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French military strategy added to Napoleonic plans

French military strategy added to Napoleonic plans

07.03.2018
Tags: France, Politics, NATO, Analytics, War

France needs to confirm its independence from NATO - French parliamentarians who have made an amendment to the country's draft military strategy called for this. Who made such an initiative, is there a great chance for it to pass and whether it is possible to seriously expect the return of the French to de Gaulle's behests?

The NATO bloc is pursuing a militant policy and evading compliance with international law, so France needs to confirm its strategic independence from the alliance. This is stated in the amendment to the bill on military planning of the country for 2019-2025 years. The document was submitted to the National Assembly - the lower house of the French Parliament.

"Wherever NATO intervened (for example, in Afghanistan or Libya), everything ended in indescribable chaos, accompanied by increased terrorism, millions of refugees, the ruin of cities and the disappearance of countries from the map of the world," the RT text quotes.

The amendment also says that NATO supports militant policies and evades compliance with international law and UN resolutions. In addition, according to the authors of the document, the deployment of anti-ballistic missile elements in France put the country in dependence on the United States.

The initiative is on the left, but there are also "sovereigns" on the right

Judging by the text of the document, the amendment was made by a group of deputies from the left party La France insoumise ("Unconquered France"), including the party leader and candidate from it in the recent presidential election Jean-Luc Melanchon. The program of "Unconquered France" includes, among other things, the withdrawal of the country from NATO and the restoration of normal relations with Russia.

The leader of the "leftists" Melanchon, we recall, took the fourth place in the first round, surpassing the candidate from the then ruling socialists and not far behind Marin Le Pen with her 21% of votes. In the parliament, party members Melanchon, however, are represented fairly modestly - only 17 seats from 577 deputies of the National Assembly and no representative in the senate of the republic.

This anti-NATO initiative of the left can hardly be approved by the lower house, the leading researcher of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, an expert on France Sergei Fyodorov, predicts in a comment to the newspaper VZGLYAD. But, the expert notes, this initiative should not be discounted - given that it expresses public sentiments broader than Melanchon's electorate.

French publicist and public figure Dmitry de Coshko said in an interview with the newspaper VZGLYAD: "There are" sovereigns "on the right and on the left. The question of sovereignty now exceeds this division. So it is not very correct to divide this concept, as during the Cold War and the Soviet Union. "

Many French politicians from the left flank are pacifistic, they criticize NATO and Europe's policies, which they believe are aimed at increasing military spending and so on, Fedorov said.

"France, despite the fact that nine years ago returned to NATO, always advocated for autonomy, for a strong European policy,

independent in the field of defense and security, "the expert said. It was still from the time of de Gaulle, who put forward slogans emphasizing that Europe is a power.

Mismatch with the trend?

Recall that France was one of the co-founders of the alliance in 1949, but in 1966, by the decision of President Charles de Gaulle, the country withdrew from the NATO military organization, remaining a member of the political structure of the alliance.

The reintegration of France into NATO began under the Socialist Francois Mitterrand, and party affiliation did not subsequently influence this process. Return to the alliance continued under the Gaulist Jacquet Chirac (in 1999, the country participated in the NATO operation against Yugoslavia) and ended in 2009. Then the president-Gaullist Nicolas Sarkozy returned the country to all structures of the alliance. At the next president of the republic - the socialist François Hollande - France became the fourth largest sponsor of the alliance. This is despite the fact that the French forces make up only 7% of the contingent participating in NATO operations.

The current President Emmanuel Macron promised during the election campaign to bring military spending to 2% of GDP - in accordance with the agreements of Paris within the alliance. In February, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a plan, according to which over the next seven years, the cost of military spending will grow to 300 billion euros.

The current initiative of the French parliamentarians is not just to return to the de Gaulle doctrine, but to distance themselves from NATO - at first glance does not fit into this trend into armament. But note that last year in the countries of continental Europe they started talking about the creation of their own defense tool with the goal of liberation from the US in matters of defense.

"Europe wants to get rid of the US in matters of defense," Paris Figaro said last November. Then the press of France and Germany widely discussed the creation of Pesco, the prototype of the European army. The agreement on this 14 November 2017 signed most of the EU countries. The newspaper VZGLYAD analyzed in detail what the creation of a pan-European army can do and how this will affect the relations between the European Union and the United States.

The "Europe-Power" is remembered not only in the French army

President Emmanuel Macron, with all his Atlantic orientation, "on the other hand, wants to pursue an independent and pragmatic policy," believes Dmitry de Koshko. In the French officer corps, whose opinion the president of the republic can not ignore, the camp of the "Gaullist-anti-NATO" is still strong. The position of this group is not as strong as before, the interlocutor points out.

But a number of events play into the hands of supporters of an independent line in the military issue. So, recalls de Cauchy, the United States banned France from selling to Egypt one of the parties of the Rafal planes, "because there was an electronic device that was made in the US". Much of the definition of the political line depends on the financial lobby, which is heavily dependent on Washington's opinion, but there is also a certain amount of irritation accumulated there, de Koshko said.

He recalled how in 2014 the US demanded from one of France's largest banks BNP Paribas to pay a fine of 9 billion dollars for violation of the US sanctions regime against a number of countries, including Cuba, Sudan and Iran. De Coshko notes:

"Everyone knew that this was a racket, but everyone knew that this was the rule of the strongest."

There is a duality: on the one hand, France is a member of NATO, but at the same time it has remained independent, for example, in the use of nuclear weapons, Sergei Fedorov points out. The French, though participating in NATO operations, however "clearly observe their sovereignty and do not allow anyone to take command of their armed forces. This is the alpha and omega of French politics. " That is, the French consider NATO an indispensable organization, but in every possible way they try to promote the idea of ​​an independent Europe and its defense, Fedorov explained.

Of course, they will not say that NATO is a "bad block" that needs to be dissolved. They can only admit "that NATO needs further modernization, improvement," the source said. At the same time, "an important part of French politics is that they are striving to create a structure - parallel and joint with NATO, but nevertheless an independent European army that would be an addition to NATO," Fedorov said.

In September, President of France Emmanuelle Macron stated about the need to create such a more autonomous body on military and political issues within the EU. The statements of US President Donald Trump, his criticism of the EU, further "spurred the French old idea of ​​a" Europe-state, "the expert said.

The EU is working in this direction, said Fedorov. "There is an intensified, so-called structured partnership in the military field. This is the subject of EU summits, where a number of measures in this area have already been taken, "the expert concluded.

Actually, the idea of ​​"Europe as a power" is being built for Napoleonic times, when France alone made an attempt to master the continent. Charles de Gaulle revived the Continental line (as opposed to the "Atlantic" line), which in the middle of the last century made a bid for a partnership with the FRG. As for relations with Russia, the president-general corrected the "Napoleonic idea": "Napoleon attacked Alexander I, and this was the most blatant mistake he ever made." The political heirs of de Gaulle can not but remember this aphorism.


Expert Comments

Ivan Blot, French political scientist, former deputy of the European Parliament

The opportunity for France to gain greater independence with regard to NATO - this could only be welcomed. However, it is very difficult to characterize the policy of Emmanuel Macron. Officially, his position is very close to the position of the US and the alliance. But at the same time he is in favor of France's greater independence in matters of defense. Therefore, it is very difficult to foresee what the next step of the president will be. His predecessor Francois Hollande did not want to seek such independence of France. Pressure from the US in this case, very tangible. The relationship between Donald Trump and Macron is not clear. I'm not sure that Macron always supports the position of the US president.

Marina Baltachevo, Michael Moshkin
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