A Certain Idea of France by Phillip H. Gordon

By Phillip H. Gordon

As France starts to confront the recent demanding situations of the post-Cold struggle period, the time has come to check how French safeguard coverage has advanced considering that Charles de Gaulle set it on an self sufficient direction within the Sixties. Philip Gordon exhibits that the Gaullist version, opposite to commonly held ideals, has lived on--but that its inherent inconsistencies have grown extra acute with expanding eu unification, the diminishing American army position in Europe, and similar lines on French army budgets. The query at the present time is whether or not the Gaullist legacy will let a robust and assured France to play a whole position in Europe's new safeguard preparations or even if France, due to its will to independence, is destined to play an remoted, nationwide function. Gordon analyzes army doctrines, ideas, and budgets from the Sixties to the Nineteen Nineties, and in addition the evolution of French coverage from the early debates approximately NATO and the eu group to the Persian Gulf battle. He unearths how and why Gaullist rules have for therefore lengthy encouraged French protection coverage and examines attainable new instructions for France in an more and more united yet probably risky Europe.

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35 France in the late 1950s was indeed demoralized, having gone through perhaps the most trying two decades in the country’s long history, and badly needed a clear mission. But the patriotic passion and national sentiment of Charles de Gaulle cannot be reduced to tactics alone. De Gaulle, it should not be forgotten, had been influenced as a young man by the nationalist tradition that played a prominent role in the intellectual life of France in the early twentieth century not only by the mystical nationalism in the Catholic tradition like that of Péguy but also by some of the more fervently nationalistic ideas of Maurice Barrès and PERSPECTIVES ON DE GAULLE 17 Jacques Bainville.

26 One of the primary justifications for Gaullist policy and style was that postwar France was demoralized and could only be redressed by recovering a certain amount of respect in the world. The feeling of national sovereignty was necessary for national achievement. Moreover, the argument runs, in a global system paralyzed by the superpower blocs, an internationally powerful and assertive France was essential to the creation of the strong West European force that could alone break apart this pernicious bipolar structure.

The post–World War II era would be increasingly influenced by transnational, or even “supranational,” organizations. ” Arnold Toynbee, the historian, implied in his work that the nation-state was an improper unit for political analysis. E. H. ” And later, in an influential article from 1957, John H. Herz argued that nuclear weapons, by rendering the borders of territorial states “permeable,” had tended to “obliterate” the meaning of the unit. 23 PERSPECTIVES ON DE GAULLE 13 De Gaulle’s opponents had other, less theoretical reasons for calling for the end of the state-based system, particularly in Europe.

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