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The Americanization of France

Okay, the headline is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but not entirely unwarranted:
The Economist reports about the novelties in the new French defense review. The white paper defines France's "first formal national security strategy, to be overseen by a new national security council." That sounds very American, does not it? There will also be a new national intelligence co-ordinator, answering to the president, just like in the US. And, the white paper approves France's reintegration into NATO's military command structure.

The Atlantic Community has published a transatlantic press round-up about France's Adoption of a Multilateral Defense Policy.

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Joe Noory on :

[i]"first formal national security strategy, to be overseen by a new national security council."[/i] In their grand tradition of military strongman figures and lionized Generals, I'm not sure the public would fee so bad about doing something that those vile [i]Amerloques[/i] would do.

franchie on :

joe : prout prout

joe on :

Actually this is the after thought for the on going cuts in the french defense budget. These cuts are of course justified given france faces no real threat and besides does anyone really believe the french would actually fight for any other reason than to continue to be a neo colonial power.

Pat Patterson on :

My reading of the recently released French white papaer was that most of these cuts are going to take place in the reserves, who will be attached to the Gendermarie, who are going to have their bases closed, lose all their heavy equipment and be used only for internal disaster relief or riots. But like in the US many small towns will fight these closings, just as they did and continue in the US, fearing a loss of income and prestige. The paper claims that they will be able to finish upgrading its decades old helicopter fleet, acquire the number of Rafales ordered, upgrade the LeClerc and acquire a combat vehicle similar to the Stryker. As well as new long and short range air transport and refueling capability. Which sounds more like Sarkozy is pushing for a centralized command with resupply and not a dilution of forces where ever the French have traditional interests. The goal seems to be to spend more on a professional army and less on the reserve formations. But the real problem will be the willingness of the Assembly to swallow the perceived loss of power by downgrading or eliminating some of its overseas garrisons. If the naval base at Papeete is closed then Tahiti will become independent ASAP. Which is too bad because the fights between the French Marines and the Legionaires vs. the Polynesians were really fun to watch from safely across the street. At least until the knives and the baseball bats came out.

franchie on :

Pat, you got it for once :lol: my hubby made his conscription service in Papeete, he was kind of "Aide de Camp" to the Amiral there, who also was the former big boss of the green french berets (ie Vietnam war, Algeria war). In the occurence this was during the atom bombs tests. Effectively, the Island was full of legionnaires that weren't allowed to wear there uniform, cause Russian pseudo-fishing ships with multi sattellites antens were around. There were such big and crazy fights with the Tahitians, that were jalous of the Frenchs that got their girls, because of the money. They used to tell my hubby "if you have any problem with the Tahitians, don't shout "help" but "A moi la légion". Also he said this were the best holidays he ever had, paid by the state. The amiral's wife was Chinese, and used to make everything in the "Faré", she even made my hubby' bed and brought him breakfasts. My Hubby was supposed to help in the intendance, as chief staff for the Tahitians that were enrolled as a conter-part for the domestic work (this was (getting a Tahitian at work, was the last thing to make in a life man, where one French would have been used, 10 Tahitians were necessary), but instead he was doing an officer work, transmission of the Amiral's orders to the rest of the QG. The officers that had a hard military education were jaelous, they wanted to "punish" him ; The Amiral, that hadn't the classical "military spirit" had to intervene ; saying that my hubby wasn't a carrière military, but a conscript that hadn't ask to come in the army, that he was at his service, and that the officers should leave in peace the kind of conscripts, but a military that had chosen the army, must endure severity. Tahiti lost a lot when the bomb tests ceased, even the Légion isn't there anymore ; there have been compensasion allocations such RMI, but it ain't any good there, it keeps the people lazy, they won't even go fishing anymore for their every day lunch, but instead buy tons of beer (manouilla there) They need our tax money, I don't think they really want their independance,what will happen to them ? (may-be the US will replace us :lol:) it's also like Corsica...

Anonymous on :

"getting a Tahitian at work, was the last thing to make in a life man, where one French would have been used, 10 Tahitians were necessary" *lol*, that reminds me of letters from german colonies, cited in almost every documentary about the subject :D "it's also like Corsica..." didn´t France´s greatest man come from Corsica? :)

Zyme on :

err that was me

franchie on :

the problem with the Tahitians , they would only work to get a basket of beer bottles, when they had it, they didn't show at work for a while, so for the turn-over you got to multiply their number by 10 hehe, you ment Napoleon :lol: he was raised in France though :lol:

franchie on :

does anyone really believe the french would actually fight for any other reason than to continue to be a neo colonial power t'es obtus ou tu le fais exprès ?

