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Sarkozy Confirms France Will Rejoin NATO

From France’s AFP:

Sarkozy overhauls the military as France plans return to NATO

by Carole Landry

PARIS, June 17, 2008 (AFP) – President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday launched a major overhaul of the French military, cutting back the armed forces, beefing up intelligence and setting a course for France’s return to NATO command.

A leaner, more mobile and high-tech military will allow France to confront new threats, in particular terrorism which poses the greatest danger, Sarkozy said in an address to some 3,000 officers in Paris.

Bringing France closer to the United States on defence, Sarkozy confirmed that France will soon return to NATO’s integrated command, which it left in 1966 when Charles de Gaulle rejected US dominance of the alliance.

"Today, the most immediate threat is that of a terrorist attack", said the president in a defining speech as commander-in-chief.

"The threat is there, it is real and we know that it can tomorrow take on a new form, even more serious, with nuclear, chemical and biological means," he said.

To face up to the threat, Sarkozy announced a "massive investment effort in intelligence" to make use of satellites, drones and other airborne surveillance equipment…

Sarkozy stressed that France would remain "an independent ally" and keep its nuclear deterrent forces under strict national control when it re-joins NATO command, which officials have said is expected to take place in 2009…

Rejoining the military command is seen mostly as a symbolic gesture that would entail the appointment of several French generals to NATO military headquarters and to the alliance’s defence planning committee.

But opposition leftists have criticized the move, saying it confirms a shift toward a pro-US stance under Sarkozy’s leadership and a loss of independence that has been a hallmark of French foreign policy for decades.

France will spend a total of 377 billion euros (583 billion dollars) from 2009 to 2020 on defence including 200 billion euros on new equipment, said Sarkozy. As of 2012, the military budget will increase, he said.

The new security doctrine followed the release on Monday of the first review in 14 years of the French military in a white paper drafted by a blue-ribbon panel of 35 experts.

With the largest army in the European Union, France for the first time made homeland security part of its defence strategy to confront threats from terrorism, cyber-attacks and natural disasters…

More good news from the greatest Frenchman since Brigitte Bardot.

But opposition leftists have criticized the move, saying it confirms a shift toward a pro-US stance under Sarkozy’s leadership and a loss of independence that has been a hallmark of French foreign policy for decades.

And by "independence" the left means being in lockstep with any and all enemies of the United States.

But now where are the Chablis and brie crowd going to move?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, June 17th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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