidreaction armored intervention force, and an assault infantry force (replacing the current nine divisions); and an armored capacity balanced between heavy and light resources, using Leclerc tanks in combination with new Tiger helicopters and supported by modern artillery;
  • a navy with a naval air group (which initially will not be able to operate on a permanent basis unless and until a second aircraft carrier is funded and built) and a reduced but modernized attack submarine force;
  • an air force focused on longrange deployment of power, organized around the new Rafale as its main fighter aircraft; air transport capabilities will remain relatively static.

Chirac projected the cost of the program at 185 billion (1995) French francs per year over the 1997-2002 reform period. This compares with approximately 240 billion francs spent in 1995 and a 1996 budget of around 190 billion francs.

With regard to conventional arms control, France is an active participant in the negotiations to adapt the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty to new European conditions. But even though NATO has proposed "significant" reduction in overall Alliance levels, France sees no need to reduce its national allocations under the treaty. According to Jacques Rummelhardt, the Foreign Ministry's spokesman, "France does not envisage going ahead with reductions, bearing in mind the importance of its international commitments and the small part its national assets represent in Europe."4 Nevertheless, the reductions in tanks and other treatylimited equipment envisioned in the army's reform program will leave France substantially under its current treaty limits.

Finally, in the belief that "no country is a major power if it lacks an efficient and competitive arms industry," Chirac called for a plan to modernize and restructure French defense industries. Faced with declining markets and intensified international competition, particularly from American manufacturers, Chirac is pursuing a strategy of privatization and rationalization, placing emphasis on two major industrial sectors: electronics and aeronautics. Companies in these sectors will, according to Chirac, receive special attention to improve their ability to compete internationally. According to the plan, the industrial strategy should be developed in close cooperation with France's EU partners. Most other aspects of Chirac's conventional modernization program imply greater reliance on closer cooperation with the United States, but this aspect emphasizes a mixture of national independence and European cooperation to deal with the U.S. challenge in the defense industrial sector.

With this reform program, Chirac seeks to provide pragmatic answers to the difficult challenges posed by the changed threat circumstances and the limits on financial resources available for defense. The program acknowledges that France cannot ensure its security interests acting alone. It also acknowledges that France cannot ensure its security interests acting only in concert with its European partners. This reality is at the heart of France's continuing rapprochement with NATO.

The Alliance's Influence

As noted above, after Chirac succeeded Mitterrand in May 1995, France started moving decisively toward an accommodation with NATO.5 In December 1995, the French government announced a partial return to participation in NATO military bodies and consultations. France made a full return to NATO's integrated command structure dependent on sufficient revamping of NATO to make it a "new NATO" that created political and operational space for realization of a European security and defense identity within the transAtlantic alliance.

The NATO allies, believing that France's return to full participation would facilitate a more rational organization of transAtlantic and European defense cooperation, attempted to accommodate French perspectives. Particularly for new, noncollective defense (nonArticle V) missions, Paris argued that there should be more intrusive political control over military operations. France wanted to shift more influence over NATO decisions from the U.S. Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Defense Planning Committee to the alliance's key political decisionmaking body, the North Atlantic Council. As a concession to these French concerns, allied defense ministers decided to reduce the role of the Defense Planning Committee and to handle most business with the French minister participating in meetings of the North Atlantic Council "in defense ministers session." Further, a "Policy Coordination Group" was established to help integrate NATO political objectives and military operations, as France had desired.

After some hard bargaining over the shape of a "new" NATO, a framework agreement was hammered out at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin in June 1996. The allies agreed that a European security and defense identity would be created within the framework of the transAtlantic alliance by opening the possibility for European officers in the NATO structure to wear a Western European Union (WEU) command "hat" as well as their NATO hat. It was also agreed that the NATO structure and assets could, with the agreement of all the allies, be made available for future military operations commanded by the Western European Union. Most importantly, it was agreed that the senior European officer who in the future holds the position of deputy SACEUR would also be the senior WEU commander and would assume control of a WEUrun military operation, should one be undertaken.6 After Berlin, French officials suggested that if such "multiplehatting" command arrangements and the assetsharing plan were implemented, France would return to full participation in NATO's command structure.

