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The Free State
"Man, in a word, has no nature. What he has is - history."

Friday, September 11, 2009

NATO has New Supreme Allied Commander...



...and he is French!

Air Force General St├ęphane Abrial is now one of NATO's two Supreme Allied Commanders. Given France's long and difficult history with NATO and its gradual re-integration into the organization since the end of the Cold War (which Sarkozy more or less finished), there is no absence of symbolism in having the first non-American Supreme Commander of NATO be a Frenchman.

I have to say I don't entirely understand the new post. Technically, Abrial is Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), based in Norfolk, Virginia. He is replacing an American Marine General, James Mattis. The SACT is charged with adapting NATO to the future at a time when the Alliance's role is in doubt as European and American publics turn against the war in Afghanistan. More symbolism for you! This is the first time France has been at the head of a major alliance since Marshal Ferdinand Foch was Commander in Chief of the Western Front in the Great War (1918).

France's reintegration into the Alliance has been long overdue. During the Cold War, it would have been natural for France, as the most presitigious continental European state (divided Germany was marked "atomic battlefield"), to have a central role in the coalition against the Soviet Union. France's costly and doomed wars of decolonization in Southeast Asia and North Africa meant the country was partly absent during NATO's formative years. In the 1960s, Charle de Gaulle decided on a new strategy of semi-membership of NATO that hoped to make France escape nuclear annihilation in a potential U.S.-Soviet War (possibly started over some nonsense in Asia). Since the end of the Cold War, the Gaullist position has lost many of its merits. It is laudable that France looks to be becoming a fully fledged partner as the Alliance at it attempts to adapt to the needs of a rapidly changing world.

3 Comments:

Blogger Thierry Marignac said...

Only because the neo-cons planted their CIA agents as presidents and Foreign Office Ministry. NATO is a US plan to hurt Europeforever on the world market which cannot be justified in a post Cold War era in any other way than to hurt Europe,its valkues and its standing in the world to maintain US dominance. The Gaullist policy of staying independant proved more than valuable in a world where America led its private wars, and supported dictators. It is preternatural to Europe not to look Westward, but Eastward,and only the Information Age brainwashing US operation led to the present day situation.As it is and as Alain de Benoist said in a remarkable article about the reintegrationof France into NATO : it is high treason and the people who carried it out should go on trial.

1:16 PM  
Blogger CJWilly said...

Well, first one should keep shrill hyperbole to a minimum.

Second, I think you grossly overestimate the abilities of the CIA.

Third, the Gaullist position had its limits, and is now clearly obsolete. Isolation is impotence.

6:11 PM  
Blogger CJWilly said...

PS: After wiki changing the photo, it is evident that NATO/French defense need to iron their flags.

7:12 PM  

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