A Certain Idea of France by Phillip H. Gordon

By Phillip H. Gordon

As France starts off to confront the recent demanding situations of the post-Cold conflict period, the time has come to ascertain how French protection coverage has developed on the grounds that Charles de Gaulle set it on an self sufficient direction within the Nineteen Sixties. Philip Gordon exhibits that the Gaullist version, opposite to broadly 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 lines on French army budgets. The query this day is whether or not the Gaullist legacy will allow a powerful and assured France to play a whole function in Europe's new safeguard preparations or even if France, as a result of its will to independence, is destined to play an remoted, nationwide position. Gordon analyzes army doctrines, thoughts, and budgets from the Sixties to the Nineteen Nineties, and likewise the evolution of French coverage from the early debates approximately NATO and the ecu neighborhood to the Persian Gulf struggle. He unearths how and why Gaullist rules have for therefore lengthy inspired French protection coverage and examines attainable new instructions for France in an more and more united yet probably volatile Europe.

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For de Gaulle, supranational integration was a process, not an end in itself, and it was used by its advocates as a smokescreen for inaction. It would not amount to a regeneration of Western European states but, rather, lead to relinquishing the ability to defend their interests. Not only 12 CHAPTER 1 would France lose its ability to act if it were integrated into a European federation but so would the other European states as well. An inevitably artificial federation in Europe, de Gaulle believed, would lead either to an entity in which nothing would get done, or worse, one that would be dominated from the outside, that is, by the United States.

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.

Whereas on 14 CHAPTER 1 one hand the great successes of the European Community have demonstrated the need for cooperation and the pooling of national sovereignty, the breakup of artificial federations in Eastern Europe and the USSR, as well as the disturbing growth in the xenophobic extreme Right in Western Europe, are reminders of the importance of the legitimate national community. If the early European federalists were thus right to stress the need for European integration in an interdependent world, de Gaulle was also right to underline the importance of the true pillars of Europe, the states.

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