France, Germany, and the development of a European Security and Defense identity
Showers, Timothy D.
Yost, David S.
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The concept of a European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI) within NATO is as old as the proposal made in 1950 by French Prime Minister Rene' Pleven to form a European Defense Community (EDC) that would integrate French and German military forces into a common European army. However, the differences between French and German strategic culture have hampered efforts to establish an ESDI. One of the most critical dilemmas sterns from the clash between (a) the German belief that United States engagement is essential to European stability and should not be undermined and (b) the long-standing goal of French leaders to develop a Europe that is more independent of American influence. Another key dilemma has involved French efforts to reconcile the Gaullist legacy of preserving national autonomy with an ever-increasing commitment to European integration and France's growing role in the integrated defense and security architecture of Europe. As long as French leaders continue to be influenced by de Gaulle's approach to foreign and national security policy, many obstacles to furthering the development and strengthening the capabilities of an ESDI will persist.
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