Can we still rely on nuclear deterrence?

On November 5, 1956, a Franco-British expeditionary force landed in Egypt to regain control of the Suez Canal recently nationalized by President Gamal Abdel Nasser, in a military operation organized jointly with Israel which had seized the Egyptian Sinai a few days later. early. Despite the military successes of this coalition, the Franco-British troops withdrew after only a few days, when the Soviet Union threatened Paris and London with nuclear strikes. Even though NATO declared at that time that such Soviet action would lead to a similar response, Washington also put pressure on its two European allies to obtain their withdrawal, by carrying out an attack on the British Pound which lost 10% of its value. value in just a week.

This episode ends up convincing the French authorities of the need for an autonomous nuclear deterrent force, to be able to resist the "nuclear blackmail" carried out by Moscow, and not to depend on American decisions if the need arises. feel. Indeed, until then, the French military nuclear program was integrated into a purely NATO framework. The British took another route. Even if they also developed their own deterrent force, the Suez episode above all marked the shift of London towards an intimate alliance with Washington, an alliance which continues today.

Landing of the French naval commandos on November 5, 1956 to seize the Suez Canal. The military operation was a success, yet France and Great Britain came out weakened and humiliated by this intervention.

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