The task of adjusting NATO's command structure to the new circumstances is well under way. In 1994, the allies reduced NATO commands from three to two, eliminating the Allied Command Channel (ACCHAN), leaving only Allied Command Europe (ACEUR), headquartered in Mons, Belgium, and led by an American, General George Joulwan, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR); and Allied Command Atlantic (ACLANT), headquartered in Norfolk, VA, also led by an American, Marine General and Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) John Sheehan. Meanwhile, NATO's Military Committee has been conducting a longterm study aimed at further rationalizing NATO's command structure. The final package will specify the number, locations and procedures for CJTF commands as well as reorganize the command structure with the new provisions for an enhanced European role.

A major direction of the longterm study has been toward a reduction of the number of Major Subordinate Commands (MSCs) within Allied Command Europe (ACEUR) from three to two. Currently, ACEUR's three MSCs are Allied Forces North West Europe (AFNORTHWEST), commanded by a British fourstar general; Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT), commanded by a German fourstar general; and Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSOUTH), commanded by an American fourstar admiral. Most allies have supported consolidating the North West and Central commands leaving two MSC's in ACEUR. Such a reduction, and other anticipated rationalizations, would lower the number of "flag" positions that will be available for national distribution in the new structure. This reduction in flag positions comes at a time when the number of allies in the command structure is increasing, with the potential integration of France and Spain and the likely enlargement of the alliance to include some Central and Eastern European nations.

The command allocation dilemma has been highlighted by the French desire, articulated following the Berlin meeting, to have a European officer take over from an American as commander of AFSOUTH. The logic of the French position was that, in the new structure, the United States will continue to control the positions of SACEUR and SACLANT. The two MSCs under SACEUR, according to the French view, should therefore go to European officers to make clear the increased European responsibility in the alliance. The United States has argued that the strategic importance of the Mediterranean and the critical role of the U.S. Sixth Fleet for Middle Eastern contingencies require that the United States keep the command. The French replied that the Mediterranean region is of particular importance to Europeans who are directly affected by developments there. Even with a European officer in charge of AFSOUTH, they pointed out, the Sixth Fleet would remain under U.S. command and available for Middle Eastern or other missions based on U.S. national decisions. Several allied governments initially supported the French position, but moderated their support when the United States made it clear that it was not prepared to give up command of AFSOUTH.

Allied officials now hope that some compromise package can be fashioned that will permit the reformadaptation package to be assembled and France to become a full participant in the integrated command structure. (Spain has already decided to join the new command structure, and final details on Spanish entry are being negotiated.) A compromise with France would likely include keeping AFSOUTH under U.S. leadership but specifying that this command, as well as others below the levels of SACEUR and SACLANT, is subject to rotation in the future. Another feature of the package, some have suggested, could include creation of a new Europeanled Mediterranean force projection command to demonstrate European responsibilities in the region.

As noted earlier, Chirac's defense spending and force posture decisions since coming to office suggest he has concluded that France cannot effectively ensure its future security interests except in cooperation with its allies, including the United States. A "new" NATO arguably provides the most effective framework for such cooperation. He faces opposition from Gaullists in his coalition and the opposition socialists to a return to full military cooperation in NATO. But not rejoining NATO would mean that France would not be able to take full advantage of the new alliance structures and procedures it helped to create. Following the news that a NATORussia summit might be held in Paris, according France a prominent role in NATO's evolution, some observers judged that Chirac would decide to accept a compromise on AFSOUTH and return France to full military cooperation in a "new" NATO.