Joe Noory on :

Not to joke, but they really have taken up a large number of minor commitments over the year that bear little notice, and budget issues have left their military in need of an overhaul. At the same time, they're also taking the drama out of their complex relationship with NATO because the means of integration will be necessary for the building of a EU force, or even a franco-german effort. In basic terms, they need an organizational structure more like that of the German military in order to function in a compatible manner. I think this is a good move on Sarko's part. It sheds what's left of the old Grande Armee model and retains the smaller more professional force to remain, and do it within the modest budget that the public will permit them.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Yes. This is the direction all of Europe's militaries should go. Stop being employment programs, resume being lean mean fighting machines. With Europe's advantages in technology, education, and logistics (as compared to Russia or China, for example), it is the model that makes the most sense.

Pamela on :

Well, he'd better do something, because it looks like the French military is falling apart. ----------------------- According to confidential defence documents leaked to the French press, less than half of France's Leclerc tanks – 142 out of 346 – are operational and even these regularly break down. Less than half of its Puma helicopters, 37 per cent of its Lynx choppers and 33 per cent of its Super Frelon models – built 40 years ago – are in a fit state to fly, according to documents seen by Le Parisien newspaper. Two thirds of France's Mirage F1 reconnaissance jets are unusable at present. According to army officials, the precarious state of France's defence equipment almost led to catastrophe in April, when French special forces rescued the passengers and crew of a luxury yacht held by pirates off the Somali coast. Although ultimately a success, the rescue operation nearly foundered at an early stage, when two of the frigates carrying troops suffered engine failure, and a launch laden with special forces' equipment sunk under its weight. Later, an Atlantic 2 jet tracking the pirates above Somali territory suffered engine failure and had to make an emergency landing in Yemen. "External operations, in the Ivory Coast and Lebanon are a fig leaf: we are able to keep up the pretence but in ten years our defence apparatus will fall apart," one high-ranking official said. The disclosure comes just ten days before President Nicolas Sarkozy announces a major reform of the armed forces, with a defence white paper outlining France's military priorities for the next 15 years. ----------------------- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/2084832/French-army-falling-apart,-documents-show.html

Franchie on :

The Telegraph is not known for his sympathy towards the Frenchs, (neither for the rest of the EU) fortunately there papers that can also relate how the Brits are doing so well http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article4087644.ece http://www.corlobe.tk/article9330.html about the Ponant, yes there have had incidents, not major though, the operation was finally a success story : Les otages ont ils été libérés sans dommage : OUI Le bateau a t-il été récupéré : OUI La rançon a t-il été récupérée : OUI en partie Les pirates ont-ils été arrêtés : OUI en partie L'opération militaire a t-elle aboutie : OUI sorry Pam

Joe Noory on :

Why are the *differences* and *hurt feelings* so important where a factual presentation are concerned? For example: this notion af how casual Tahitian laborers work is meaningless to the thesis. The world really needs Europe, 450 million people and the biggest economy in the world to stop playing with themselves and get serious about what their wishful thinking about risk is stopping them from fully engaging with the world in a way that matters. If you're wondering where the "chocolate makers" characterization came from, just look at the farce that the Darfur deployment initiative has been since 2004. The French military people I've known are some fierce MoFos who would do anything on earth that their leadership told them to if the public would permit them some decent equipment and moral support. Instead they cry over a handful of clowns locked up in Guantanamo, and get caught up with asking themselves why the EU and the European nations would need to have militaries at all - or like many, get caught up in doings of some officer's wife.

franchie on :

what is mostly recorded by you is what can undermine the ugly Frenchs, you should register in the list like many former ex colonies immigrants for the "pardon". I have seen it's fashoniable nowadays, even in the US, ask to the people that are the Obamanin caution now about the asertions : the numbers of tanks quoted in the UK paper are different(bisarre), and almost in good condition ; it is advised though to get rid of 1/3 of them cause of their maintenance costs and their inapropriation in the "modern wars", plus the cold war is over. even in the US, these parametres have been studied http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB3032/RB3032.pdf http://www.lepoint.fr/actualites-societe/exclusif-la-france-veut-vendre-le-tiers-de-ses-chars-leclerc/920/0/241541

Kevin Sampson on :

Why is it that whenever Europe’s defense capability, or lack thereof, is questioned, the response is always ‘the cold war is over’? As for the ‘inapropriation’ of heavy armor in modern wars, the Russians, Chinese, Indians, and South Koreans all have programs underway to develop, produce, and export Main Battle Tanks. I think the Japanese do too, but they don’t offer theirs for export. So it seems most of the rest of the world does not agree with your assertion that tanks have no place in ‘modern wars’. And that Rand study you linked to was about the need to modernize the M-1, not retire it.

Zyme on :

The more time we spend on the creation of a united Europe, the more solid its fundament will be and the stronger it can act afterwards. Let´s first do the hard work with our neighbours and then focus on how to pursue our interests militarily abroad. Regarding our current military policies: They are quite reasonable. Saving money by selling huge and expensive arsenals needed for wars that won´t come anytime soon is rational. Our budgets have a priority in these times. In the meantime our arms manufacturers have all time high export volumes, keeping us at the peak of research in many regards. Should a danger arise, we can soon adjust our industries and spill out required tools. That is why renewing our military assests on a smale scale is more important than maintaining a huge and aging range of weaponry.

