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 envision how French defense coverage has advanced considering that Charles de Gaulle set it on an autonomous 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 present day is whether or not the Gaullist legacy will let a powerful and assured France to play an entire position in Europe's new defense preparations or no matter if France, as a result of its will to independence, is destined to play an remoted, nationwide function. Gordon analyzes army doctrines, innovations, and budgets from the Nineteen 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 principles have for therefore lengthy encouraged French protection coverage and examines attainable new instructions for France in an more and more united yet in all likelihood volatile Europe.
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Extra info for A Certain Idea of France
From the very start of the postwar era, France was more preoccupied with its global than with its European role. It was not long after V-E Day that the French army, already largely decimated by the events of June 1940 and still stunned by the experience, had to take up arms abroad. Four years of war had unleashed feelings of nationalism and desires for independence in the French empire and trying to thwart these desires became the overwhelming focus of the French army for more than a decade after World War II.
20 Such loyalty, or civic duty, is impossible where the community is vague, heterogeneous, or lacking the unity that a nation-state can provide. It would be impossible to build a lasting political community on a multinational entity and expect it to function or survive. Thus, only a state—and only a democratic one because it provides for the expression of a people’s “general will”—legitimately represents the people whose support it requires. Nation-states had this primary role to de Gaulle, though, not only because they were legitimate representatives and valid actors but also because they were the only actors capable of real achievement.
A leading European and world power since the sixteenth century, having the largest army in Europe since World War I (when it mobilized no less than four million men), and traditionally insistent on maintaining forces at least equivalent to those of other European powers, France suddenly found 24 CHAPTER 2 itself lagging behind. Not only was military power in Western Europe for the first time primarily American but even among the Europeans themselves it was not long before the French found their contribution dwarfed by Germany’s, despite the fact that the Federal Republic did not even have an army until 1955.
A Certain Idea of France by Phillip H. Gordon