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As NATO’s sixtieth anniversary approaches, RUSI examines France’s relationship with the Alliance, and the evolution of its strategic thinking. Observers have watched with great interest as change in French political leadership has affected military and foreign policy. As military and diplomatic doctrine has changed, a significant outward sign of this has been France’s re-evaluation of its future role within NATO. A gradual rapprochement with NATO and the transatlantic community has occurred, and an imminent French reintegration into the NATO command structure is now widely anticipated.
In this analysis, RUSI examines the context and implications of French reintegration into NATO. In particular, it looks at the personal role of President Sarkozy in instigating a fresh approach to the Alliance and its members, and discusses the ongoing domestic political debate within France. It also examines France’s past and present role, and demonstrates how France already plays an active role in within NATO in strategic, financial and political terms, which while debating how this may change if reintegration occurs.