Forced to Choose: France, the Atlantic Alliance, and NATO -- Then and Now

In This Review

Forced to Choose: France, the Atlantic Alliance, and NATO -- Then and Now

By Charles G. Cogan
Praeger, 1997
158 pp. $55.00
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The two great merits of this short and well-researched volume, by a former high intelligence officer turned scholar, are a clear presentation of the many tracks and detours of French security policy between 1945 and 1951 and a convincing demonstration of the continuity of French concerns and purposes until this day. Post-1945 France had many handicaps: the legacy of the defeat of 1940, a determination to keep Germany weak, a desire for a balancing role between East and West, and a difficult relationship with Britain, which wanted to act as the indispensable intermediary between Washington and the European continent. It also faced a constant inability to keep the United States to the role of a major participant in European security, so as to keep the Soviets out and the Germans down, but not a dominant partner. After reading this book, American statesmen and journalists who say that French demands for a reshaping of NATO are diversions or absurdly pretentious will have no excuse for continuing to ignore the seriousness, depth, and longevity of French policy.