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France and Russia in the 21st C. ?

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Having a bit of a delve into French internal politics <shudder> I came across this:

Mission Unaccomplished: France’s Monsieur Macron Visits the Baltics

France has historically cozied up to the Bear in the fond belief that an alliance with Russia will help keep the Krauts unbalanced.

Another tangle with history arises when Macron tries to persuade his partners that France is fully committed to their defence and sovereignty. But most of the Central and East European countries are simply not convinced that France would be committed to the defence of their independence any more than in the late 1930s; instead, they are afraid that France might be tempted to negotiate against their interests with Russia.

Clément Beaune, France’s Secretary of State for European affairs, has recently published a 20-page article explaining Macron’s vision for Europe, in which he claims the French ambition is to talk to everyone. Nevertheless, France’s objective of developing bilateral relations with Central and East European countries has mostly failed until now. During Macron’s recent visit, the formation of a ‘quadrilateral’ format of consultation involving the French and Baltic foreign ministries was announced. Details of this initiative are still missing, but this is an encouraging step. Still, France cannot just build this dialogue at the top levels. French public diplomacy in this region has to be refashioned in order to give more space to civil society and think tank initiatives. Such a strategy would not only help France to reduce misunderstandings with its Central and East European partners, but it would also help convince France’s partners about its commitments to uphold their security.

Unfortunately, however, Macron is still pursuing the mirage of French leadership over the EU’s diplomacy. The reality is that France is more and more isolated: to the scepticism from Baltic states regarding Macron’s dialogue with Russia, one should expect a similar attitude from important Central European countries such as Poland and Romania. France’s dynamism is admirable. But it is also frequently clumsy.


I would be interested to hear from eg @fantassin , @Condottiere ,@fairmaidofperth and others with a close connection with France how they see this panning out ?

(and if only to give us a rest from the eternal handbagging around the US election )


In your own time - go on .
 
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4(T)

LE
I guess that, having collectively wrecked Europe's energy supply through green zealotry, France is hoping to get some of that nice Russian gas that keeps Germany afloat.
 
I guess that, having collectively wrecked Europe's energy supply through green zealotry, France is hoping to get some of that nice Russian gas that keeps Germany afloat.
?????
 

Yokel

LE
I guess that, having collectively wrecked Europe's energy supply through green zealotry, France is hoping to get some of that nice Russian gas that keeps Germany afloat.

I thought that most of the electricity generated in France came from nuclear power? With the increased role of wind/solar/etc does France need to import gas the same way that we do?

So it is not likely to be that. I imagine the Russians are interfering in French political processes the same as they are everywhere.
 
Having a bit of a delve into French internal politics <shudder> I came across this:

Mission Unaccomplished: France’s Monsieur Macron Visits the Baltics

France has historically cozied up to the Bear in the fond belief that an alliance with Russia will help keep the Krauts unbalanced.

Another tangle with history arises when Macron tries to persuade his partners that France is fully committed to their defence and sovereignty. But most of the Central and East European countries are simply not convinced that France would be committed to the defence of their independence any more than in the late 1930s; instead, they are afraid that France might be tempted to negotiate against their interests with Russia.

Clément Beaune, France’s Secretary of State for European affairs, has recently published a 20-page article explaining Macron’s vision for Europe, in which he claims the French ambition is to talk to everyone. Nevertheless, France’s objective of developing bilateral relations with Central and East European countries has mostly failed until now. During Macron’s recent visit, the formation of a ‘quadrilateral’ format of consultation involving the French and Baltic foreign ministries was announced. Details of this initiative are still missing, but this is an encouraging step. Still, France cannot just build this dialogue at the top levels. French public diplomacy in this region has to be refashioned in order to give more space to civil society and think tank initiatives. Such a strategy would not only help France to reduce misunderstandings with its Central and East European partners, but it would also help convince France’s partners about its commitments to uphold their security.

Unfortunately, however, Macron is still pursuing the mirage of French leadership over the EU’s diplomacy. The reality is that France is more and more isolated: to the scepticism from Baltic states regarding Macron’s dialogue with Russia, one should expect a similar attitude from important Central European countries such as Poland and Romania. France’s dynamism is admirable. But it is also frequently clumsy.


I would be interested to hear from eg @fantassin , @Condottiere ,@fairmaidofperth and others with a close connection with France how they see this panning out ?

(and if only to give us a rest from the eternal handbagging around the US election )


In your own time - go on .
I agree to a certain extent.

However, France was/is committed to the NATO alliance despite having been outside the integrated military structure for a long time.

