France Defies US on NATO

Who would ever have guessed that France’s reentry into the NATO military command would cause headaches for the United States?

French defense minister Herve Morin signaled that his country will attempt to be a counterweight to the United States now that it rejoined the NATO military command.  In addition to reiterating that France will not send more troops to Afghanistan, it will oppose a “global NATO” and insist on a Russian veto over further eastward expansion.  These policies are all directly opposite the preferences of the United States under both the Bush and Obama administrations.

But, as I argue in my New Atlanticist piece, “France in Collision Course on NATO?” it’s more likely than not that France is right on at least the expansion issue.

Regardless, as Ken Weisbrode has pointed out, France never left NATO and has always been a powerful player.  To the extent that having the Alliance’s fourth largest contributor even more integrated into the decision-making makes it harder to achieve consensus, it’s probably a good thing. We celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall this year and will soon do the same for the end of the Cold War.  It’s high time NATO figured out its new mission.

More at the link.

Photo: Reuters Pictures.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. NATO’s new mission is apparently not “global”, not more troops in Afghanistan and not further east (unless Russia changes its spots). What does that leave?

  2. James Joyner says:

    What does that leave?

    Just the deterrence mission, really. And I’m not sure what it is we’re deterring.

    I’ve got some extended thoughts on that here: French NATO Return Provides Opportunity to Reflect

  3. Triumph says:

    Who would ever have guessed that France’s reentry into the NATO military command would cause headaches for the United States?

    Dude, the French have been a pain since the freedom fries incident. They aint got no gamee to bring now. Theys liberals whose going to suffer a fate worse than torture.

  4. Eneils Bailey says:

    Dude, the French have been a pain since the freedom fries incident.

    No, son,
    You are wrong, just try to curb your ignorance and employ your sense of history, if you were ever taught any any remembered it.

    The problem with the French started with Charles DeGualle in the sixties; and it was not about French fries after 2001, with or without ketsup.
    The Allies bailed France and freed France in WWII. deGaulle hid out his ass in London till after the Normandy invasion. Rode into Paris in an American jeep and upon the backs of thousands of Americans and Allied forces who lay dead in his wake.
    He regained control of France.
    Abanoned NATO.
    Went to Canada and almost incited riots in the sixties trying to get Quebec to become a French colony.
    The French back in NATO, that’s like tossing a turd into the punch bowl.

  5. SFC SKI says:

    How about we welcome back France into the NATO fold by giving them the UN as a gift?

  6. Eneils Bailey says:

    How about we welcome back France into the NATO fold by giving them the UN as a gift?

    Yeah, and it would be appropriate for them to convene in Paris, on the river Seine, on garbage scows

    Running this group of ne’er do wells and misfits off to Paris would raise the intelligence level of both countries.

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