France-U.K. Defense Cooperation and EU Defense

Because of budgetary belt-tightening on both sides of the Channel, it's become increasingly common to hear about the logic and necessity of defense cooperation between France and Britain. The fact that this has moved beyond the realm of wild speculation and is indeed considered imminent by most serious observers is a testament to the sea change that's occurred, primarily in British defense thinking in a very short time. Consider that just last spring, when a U.K. Defense Ministry green paper even suggested the need for greater bilateral cooperation, it made headlines.

Nevertheless, wild speculation has persisted about that cooperation, which is what makes this smart piece from the Economist outlining how and where it is likely to manifest itself useful.

Now, there are two ways of looking at this in terms of assessing the French motivation here. The first is that it represents a very pragmatic and opportunistic way of developing contingency-driven relationships with the British defense establishment, which might reassure the U.K. euroskeptics enough to subsequently draw Britain in to expanded participation in European defense. That strikes me as a very generous view, however.

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