Pat Patterson on :

You seem to be saying that the EU should be given a time out from having to deal with some of the nasty people. So instead of getting a military that is prepared to protect the EU the goal is the normalization of fisheries quotas and the status of the Roma is paramount? No country in the world has ever been allowed that luxury unless there is a sugar daddy that is willing to spend on defense for its own defense and then extends that protection to its "taking a few years off to get its head on straight" allies. But I assume that sometime during the navel gazing that Germany might indeed notice that its more bellicose partners, France and Italy, are running the EU show simply buy dint of acquiring reputations that indicate not only prickly natures but the ability to maintain those natures in a world of old and new enemies.

franchie on :

Pat, you forget that our ennemies need ships or planes to come over, then it'sn't anymore Hanibal that 'll cross the Alps with elephants. Don't think that the Russians will either come until Paris and say "bistro" in our cafés. They have learnt a few lessons since Stalin, that money businesses are better than tanks. I would also appreciate that Sarko would order another carrier, or hadn't the "Charles Foucault" not been sold to Brazil, too late !

Pat Patterson on :

No, a couple of Topol-M ICBMs can substitute nicely for a mid-winter passage through the Alps. And unlike the Russians France and Germany have very few case-hardened revetments that will protect all those unneeded MBTs and Rafales.

Zyme on :

It really is futile. How often did I point out how important EU partners are for the Russians? The americans won´t listen. But then you can´t blame them. If you wanted to prohibit EU-Russian cooperation and partnership, nothing would suit your agenda more than constantly pointing out past conflicts, and how dangerous the others really are. In essence what they want to say is - come back under our patronage, we know best what is good for you. Stop with your independent policies, they will hurt you in the end. My goodness, these are the moments I am so glad about the fact that I was too young to witness politics when we were vassals of these people. This obvious agenda almost makes me throw up my breakfast.

Pat Patterson on :

And if you don't think the Russians won't and haven't taken advantage of German weakness now and in the future than your observation truly is futile considering that Russia still has nuclear missiles aimed at all the European capitols in spite of the bouquet waving politicos of repproachment. I'm not especially concerned about the past but again while Germany tries to get it military house in order, which I do consider futile considering the moral authority of its government and citizens is gone, then who will provide the space to let the navel gazing continue. It will take a concentrated effort of Germany in peacetime to be truly militarily independent. If something bad happens no amount of protected industries or advanced weaponry on the design table will help. It takes anywhere from 2-3 years and upwards of $10-12 billion to arm and train one infantry division. One doesn't know how long or even if the conscript heavy divisions that Germany has now can ever be combat ready. Considering that Germany still uses, as I mentioned, conscripts serving less than a year then I can only wonder how effective that new division will be, whether it will be a phantom division and where the money will come from. And the current deployments and training are at best suited for small, company sized units and without the kind of brigade and division sized training that used to be normal. It took almost ten years for the Leopard 2 to enter service during the heyday of NATO and that was essentially a rather peaceful period of German history. If Germany truly must rearm then it will take at least ten years to catch up, they will be forced to buy most of its technical gear from either France or the US and the country still must face the die hard obstructionism of the Reds and Greens. Good luck! Germany has been resting on the military reputation of the First and Second World War without anybody really bothering to look and see that if it wasn't for that reputation, undeserved, then Germany would be ignored except for Porsches and aspirin. I'm actually not blaming the Germans nor do I see a great need for the US to demand their loyalty as amici. I think that the current policy is to encourage the French, who seem perfectly willing and capable, to rearm and reorganize to provide the security that the EU will need. And that Germany doesn't seem to realize that the US has given up on the Germans and no one is really asking anything of them anymore. Though I'm sure that Sarkozy would love to have the Germans pay for new military technology with the confidence that the Germans will find some excuse to not use it.

franchie on :

Pat, one thing you don't figure with sarkozy, is that he is a "Mediterranean man", and would rather get the money he needs for his "invincible armada" from our beloved oil suppliers, by giving them access to civil nuclear implants, that we can make them pay at the higher price because of our monopole on that technology. Madame Angela likes to keep the statu-quo, that is an easier option to make trades until it won't be allowed at any price anymore with countries such as the actual "demonised' ones by Washington, and or China, also till the exchanges currencies allow her not to loose within the trade. Isn't Germany the first exporter in the economical war ? "And if you don't think the Russians won't and haven't taken advantage of German weakness now and in the future than your observation truly is futile considering that Russia still has nuclear missiles aimed at all the European capitols in spite of the bouquet waving politicos of repproachment" Well, this is also the result of Bush's option that had the weakness to listen the polish sirens in penthagonal opffices. Yesterday night I was rereading the issues of the Marshal plan, and how subtilitally, it became a help to rearm and buy arms, as well as goods and culture from our Liberty flag wearers, in the new born alliance Nato, and how the eastern block that refused the Marshal plan became demonised.