One leading French defense commentator has noted the intimate political relationship between Chirac's defense reforms and the NATO participation issue. According to Daniel Vernet, "The very same people who are poised to denounce a betrayal' of Gaullism if the rapprochement with NATO goes ahead will censure the failure' of the political enterprise undertaken in December 1995 if NATO's reform fails to materialize." Vernet continues, "And the failure will have repercussions on the president's whole defense strategy, because the same arguments were used both to justify the return to NATO and to explain the restructuring of the French Armed Forces. Ultimately the consistency of his European options is at stake."7

Whether France returns to full NATO integration before the July 1997 Madrid NATO summit, Chirac's defense reforms, combined with geostrategic and fiscal realities, will bring France increasingly into the framework of transatlantic cooperation. Chirac's decision to call early parliamentary elections has added some potentially complicating aspects to the picture. If the governing centerright coalition had retained control of the National Assembly, Chirac would have had the political room required to proceed with implementation of his reforms and the rapprochement with NATO. The victory by the Socialists and their allies on the left, however, leaves Chirac with an uncomfortable cohabitation that will restrict his potential for maneuver. The Socialistled government will undoubtedly try to distinguish its approach from that of Chirac. But so far, the socialists have not developed any coherent alternative to Chirac's awkward but pragmatic synthesis of Gaullism, European unity, and transAtlantic cooperation.

Implications for the United States

These changes in French policy can be seen in different ways from Washington. On the one hand, Chirac's reforms are positioning France to be more capable of joining with the United States in efforts to preserve European and global stability. A more routine and reliable military relationship with France combined with more thoroughgoing political consultations in the NATO framework could reduce U.S.French misunderstandings about defense and arms control objectives. The United States clearly wants Europeans to carry more of the burden of maintaining global stability, and France's participation is key to a better burdensharing relationship. Without France, NATO's "European pillar" loses much of its military potential.

On the other hand, the U.S. desire for a larger European contribution to defense carries with it the requirement for more European influence in alliance decisionmaking. France has not been deeply involved in allied military decisions since leaving NATO's integrated command structure in the mid1960s. The difficult negotiations over control of the AFSOUTH command suggest that both France and the United States will have to make some adjustments in style and substance to ensure more effective working relationships in the future. A more integrated and assertive French voice in alliance councils could, on occasion, prove irksome and frustrating. French rhetoric about the need for European integration may occasionally run into contrary U.S. perceptions of what is required to ensure effective transAtlantic cooperation. On balance, however, a France that bases its defense policies on the goal of cooperation with its transAtlantic and European allies would likely be a better ally than one that is constantly striving to differentiate its approach from that of the United States.

 

NOTES:

1. When President Chirac originally announced the testing decision, he projected a total of eight underground tests between September 1995 and May 1996; presumably the international opposition to the tests as well as their purported technical success contributed to the reduction in number and shortened duration of the program.

2. Brown, Keven and Clark, Bruce, "UK Agrees NPact With France," Financial Times, October 31, 1995, p. 1.

3. Paris Match, interview with French Defense Minister Charles Millon, February 13, 1997, as reported by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Document number FBISWEU97027.

4. Paris Agence France Presse, February 21, 1997, as reported by Forieign Broadcast Information Service, Document number FBISWEU97036.

5. For an excellent analysis of France's developing relationship with NATO see: Grant, Robert. "France's New Relationship with NATO," Survival, vol.38, no.1, Spring 1996, pp.5880.

6.The broad concept for this reform and the Deputy SACEUR proposal in particular were originally laid out in Sloan, Stanley R. "NATO's Future: Beyond Collective Defense," published originally as a report to Congress and then by the National Defense University, Institute for National Strategic Studies McNair Paper Number 46, December 1995.

7. Vernet Daniel. "Jacques Chirac's European Dilemma," Le Monde, April 9, 1997, pp. 1, 14, as reported by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Document Number FBISWEU97069.

France, Britain Retire Aging Nuclear Weapon Systems

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