Sunday, April 27, 2008

Merci, Monsieur Eugenides


France’s frosty relationship with NATO dates back to the time of de Gaulle’s return to the French presidency in 1958. The old General’s response to the perceived Anglo-American dominance of the alliance was to withdraw its Mediterranean fleet from NATO control and order the creation of a nuclear “Force de frappe” to give France an independent defense capability.

The split was formalized in 1966, when de Gaulle withdrew all French armed forces from NATO’s integrated command structure and demanded the immediate removal of all American troops from French soil, prompting the tart, if perhaps apocryphal, response from Lyndon Johnson, “Does that include the dead ones?”

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