In This Review

Two Strategies for Europe: De Gaulle, the U.S., and the Atlantic Alliance
Two Strategies for Europe: De Gaulle, the U.S., and the Atlantic Alliance
By Frederic Bozo
Rowman & Littlefield, 2001, 277 pp
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Bozo, a top French scholar of foreign policy and strategic affairs, has written a masterful account of the intricate issues that have plagued Franco-American relations for so long. He focuses on the second "reign" of President Charles de Gaulle (1958-69, when Franco-American tensions were at their worst) to dissect de Gaulle's priorities as well as his methods. The primacy of political independence, the push for autonomy within NATO, and the determination to provide France with a nuclear deterrent under exclusive French control were goals de Gaulle never abandoned. Yet considerable pragmatism in tactics and strategic designs accompanied his inflexibility in purpose. Bozo's assessment of de Gaulle's legacy also stands out. Beyond independence for France, the general sought diplomatic and strategic autonomy for Europe, which meant a drastic reform of NATO that required broad support from France's European partners. He had not succeeded at the time he left office, but French policy has exhibited strong continuities ever since -- as has America's desire to remain strategically preeminent in Europe. As Bozo puts it, "the French 'difference' has become less systematic" than under de Gaulle, but "European goals do remain and they are on the agenda more than ever" -- as the embryonic European foreign and security policy demonstrates.