What is Nato for?

Linked with Serge Halimi – France.

Published on Le Monde diplo, by Serge Halimi, March 2009.

Nicolas Sarkozy wanted his presidency to mark a break with the “French social model”, recently restored to its former glory by the collapse of American-style financial capitalism. So did he determine to do away with another old French tradition, national independence? Although he had never expressed such an intention in his electoral campaign and even though he later made any French reintegration in Nato’s joint military command structure conditional on strengthening European defence, Sarkozy effectively announced that General de Gaulle’s policy decision had had its day …

… Leaving no stone unturned, the resolution also recalls our “painful history”, referring to Hitler and Munich, quotes a few lines by “Elie Wiesel, holocaust survivor”, and adds: “Wouldn’t we want someone to come to our rescue when we are crying?” US officers, however, have never had a great reputation for drying civilian tears. Neither during the war in Kosovo, nor in the Iraq war, both conducted in breach of the UN charter. But, regarding many member states at the UN, the European parliament profoundly regrets that “the doctrine of non-alignment, inherited from the cold war era, undermines the alliance of democracies”. 

So it is understood that “the future collective defence of the European Union” to which the French head of state is committed will be organised exclusively within the framework of the Atlantic Alliance. The Alliance will not hesitate to deploy its forces in combined civil and military missions extending far beyond the old iron curtain to the borders of Pakistan. Even within Sarkozy’s own party, two former prime ministers, Alain Juppé and Dominique de Villepin, are already worried about this change of direction – evidence enough of the risks involved in taking such a course. (full text).

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