Joe Noory on :

So the Marshall Plan was just an arms peddling game, and the Eastern block was under no influnece whatsoever from "someone" to accept aid under the Marshall Plan... and yet with this sort of overraught rhetoric for decades, you persist in believing that Americans are somehow wrong in returning a response to this sort of slander. Amazing. It's just an extention of the "D-Day GIs were nothing but rapists and criminals," and every other sort of satisfying, hate filled revisionism. What's even sadder is how any convenient interpretation, such as "Sarko is a Mediterranean Man" (of Hungarian origin fron Neully), will somehow rebuild the armed forces with help from North African oil suppliers... is some sort of sound intellectual argument in the [i]culture de debat.[/i] By the way, the first exporters of the Economic war were not the Germans, they were Britain, the Netherlands, and France in their grand international trade and colonial periods.

franchie on :

still in your frustration anathems !!! Sarko is also from greec ancestry ! if you happen to read the last trade stats you would realise that Germany is the "winner" now, forget about the "old times", that you seem to handle as immortality in your rants for your instruction : http://books.google.fr/books?id=n2n0wOiZ9JIC&pg=PA130&lpg=PA130&dq=remboursement+du+plan+marshall&source=web&ots=1Ri_C4FyF-&sig=Wc9dbcodKGNfpRXQxzYaje_ZYvE&hl=fr&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result http://www.historiographie.info/arch/nov20075.pdf

Zyme on :

Oki Pat. Have you finished counting divisions by now? When has Germany been conquered the last time? I mean the last time when we havn´t already started invading our neighbours before. Let me make a guess - was it - Napoleon? Now that´s 200 years ago. Have you noticed that the geopolitical circumstances have changed somewhat in Europe since that time? When was the last time we did politics on the battlefield here? We are right now in the process of building a new identity that incorporates entire Europe. Now when that realm is responsible for more than 50 % of Russia´s international trade, is it possible that good relations towards the EU were a good idea for Moscow? Surely all their offers on the entire spectrum of economical cooperation must be a deception! In secret, they are planning to blow us all up and then marvel at radioactive european capitals. Yeah that´s what they are up to! *lol* Still stuck in the Cold War, huh? Free yourself. It´s not that difficult.

Pat Patterson on :

"When was the last time we did politics on the battlefield there?" The NATO campaigns against the Republika Srpska and Sebia come to mind.

Kevin Sampson on :

In the late 1930s the US was one of Japan’s most important trading partners too. In fact, the US decision to embargo exports of oil and scrap metal, in protest over Japanese atrocities in China, was critical to the Japanese decision to attack Pearl Harbor. So don’t get too comfortable behind that economic Maginot Line. The Russians may decide that trade with Europe is too important to be left to the likes of you Europeans.

John in Michigan, USA on :

"The Russians may decide that trade with Europe is too important to be left to the likes of you Europeans." Perfect!

John in Michigan, USA on :

"come back under our patronage, we know best what is good for you. Stop with your independent policies, they will hurt you in the end." No, that is NOT what we are saying. We are saying, BE truly independant, OR stay in NATO and cooperate. We fear you want to have it both ways, minimal or no contribution to NATO, but still have the option to be rescued if it all goes wrong. Also, what is the actual, legal basis for the idea that we won't permit NATO members to leave NATO? Doesn't the NATO treaty permit this? If e.g. Germany decided to leave NATO, why would it be any different than 1959 when the US made a lot of noise through diplomatic channels but didn't even consider mobilizing our forces to force France to stay in NATO (the military part)? It seems to me this whole fantasy of NATO-occupied Europe is just a conspiracy theory to explain why Progressives and other anti-NATO voters so consistently fail to get enough success at the polls to have any country leave NATO. And in France's case: are you suggesting the US/NATO sabotaged the Fourth Republic? Evidence please.

Zyme on :

I am only suggesting that you cling to your former status as western hegemon. Nothing bad about that behaviour, every country would and did - just look at the British. I am also suggesting that in the meantime, we go our own way.

John in Michigan, USA on :

That's fine, but answer the question: how exactly are we preventing you from going your own way (besides complaining about it and encouraging you to take basic precautions)?

