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By Phillip H. Gordon

As France starts to confront the recent demanding situations of the post-Cold conflict period, the time has come to ascertain how French safety coverage has developed on account that Charles de Gaulle set it on an self sustaining direction within the Sixties. Philip Gordon indicates that the Gaullist version, opposite to generally held ideals, has lived on--but that its inherent inconsistencies have grown extra acute with expanding eu unification, the diminishing American army position in Europe, and comparable traces on French army budgets. The query at the present time is whether or not the Gaullist legacy will allow a powerful and assured France to play an entire function in Europe's new protection preparations or no matter if France, due to its will to independence, is destined to play an remoted, nationwide function. Gordon analyzes army doctrines, ideas, and budgets from the Nineteen Sixties to the Nineties, and in addition the evolution of French coverage from the early debates approximately NATO and the eu neighborhood to the Persian Gulf battle. He unearths how and why Gaullist principles have for therefore lengthy motivated French protection coverage and examines attainable new instructions for France in an more and more united yet very likely volatile Europe.

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Surely de Gaulle did not, as Robert Aron wrote in 1966, “[oppose] every major effort . . 41 But his emphasis on France’s independence and grandeur did slow progress toward European unity in important ways. It was also true, as these critics argue, that de Gaulle’s wartime experience left him with an intense aversion to having to act as demandeur; de Gaulle did not like being a subordinate partner (although his Fourth Republic predecessors, after all, were not immune to this aversion either). De Gaulle’s rhetoric, moreover, often seemed to suggest that he viewed independence as a value in and of itself.

If a state began to think of itself as a dependent, as nothing more than a passive follower, it was just one step away from giving up its interests all together. Dependence only bred resentment, which was healthy for neither partner in a relationship. This conviction was doubtless one of the driving forces behind the General’s hostility toward the Fourth Republic, a regime that he believed was committing suicide, voluntarily giving up. Given these perspectives, it is not difficult to see why de Gaulle insisted so strongly that France’s defense should be independent.

The policies developed and pursued in France in the 1960s, now so readily identified as “Gaullist,” in fact have roots that were clearly planted in the years that preceded the General’s return to power. Fourth Republic leaders had to make national security policy in the same bipolar world and divided Europe as de Gaulle would, a world in which French prominence, like that of other European states, was drastically reduced. Their strategic choices in this environment—an anchor in the NATO Alliance, solidifying Western Europe to resist the Communist East—were inevitably dictated by the compelling circumstances of the period but were no less influenced by the particular French desires of national revival, the maintenance of a global role, and influence on, if not freedom from, the dominant United States.

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