France, Russia and the Mistral

The French sale of a Mistral-class amphibious attack vessel to Russia has gotten all sorts of attention Stateside over the past few weeks, culminating in Defense Secretary Robert Gates visiting Paris in part to energetically convey the U.S. administration’s disapproval of the deal. Curiously, the deal has gotten far less coverage in the French press, even following the announcement by a French Defense Ministry official that the sale had been approved, with a Russian request for three more also under consideration. The issue warrants attention, because it gets to the heart of the odd configuration that currently characterizes U.S.-Europe-Russia relations. […]

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