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Guardian: NATO Needs a Makeover

Author: Benoit D'Aboville
March 11, 2009

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What will be the consequences of France's return to Nato's integrated military structure?

The allies are quietly satisfied, but nobody expects major changes in France's military contribution: in the last 10 years, it has been on par with the other major European allies. The reason is simple: since France's return to the military committee in 1994, its position within Nato has allowed for full participation in the alliance's military and political activities.

In Paris, the move has not in itself raised major political opposition for two main reasons.

First, nobody disputes the obvious: since Charles de Gaulle's decision to withdraw from the military organisation more than 40 years ago, the alliance and the world have changed profoundly. Today's global threats demand greater European, as well as Nato, solidarity, and the alliance's successive enlargements mean that most EU members are now Nato members as well.

Second, the whole notion of "integration" is completely different since De Gaulle's day.

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