John in Michigan, USA on :

"They have learnt a few lessons since Stalin, that money businesses are better than tanks." Have they really? How can you be sure? [url=http://www.atlantic-community.org/index/Open_Think_Tank_Article/Russia%27s_Western_Border_is_a_Sensitive_Issue]this article[/url] recommends closer ties between Germany (a proxy for Europe...interesting) and Russia. But looking beyond the recommendation...isn't anyone concerned about the language used to describe the Russian concerns? "dishonor" "This border is an open, bleeding wound on the Russian body" "the Russian spirit" "the self-esteem of Russians" "Russia's bleeding wound" Is this really the language of a peaceful partner for Europe? Isn't this language proof that the Russian thirst for empire is embedded deep in the Russian soul? Many here have made the quite reasonable point that Russia's economic ties to the rest of Europe create a mutual dependency, and breaking these ties via conflict would be a sort of mutually assured (economic) destruction. And indeed, Russia was deterrable during the Cold War. But, isn't it possible that the military deterrence of the Cold War registered more strongly on the Russian psyche that does mere economic deterrence? The Russian's don't exactly have a great record of listening to the opinions of their merchant class, indeed, they tend recently and historically to see traders, money men, etc. as parasites (at best! At worst, part of the international Zionist conspiracy) rather than as essential parts of society. But, isn't it possible that a people motivated by such passions might act in ways that are [i]against[/i] their economic interest? In ways that are indeed quite self-destructive? "Should Russia be further weakened?" I can understand how the Russian's might feel weakened, that is a legitimate concern. And I could see how wounds from WW II might fester...but those wounds were caused by great powers in Europe, not by what are today called the breakaway Republics. Reconciliation between Germany and Russia is of course desirable. [i]But Germany has no right to determine Russia's borders, except where Russia and Germany have a common border![/i] Besides, isn't all that supposed to be in the past? "Why is Russia being offended" Offended? What on earth gives the Russians the right to be offended? After their recent and not-so-recent history, shouldn't they be apologetic to their Central European neighbors? It would be like a Western European country being "offended" that its colonial possessions wanted to be free. Outrageous, no? The logical western border of the Russian empire has always been the Atlantic, just as the logical eastern border is the Pacific. Just because today's Russia couldn't possibly achieve that, doesn't mean they've given up trying. Most wars happen because of miscalculation. This is why Europe's true friends in America keep harping on the question of Europe's military: The threat of Communism is moot, but the Russian imperial fantasy is still alive, being nurtured carefully by the likes of Putin. They will never be as powerful as the USSR, but they don't dare admit that to themselves; I wouldn't be surprised if they are now entertaining the idea that Communism was a (Western? Jewish? take your pick) plot to keep Russia from achieving its natural greatness. We understand and accept that Russia will always be part of Europe. Do you understand and accept that Russia will always want to BE Europe?

Zyme on :

Now you are worried about harsh words from the Russians? What about the russian perspective - don´t you think that the growth of the EU would provide far more reason to be worried? Look at this map: http://europa.eu/abc/history/animated_map/index_de.htm Funny isn´t it - I guess not for the Russians. Still they are reasonable and prefer buisness over confrontation - their only rational choice.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Cute map. I see your point. If I were a paranoid Russian, I would be worried. But paranoia is an [i]irrational[/i] fear. So, if the Russians were as rational as you suggest, they would understand that those Central European countries flocking to the EU were doing so because a) Russia raped them in the distant and recent past and b) the EU will not do so. In other words, they are acting in their interests, and not ganging up against Russia. Does a bully deserve pity because everybody fears him? The EU isn't really intending to expand much more. If it does, it would be by mutual agreement of all concerned. Same with NATO, although we may be a little more expansive, we only expand by mutual agreement. Because the EU and NATO are peaceful, volontary associations of countries, they are no threat to Russia, as long as Russia has only peaceful intent towards Europe. If the Russians were as rational as you say, they would recognize that the EU and NATO are economically co-dependent with Russia and therefore not a threat to Russia. In other words, they would recognize the mirror image of the argument that some in Europe have been putting forth to argue that Russia is not a threat. But yet, they see the EU as a threat, when it seems irrational to do so. Why is that? I am not suggesting the Russians are entirely irrational. I am just suggesting that, only if the Russians have imperial ambitions in Europe, is there a rational case that the EU or NATO is a threat to them.

Zyme on :

"The EU isn't really intending to expand much more." Naturally when we have reached Russia to the East, the enlargement comes to a halt there. In Northern Africa though you can witness what can come next. Various "association treaties" have come into effect there. So more and more countries might end up as second class members - beyond the continent of Europe. With this step, the EU would prove its imperial ambitions - as its genuinely new idea of pacifying and uniting Europe would then be replaced by the rather old idea of simply keep growing and itself alive. "Does a bully deserve pity because everybody fears him?" Maybe you should look at it from this perspective: France, Germany and Russia are the important players on the continent today. While France and Germany have the tremendious advantage of having leverage about the entire continent via the EU, Russia does lack anything similar. Like a dog pushed into its corner, you can expect rage and irrational fears if you do nothing to comfort him. And this can best be achieved by showing respect to Russian concerns - especially when this respect only affects the Americans (like at the radar and missile defense stations in Eastern Europe). So in the end the goal here is to incorparate Russia into the EU structure, one way or another - instead of creating fierce and irrational opposition to the East. "But yet, they see the EU as a threat, when it seems irrational to do so. Why is that?" My guess would be that while an organisation like the EU is peaceful today, they know it does not have to remain that way. With every additional piece of national sovereignty transferred to Brussels, the likelihood increases that the authorities there will be affected of a "can-do" spirit. They are governing 500 million people at the heart of civilization after all - such a realm must be able to pursue its interests with brute force if the others remain incorrigible. It is a temptation the Russians know all too well that is hard to resist. And taking a look at the Treaty of Lisbon you can see that military aspects now already have drawn the attention of the Union regarding its efforts towards European Integration. On a sidenote this was a (rather farfetched in my opinion) motivation for the Irish women to vote against the Treaty, fearing that their sons might one day be conscripted by a European Army and then sent into war, after having lost traditional Irish neutrality. "I am just suggesting that, only if the Russians have imperial ambitions in Europe, is there a rational case that the EU or NATO is a threat to them." Now I see your point. Well I guess the Russians would still have such ambitions, if they were able to pursue them. And regarding their immediate neighbours to the south-west, they can still do. I wouldn´t take that personal. It is their right to pursue whatever foreign policy they want to. Just as it is the basic right of France and Germany to have their own ideas about shaping the continent. By giving the Russians plenty of rope in their backyard, their concerns about the EU will be reduced.

