April 26, 2017

It's not just Europe: The DoD has a lot riding on the French elections, too

By Jacqueline Ramos and Jim Townsend

It is not just Europe and the European Union that have something at stake in the outcome of the French elections. One of French President François Hollande’s legacies is the creation of the strongest Franco-American defense and intelligence relationships in living memory. Hollande’s wise and cool-headed minister of defense, Jean-Yves Le Drian, steadily built this relationship in close partnership with four successive U.S. secretaries of defense, establishing a unique and warm bond with each. 
 
The bonhomie began in 2013 with then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s pledge to provide relentless support to French operations in Mali. From that point until today, U.S. and French forces have been deep in the fight together in a crescent from Afghanistan, the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Five years ago, our intelligence partners were split between the Five Eyes nations and everybody else. Now, with years of combat and counterterrorism activities together, it is Five Eyes plus France. Whoever wins the May 7 runoff election will inherit this defense and intelligence relationship, along with the responsibility to work with U.S. President Donald Trump to protect and nurture it.
 
The United States and France have had their difficult moments. From “Citizen Genêt” and the Quasi-War in the late 18th century to freedom fries in the 21st century, it seems the U.S.-France relationship is in perpetual marriage counseling. If nations had a genetic code, the U.S. and France would be genetically fated to always see the world differently as it did when President Charles de Gaulle kicked NATO out of Paris. However, when there is a scrape to be had, the U.S. and France often find themselves fighting shoulder to shoulder. 

Read the full article at Defense News.

  • Podcast
    • June 26, 2020
    Defense Priorities in a New Administration, with Michèle Flournoy

    Michèle Flournoy joins Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend to discuss how a Biden administration can work with NATO to confront transnational threats. Flournoy has been a l...

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend & Michèle Flournoy

  • Video
    • June 24, 2020
    The Pitch: A Competition of New Ideas

    On June 17, 2020, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) hosted its premier event to elevate emerging and diverse voices in national security. Sixteen applicants made t...

    By Richard Fontaine, Michèle Flournoy, Michael J. Zak, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Shai Korman, Carrie Cordero, Kristine Lee, David Zikusoka & Cole Stevens

  • Video
    • June 24, 2020
    The Bottom Line

    Although lawmakers and the public frequently debate the size of the U.S. defense budget, a fundamental question usually receives less attention: What does U.S. military spendi...

    By Susanna V. Blume

  • Commentary
    • Real Clear World
    • June 24, 2020
    Duda’s Unnecessary Gamble

    Polish President Andrzej Duda will visit the White House on Wednesday, a mere four days before the first round of Poland’s presidential election. While the United States and P...

    By Adam Twardowski & Carisa Nietsche

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia