Tuesday, March 17, 2009

France Votes to Reintegrate the NATO Alliance

By 329 votes to 228, the Assemblée Nationale voted to allow France to reintegrate NATO after an absence of 43 years.
"La France, alliée mais pas vassale, fidèle mais insoumise, toujours fraternelle mais jamais subordonnée : voilà la nature de notre relation avec l'Amérique", avait poursuivi le chef du gouvernement estimant que "l'amitié ne se confond pas avec la naïveté".
"France, an ally but not a vassal, faithful but unsubdued, always fraternal but never subservient: that is the nature of our relationship with America", declared Prime Minister François Fillon, adding that "friendship is not to be confused with naiveté".

Sounds friendly, non? Meanwhile, the socialists' Lionel Jospin, Laurent Fabius, and Martine Aubry are launching broadsides at Nicolas Sarkozy and his government, as is the French population, if Le Monde's readers (and No Pasarán's) are any indication…

Previously, both Dominique de Villepin and Hubert Védrine were on record for opposing NATO reintegration. Principle? Self-serving principles when you listen to their (and numerous French citizens') reasons: when asked whether France's position on NATO up until now wasn't akin to having the advantages and not the hassles of participation, Hubert Védrine answered, "Indeed … why change this advantageous position?"

When reminded that the Jacques Chirac's government had attempted to reintegrate NATO in the 1990s while he was a member of the Élysée, Dominique de Villepin pointed out that that was after the fall of the Berlin Wall (and the end of the Cold War) but before 911. For Villepin and his ilk, in other words, the (self-serving) French motto could be: when our allies (our friends) do not need us, it's fine to join an association (an alliance); when they do need us, it's time to stay away…

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