Sarkozy marches France back into Nato

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by fantassin, Mar 11, 2009.

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  1. Sarkozy marches France back into Nato

    Forty-three years after General de Gaulle threw American forces out of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, his political descendant, is expected to explain to a sceptical nation today why he is taking the country back into the core of the US-led Nato alliance.
    Mr Sarkozy's decision, outlined after his 2007 election and to be consummated at Nato's 60th birthday summit next month, will restore France's voice in the alliance command that de Gaulle expelled from its Paris headquarters in 1966, along with 100,000 French-based US personnel.
    The French military are delighted. They look forward to raising their Nato command contingent from 100 to 800 and taking up the two top posts that Washington has allocated France: The Allied Command Transformation (ACT), the future strategy unit, in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Lisbon command, which is in charge of Nato's rapid reaction force.

    More at:

    The figures quoted on the French contingent to NATO are very much on the low side as there are other much higher estimates floating around at the moment.
  2. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    In the whole, I think this is good news. The French staff that I worked with in Heidelberg were good guys as were the blokes in Kosovo. I alwas found it strange that whilst being there, they remained a second class citizen. I wonder, as our new and improved partners, if there will be more opportunities to cross train and exercise with them?

    It also brings a European Army a step closer too. Economies of scale anyone?
  3. Like everything to do with the French, if they don't get the lions share of the plum jobs, teddy will be thrown out of the pram and they'll threaten to pull out again.

    One good thing, though, there should be a strange noise coming from the churchyard at Colombey-les-deux-eglises as de Gaulle starts spinning in his grave.
  4. I remember that in about 1996(?) they made similar noises, got given a few good slots at SHAPE as part of the negotiations and then changed their minds at the last minute (they still trousered the posts though!). Certainly when I was based at NATO HQ about 10 years ago, France played a full part in all the NATO committees except the ones connected to force planning or nuclear stuff.
  5. It is going to be interesting times anyway. Those who have criticized France for being "out" will be the same that will criticize the "return" because they will "lose" slots. Some people just can't be pleased...

    Anyway, the US of A's answer to this return is actually very positive with the French General Staff being pleasantly surprised by the number of position being offered. Countries that are bound to lose positions of influence are of course less than chuffed but France has a very good answer to that: since its contribution is the 4/5 largest in NATO and its troop contribution 3/4 (year in, year out) why should it only have two stars in the command structure, much less than countries that do less and pay less ?
  6. Anyone else remember the Anglo French exercise "entente Cordiale 1" at the big exercise area near Montauban, cracking weather, swanning around Toulouse in a Bedford RL (the Frogs only had petrol power back then and we coudn,t take any MKs) got a go in one of their ex US Half tracks and various other enjoyable things. (that was way back in the 70,s when the power went off all over France (except the big Towns) after 2200hrs. (Then they built lots of big Nuclear power stations and never looked back - perhaps a salutory lesson) In the bars the locals wouldn,t talk to us at first because they thought we were some French Para military police unit which had a very nasty rep. back then. (can,t remember the name of it?????) Ahh memories of days in the sunshine.........
  7. It's been now officialy announced....

    France ends four-decade Nato rift

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced his country is to return to Nato's military command, reversing four decades of self-imposed exile.

    Mr Sarkozy confirmed the decision in a speech to defence experts at the Ecole Militaire staff college in Paris.

    President Charles de Gaulle pulled France out of Nato's integrated military command in 1966, saying it undermined France's sovereignty.

    Critics say France will now be no more than "a clone of Great Britain".

    But Mr Sarkozy said there was no sense in France - a founder member of Nato - having no say in the organisation's decisions on military strategy.

    "This rapprochement with Nato ensures our national independence," said Mr Sarkozy. "To distance ourselves would limit our independence and our room for manoeuvre."

    "We have to be progressive," he said. "A solitary nation is a nation that has no influence whatsoever."

    "We need strong diplomacy, a strong defence and a strong Europe."

    He said Nato remained a central element of France's security and defence policies, but stressed that he would not give up the country's independent nuclear deterrent.

    Mr Sarkozy is expected to formalise the move with a letter to Nato before the alliance celebrates its 60th anniversary next month with a summit in the French city of Strasbourg.

    Military action

    Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer warmly welcomed Mr Sarkozy's announcement.

    "[France's] full participation in all the civil and military decision-making and planning processes cannot but strengthen the alliance further," he said.
  8. That's NATO, or should I say OTAN, 'cream-crackered' then.

    Love France, do not love France's politicians!