Pat Patterson on :

Then I would assume that the much more secure and stable democracy of Turkey would be approved for membership in the EU before Russia?

Zyme on :

"Then I would assume that the much more secure and stable democracy of Turkey would be approved for membership in the EU before Russia?" What a difficult question. Technically speaking - yes. Turkey is in association status for more than 40 years now, while Russia isn´t. Also we have lot more influence on Turkish politics via their hope to become a member. Thus they have already incorporated a huge number of European laws without even being a member. In reality though, both will have little chance to become a full member. This is for a number of reasons. Both countries lack the economical development to be a valueable addition to the Union. They are quite unattractive in this regard. Both countries have rather big populations, making this economical backwardness a real problem (in contrast to those small Eastern European countries that have joined or seek to do so). The size of their populations also bring in another counter-argument: Their full membership would endanger the current balance of power in the Union. London, Paris and Berlin would never allow this to happen (not to mention the Greek with regard to Turkey, or Poland regarding Russia). The main reason Britain supports the Turkish EU ambitions is to profile Britain as the advocacy of Turkish interests and thus increase British influence there. Turkey as a member would also completely put any further political integration to a halt, a major goal of British governments until very recently I would argue. So in the future it is most likely that both countries will be included in various association treaties only - second class members so to speak. These countries (like those in North Africa for different reasons) do not fit to become full members. But all have unique advantages for the Union to provide in exchange for some influence in european decision making or simply better economical relations to the EU realm.

Pat Patterson on :

Good description even though I suspect that Turkey will get stiffed and left out when the Russians simply demand to be added much as they did with the G-8.

John in Michigan, USA on :

I agree. The Russians will claim grave offense at anything less than full membership. They may or may not get it, but relations will not get to the happy level Europe's Russophiles promise, unless they do get it.

Anonymous on :

"They are governing 500 million people at the heart of civilization after all" Psst. Don't say that too loudly, some folks in Beijing, Tokyo and New Dehli might hear you - just in case you overlooked the odd billion ... or two, or three. And here I thought we;d gotten past the "unipolar moment".

John in Michigan, USA on :

Lithuania understands the problem: Pravda: [url=http://english.pravda.ru/world/ussr/17-06-2008/105526-soviet_symbols-0]Lithuania equates Soviet symbols with Nazism[/url] Also, I had to smile at the link at the bottom of each Pravda article inviting you to join the Pravda online forum. The text link is different for each story, variations on a theme. Here are some samples: "Speak the truth and shame the devil on Pravda.ru forum" "Join Pravda.ru forum to experience freedom of speech" "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen" OK, [url=http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four]I made that last one up[/url]. But the first two are real, just keep clicking on stories and they will turn up.

franchie on :

"who is afraid of the big Bear ?" I think it a poker game where America is cheating on us, could be that she wins, could be not ! I for myself bet that she won't. We had many ties with Russia, which the origins go until 18th century. If you happen to surf on russian blogs, you would see that the Russians just want to enjoy the benefits of consumerisation ; also that the girls there are beautiful and want to marry a "westerner", cause the evil vodka still destroys their dudes' good will. That said, there are also a few rapaces that dream of a more powerfull country. Though, the reality is, they can't play that card anymore, Russia is loosing her white population ; the birth rates don't show that they 'll return positive any soon. When you go in a Paris hotel, let say Novotel, quite a few Russians are welcoming you at the reception. So this is a sign, that Russia is opening herself to EU, that she wants to become a partner. Who is afraid of that ? Not us, not EU, except may-be Poland. Though Poland had played the victim card there, he, it's a faint to get more corn from The US, from EU

Joe Noory on :

