Courtesy Reuters

France: Illusions, Temptations, Ambitions

For obvious reasons, domestic politics have monopolized the passions of the French people during these last months. However, the debate we have been engaged in would lack breadth if it were not accompanied by a review of the politics France should follow on the international scene. Such a review must rise above personal quarrels and political maneuvering. While I will not attempt to describe what is — or what should be — French foreign policy in every area, problem by problem, sector by sector, I may be able to suggest some of the temptations that I believe our diplomacy should resist.


At the outset, I should like to explain the illusions that the Socialist-Communist opposition would like the French citizens to succumb to, and indicate some delusions that may bedevil the governing Majority.1 I wish it were easier to discuss the foreign policy of the Left. But this is a difficult undertaking. Socialists and Communists disagree on the main points and thus mention foreign policy very rarely. Out of the 185 pages of the Common Program, hardly 15 pages deal with it, including some which are clearly ambiguous.2 Moreover, when the Left Radicals adopted and agreed to support this document, which, like any work tailored for the occasion, has aged rather badly, they added an Annex in which not one line, not one word mentions this essential aspect of French politics.

Is French foreign policy really worth no more than a confused and off-hand postscript?

Undoubtedly, the Common Program includes a whole series of generous propositions to which my movement, the Assembly for the Republic (RPR), subscribes with enthusiasm, especially as it has always supported and worked for the implementation of: respect for the U.N. Charter, world peace, development of international cooperation, the fight against any form of fascism and racism.

The desires of the French people, however, will not be long satisfied by these worn-out slogans. In a way, it is quite natural that Messrs. Mitterrand, Marchais and Fabre substitute verbal acrobatics

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