France on the Horizon

The French seem to be experiencing their first significant reemergence of military might since (dare we say) Napoleon. Forget the battlefield, France is making noteworthy changes to its defense organization and — maybe more importantly — to the business of defense.French President Nicolas Sarkozy has become cozy with such leaders as Libya’s Momar Quadafi, agreeing to sell our former foe and bad boy arms and nuclear technology. Sarcozy has sought to peddle French nuclear reactors across North Africa and the Middle East. Closer to home, Brazil might buy 50 helos from France’s Eurocopter SA. There are reports that Brazil might purchase a nuke sub from the French (a first in Latin America) and add it to its vast fleet of five conventional subs. There are reports this Franco-Brazilian alliance will consist of equipment sales and technological transfers, and military, economic, and cultural cooperation. (French culture, we assume, with some Brazilian Carnivale thrown in?)The energetic French president also has been busy in India. The two nations are forging ties they hope go beyond arms sales. Read that as nuclear technology. As soon as India gets the international green light to resume nuke-related activities (the international community has a long memory), we’re sure these two will be quite chummy (Cricket, monsieur?).Back in the homeland (France), it has been reported the plan is to the build a French-style “Pentagon” in Paris. Yes, we think someone used the term “cathedral,” though we can’t believe they just came up with this idea. The fact is it seems they’ll need it: France recently entered into an agreement with the United Arab Emirates that includes among other things – get this – a French military base there. Though the 500-person contingent is small compared with the 40,000 or so the United States has in the region, it seems to make a strong statement that the French have interests, too.It was just a matter of time. All this makes sense for France and for any other nation that can pull it off and back it up. This shift could assist the U.S. in the area of foreign policy, though reports are clear that the battle continues with NATO nations in support to areas like Afghanistan. The down side here is the increased competition for defense contracts worldwide. U.S. defense spending will not continue as it has over the past six years and some companies will be looking off shore. These moves by France are simply brilliant.

Recent Posts