Inasmuch as we have a great number of Russian professionals, skilled tradespeople, and laborers in the United States as well as in Canada, I don't think that that necessarily mean that there is some structured opening up to the EU going on. But in the end of the day, there will be firmer connections between the EU states and Russia, but there would never be a Union with it as it is now. The viper has grown an empire by showing small states on its' edges that they really don't have much of a change trying to go it alone economically. I don't think that this will be true of the European part of Russia for at least 40 years, and at that they would realize that someone just wants readier access to their natural resources in a way that cross-border trade already permits. As for your theories about America, you can't imagine how incredibly wrong you are about her intentions in the past or the present. The US and NATO were the single biggest driving force in the making of unity in Europe. We're still looking for that "one phone number" to call, and are eager to get rid of this venal evasion where pieces and parts of it pretend to be too small to act on one day, and too many to please on another day, while being the single-powerhouse on another day still. We have been the shield that permitted them to build their "safe European home", produced an overwhelming amount of the technology that is driving their 'hi-tech' economies, initiated into practive every economic theory that has brought them out of their stagnant malaise, we are practically the only market for their overpriced, precious rubbish too... and yet: the typical attitide in many quarters is that we're there to rob them of something and molest their self-perceived innosence. From the perspective of a some Americans, Canadians, and a great many others, dealing with Europe seems like a unwanted chore - a kind of toll you have to pay to deal directly with international bodies, and people they fall in the path of. This notion that one entity can keep 27 chairs in every one of these inumerable ineffectual talking shops that they seem to love so much has to stop. The making of corporate champions by governments has to stop. The overinflation of the goods by Euro-creep in the Near East and Africa that choked their local producers through monopolies has to stop: people on 3rd world wages have to pay first-world prices for basics because of this myopia and venality - and yet the popular myth on the continent is that America is the evil impoverishing force to be "resisted" - along with any other self-serving myth about anything that can be found like the little theory about the Marshall Plan that you're so fond of. Cretins.

franchie on :

yeah, and you wash whiter than white ? LMAO Thank you for letting us alive and still split in the good soup you nicely concocted for us, thank you for all the goodies you made necessary for us, thank you for all you may think that we owe you... though you can't be our conscienceness director, we also want to enjoy the freedom of speech that you wiffed for your compatriots, say what we feel goes wrong, choose our friends if they are well-intentionned towards us... so give us enough space, eh, your play-ground is on the Pacific now... see after the OG what you can do there.

Pat Patterson on :

Considering the general dinginess of the clothes that people were wearing in France two summers ago I would definitely say that our clothes do come out "...whiter than white!" And they weren't German tourists either!

franchie on :

then you must use "OMO" the powder that will rename the San-Fra sewage station

Pamela on :

The Telegraph is not known for his sympathy towards the Frenchs, (neither for the rest of the EU) Here we go with your reading comprehension problem again. The report was leaked to the FRENCH press. jeez

corneauster@gmail.com on :

surprising, it would be the first time It would be grateful if you just could also understand the french ones Gees

Joe Noory on :

Pamela: it's all part of the same pattern. Everything is about them, points in any direction they hope it to, etc. It's the only universal trait you can depend on with the bulk of the population, regardless of the degree of disinvolvement. A week before the election, it was "are are all Irish". They are everything to everyone - don't you get it? As for the generalized world view: the world is somehow theirs to guide and give lessons to, but as far as identifying a potential risk, they think a land war in central Europe is the only thing that would make them really get out of their beds, is the only reason they would still maintain an armed force. In other words, the rest of the world can otherwise go to hell, and enjoy their press releases and symbolic aid flight. Anything outside their happy little bubble is neither theirs' or the EU's problem. Despite the fact that they are the single biggest economic entity on earth, they prefer others to do what it takes to maintain stability, correct imbalances, dispose of the rogues, keep jihadists busy outside of their turf, and so forth. That they believe the EU's only interest is that the trade lanes stay open and energy be provided to them, and that they largely depend on others for this is telling. Sarko seems to be trying to correct that parasitic behaviour, but he has a long way to go.

franchie on :

poor man ! did you have abad love affair with a french woman ?

franchie on :

gros connard de merde

Joe Noory on :

Do you genuinely believe that under Stalin, the countries occupied by Soviet forces after the 2nd world war we free to make the choice of not being involved in the Marshall Plan? Do you believe that, or do you just want to believe that? As for your personal attack that my opinions are based on "a bad relationship with a French woman", you deserved what you got. What's sad is that this is supposed to "shock us" and make us think the author is some sort of brilliant person deserving attention. Like so much of the "theories" trotted out in Paris, all it is, is the seeking of attention. Think of how self-absorbed it is to not call the theory "an anthem", but call the resonse to it so. It's pedantry.

franchie on :

if you read the links I provided you, you'll have the response. Stalin was every thing, but EVIL, though not an ignorant, and aware of the genuine propositions that went with a Marshall plan. "As for your personal attack that my opinions are based on "a bad relationship with a French woman", you deserved what you got." I do think you have no sense of humor and that you really think that you wrote. "What's sad is that this is supposed to "shock us" and make us think the author is some sort of brilliant person deserving attention. Like so much of the "theories" trotted out in Paris, all it is, is the seeking of attention. Think of how self-absorbed it is to not call the theory "an anthem", but call the resonse to it so. It's pedantry." yeah, funny, I got the same appreciation from another Frenchs lover, though that has a great sense of humor.

