Big ups to Nicolas Sarkozy who has announced that France will fully rejoin NATO ahead of the 60th anniversary of its creation next month.
Charles de Gaulle may be turning angrily in his grave in the village of Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises but his spiritual heir, Nicolas Sarkozy, shows no qualms or regret for his deed.
It was de Gaulle who, 43 years ago, slapped America by pulling France out of Nato’s military command, asserting that his country would follow its own strategy of deterrence.
And it was Sarkozy who, in a near-Oedipal act, overturned the time-honoured policy of his doctrinal father and national hero.
In doing so, Sarkozy is reshaping Franco-American ties in a way unimaginable a year ago and boosting his claim to being Europe’s big player with Washington, say analysts.
It is a brave bold move.
Last week Sarkozy declared: “A state alone, a solitary nation, is a nation without influence, and if we count for something, we have to know how to bind ourselves to allies and friendships.
“France wants peace. France wants freedom and France also knows who our friends are and who our enemies are. I’m not afraid to say it, our friends and allies are first and foremost the Western family.” De Gaulle’s move in 1966 enabled France to remain a political member of Nato and thus benefit from its pledge of mutual defence in the event of attack.
To be fair to Obama, it no doubt helps that he is now the President, rather than Bush. I can’t imagine this having been possible while Bush was President. But he credit goes to Sarkozy, and the challenge lies with Obama to capitalise on this extremely useful step.Tags: Barack Obama, NATO, Nicolas Sarkozy