France’s Strategic Posture: A Widening Focus

France’s Strategic Posture: A Widening Focus

Part I: Series Introduction
Part II: NATO Reintegration and European Defense

PARIS -- In assessing the strategic environment to which the Livre Blanc, France's strategic posture review, must respond, none of the French officials and experts interviewed by World Politics Review could really speak with much certainty. Taken together, the conversations we had gave the distinct impression that outside of the stable if evolving configurations of the European Union and the Atlantic alliance, France's emerging strategic vision is driven more by questions than by answers.

Russia's determination to reclaim its former influence presents both opportunities for partnership and more alarming scenarios of conflict, most notably in Central Asia's gas fields. China's rise is considered inevitable, but comes with the possibility of destabilizing effects, both in Asia and further afield. The emerging powers might integrate themselves into a reformed global governance system, or else operate parallel to it should no room be made for their ascension. And the Middle East remains a vector of volatility, with the specter of an Iran with deliverable nuclear weapons looming on the horizon. Bruno Tertrais, research fellow at the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, evoked an increased -- if still not great -- risk of a major regional conflict, and added, "The world is more unpredictable than when we prepared the last Livre Blanc in 1994. The idea of a strategic surprise is an idea we have to take more into account in our analysis."

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