Joe Noory on :

You're so thin-skinned you hardly seem capable of humor. In fact, you hardly seem capable of realizing that continental or world events aren't about your feelings or opinions.

franchie on :

because of persons like you dear "lover"

Zyme on :

The EU´s primary job is to secure our interests. Not those of people abroad. They are doing a very good job if they only interfere when our trade lanes and energy supplies are in danger.

Pat Patterson on :

Pamela-I had seen the original article and what struck me was the discrepancy between how many LeClercs are claimed in the inventory by the leaked documents, 346, which is 80 short of how many are claimed to actually be in the inventory. The main question would be in the readiness of the over 300 LeClercs that are currently in the possession of the UAE?

Joe Noory on :

They could have been modified for training, or the numbers haven't caught up with ones that were used up in the Ivory Coast or some other garden spot.

Pamela on :

"I had seen the original article and what struck me was the discrepancy between how many LeClercs are claimed in the inventory by the leaked documents, 346, which is 80 short of how many are claimed to actually be in the inventory." That might be a problem, but maybe not. Whenever I've seen this with the U.S. military, it's usually been a paperwork problem or something got relocated and the news hadn't reached the people who keep track of this stuff. I was at a party a few years ago at Ft. Bragg and some of the soldiers were bitching because they'd 'lost' a few tanks and a cargo plane of some sort. It was a paperwork mess they weren't looking forward to. I know a supply guy currently deployed in Iraq. This stuff happens A LOT.

Pat Patterson on :

That makes sense plus I found that the UAE has been flying in French mechanics and contractors to keep the maintinance schedules up to date. While at least 25 of the missing French LeClercs are considered armored recovery vehicles and thus not counted as being combat ready. Plus I don't really know where frenchie gets her information but the Army and especially the Marines, counter to the CW of the uninformed, have found that the Abrams is an ideal breaching tool for assaults against buildings in cities and also during the 2nd Battle of Falluljah. Tanks and their units that had been moved back to Kuwait are now used regularly in Iraq. Updated T-55s and a few surviving T-72s are in regular combat by the INA. So maybe those so-called dinosaurs have found that all is forgiven and please shoot those guys behind that wall.

franchie on :

Pat, from a journalist whose specialisation is the army and its materials ; it's also enligntening to read the comments and the links within here : http://secretdefense.blogs.liberation.fr/defense/

quo vadis on :

One soldier who fought in Falluljah said that having an Abrams in support of an urban infantry assault was like having a T-Rex by your side.

John in Michigan, USA on :

If you are suggesting that counter-insurgency doctrine now being applied in Iraq would mean that you don't go bashing around in a tank, I would agree. Tanks tend to wreck the neighborhood, even when the main gun isn't firing. As far as I know they are doing a lot less with tanks now, and a lot more knock-knock, may we come in entries. Which at this stage is a GOOD thing. But the others are right, armored HMMWV and even Bradleys and armored helicopters are weak against e.g. 100's of massed RPGs; for that, you need an Abrams or possibly a Stryker . Hopefully, our days of confronting massed RPG's in Iraq are over. But in the early stages of Iraq, or even in places like Mogadishu, tanks were vitally necessary, even though there was no effective enemy armor on the battlefield.

quo vadis on :

Wow. That's reading a lot into my brief anecdote, assuming you intended your post as a response to mine. The soldier in question was expressing his appreciation for the tank as a support weapon for urban assault operations - implying that combat experience suggests that there is a place for "so-called dinosaurs" in the modern military arsenal.

joe on :

frenchie This defense policy stuff might be an area of mutual corperation. The US could help france develop this concept. It really is very simple identify vital national interests to france - realizing some of these might be different than other members of the EU - then develop the force structure to address these interests and from that comes the fight about what to fund and to what level France could help the US in developing an engery policy. The current policy is encourage demand, restrict supply and buy the shortfall from those who hate the US the most. Where the french could help greatly is with an understanding of nuclear power. france could make a strong case of the superiority of its policy and how the french are able to effectively and safely manage this program while the US cannot. In this case, the US needs to be more like france and not less like france.........amazing comment is it not.. By developing an increased nuclear power grid, this would have a positive impact on the french defense white paper and would probably lead to greater french sales of nuclear generation equipment in the US. For the US, it would allow for the realloaction of oil to other uses reducing overall US demand. I see this as a win win for both the US and france.

franchie on :

"This defense policy stuff might be an area of mutual corperation." I think it's already working with the renseignements services, also with the different army material purchases, also with common training army exercices with the special forces in different marines camps in the US, on carriers... yes the civil nuclear energy will be the challenge for the next decades

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