France's New Nuclear Doctrine
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The new nuclear deterrence doctrine announced by President Jacques Chirac in January 2006 has rightly been recognized as ground-breaking and potentially momentous in its implications, although in fact several of the key changes in policy had already been set out in a speech he made in June 2001.1 While France remains determined to deter threats from major powers, its main new preoccupation is deterring regional powers by making clear that it has developed more employable nuclear options. This article reviews the innovations in French doctrine, examines factors that may have contributed to the speech’s timing, and considers some implications of the new strategy.
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