France is very good at looking after its own interests and will not automatically toe the Washington line. The U.K. and France both learned similar lessons from the Suez debacle. But the two countries took very different courses of action to apply the lessons learned. Which course was the better one is still open to debate.
 
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The French are still upset at not being able to sell arm armful of helicopter assault ships to the Russians.
 

Yokel

LE
The French are still upset at not being able to sell arm armful of helicopter assault ships to the Russians.

They sold two of them to Egypt but I have no idea what sort of price they go for them. What happened to the other two?

I did wonder if one of them could be adapted to do satellite launches from the equator, not unlike the Sea Launch system but using an ESA launch vehicle like Vega.
 
They sold two of them to Egypt but I have no idea what sort of price they go for them. What happened to the other two?

I did wonder if one of them could be adapted to do satellite launches from the equator, not unlike the Sea Launch system but using an ESA launch vehicle like Vega.

sold cheap, other two not built, French caught a Cold.
still huge amounts of French EO technology in Russian military gear though,
 
France's position is that it is simply not possible not to talk with the largest country on the planet. It is a matter of realism. It is not because it grates a moribund organisation called NATO that Russia should be ignored.

On top of that, there are a number of affective ties between France and Russia, especially in the cultural field, but not only (think Normandie-Niémen squadron for example). This means that even in the coldest part of the Cold War, France and Russia were still talking.

In France, Russia has always been seen as a nation which deserved respect and has had it very rough for centuries. The role played by Russia in the defeat of Nazi Germany is not played down like in other Western nations. Putin's "strong man" antics are also appreciated by a number of far-right French voters who tend to forget the mafia state the same Putin has created

Nevertheless, the French diplomatic corps and the French military are not blind. Russian cyber attacks against Macron's party, Russian attempts to exploit opportunities in various places to weaken French influence or to undermine NATO are known and noted. But if you compare Trump, Erdogan and Putin, I am not sure who has done more to undermine NATO in the past 4 years...

All to say that France believes in multilateralism, not blind obedience to the USA, especially to Trump's USA. This has always grated with a number of NATO nations that would like to see France toe the US line not matter what. It is often seen as arrogance by nations that are happy just doing what they are told by NATO and do not have national strategies beyond the defense of their own borders.

Russia obviously has a role to play in the greater scheme of things and France believes that Russia needs to be brought back into the "concert of nations", at its rightful place, not as a nefarious actor.

To blame Macron for not having achieved results in one year is a bit childish; you do not change the attitude of a colossus like Russia over the course of a few months. Maybe Macron will fail, but I very much agree with his policy of reaching out to Russia.

Let's not forget that this huge country has the same GDP as Spain and that apart from exploiting Western blunders and using Cyber attacks and Hybrid warfare on the fringes of the Russian empire, Putin is not in position to roll his armored divisions across the Fulda Gap like his predecessors were.
 
Russia invaded back and brought back Republican ideas. It is all forgotten now...
And fast food service...........: “Bistro! Bistro!”
 
Russia invaded back and brought back Republican ideas. It is all forgotten now...
They were hoping to return in WW2 and the PCF was prepared to assist.
 
They were hoping to return in WW2 and the PCF was prepared to assist.

The PCF leader Maurice Thorez had enough skeletons in his cupboards to be kept in check by de Gaulle and then his successors .

Agitation, pressure, strikes yes but the only attempted Coup of post WW2 in France was caused by the Right, not by the PCF.
 
They sold two of them to Egypt but I have no idea what sort of price they go for them. What happened to the other two?

I did wonder if one of them could be adapted to do satellite launches from the equator, not unlike the Sea Launch system but using an ESA launch vehicle like Vega.
France has the space centre in Guyane, at present it doesn’t need an alternative launch site.
 
My tuppenceworth: France is hoping to exploit the cooling German-Russian relationship. To keep all diplomatic channels smooth, and of course to annoy the Germans.
 

Yokel

LE
France has the space centre in Guyane, at present it doesn’t need an alternative launch site.

True - and the Ariane launch site is close the the equator, and it is unlikely that a ship based system could launch the same payload as Ariane 5/6. Is there a market for smaller launchers?

I seem to remember Dassault proposing a mini satellite launcher launched from the Rafale.
 
My tuppenceworth: France is hoping to exploit the cooling German-Russian relationship. To keep all diplomatic channels smooth, and of course to annoy the Germans.

France is annoyed at Germany's refusing to shoulder the international responsibilities that come along with its wealth and economical clout.
 
France is annoyed at Germany's refusing to shoulder the international responsibilities that come along with its wealth and economical clout.
Entirely possible. Germany and Russia have been getting chummy, but Merkel seems to be cooling that as part of her legacy.
 

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