By Philip H. Gordon
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Additional resources for A Certain Idea of France: French Security Policy and Gaullist Legacy
It would not amount to a regeneration of Western European states but, rather, lead to relinquishing the ability to defend their interests. Not only 12 CHAPTER 1 would France lose its ability to act if it were integrated into a European federation but so would the other European states as well. An inevitably artiﬁcial federation in Europe, de Gaulle believed, would lead either to an entity in which nothing would get done, or worse, one that would be dominated from the outside, that is, by the United States.
What it took to run an economy, and even to make foreign policy, was competence, not the “loyalty” of the masses to one ﬂag or another. In a European version of the American “best and brightest,” the technocrats of the Communities believed that they could manage the Continent’s affairs more effectively than the numerous minibureaucracies and governments of the individual states. This debate of historic proportions, thirty years later, has largely died down and has been tempered by pragmatism on both sides.
This colonial priority also had implications for Europe, fast becoming host to the highest concentration of military power the world had ever known. A country pouring its money and its soul into Asian and African wars and preoccupied with reasserting a world role was neither well placed nor well disposed to provide a large quota of foot soldiers along the central plains of Europe, particularly in an alliance dominated inevitably by the Americans. These colonial conﬂicts and efforts to maintain France’s global role affected France’s capacities in Europe in a number of ways.
A Certain Idea of France: French Security Policy and Gaullist Legacy by Philip H. Gordon