Does the extension of French deterrence in Europe increase the risks of nuclear conflict with Russia?

The week which ends, this March 1, will have been of unparalleled intensity in the last forty years, concerning the role of Europeans in the global strategic equation, the role of France, in this new European strategic equation, as well as as the role of the armies and French deterrence, to achieve this.

These often complex subjects were addressed in a series of analyzes published on this site this week. At the same time, it appeared that French public opinion, like the country's political class, were particularly divided on this subject.

While some French people remain convinced that it is necessary to respond to the Russian threat in Ukraine and against Europe, through firmness, and that France, but also its deterrence, have a strategic and driving role to play in Europe, to achieve this; another part, on the other hand, firmly opposes these hypotheses, highlighting the risks of extension of the conflict, with, at the end of the day, a possible nuclear apocalypse.

The division of French opinion, although rare on questions like this, revolves around a question that must be treated with objectivity and method: the extension of French deterrence to other countries. Europeans, does it increase, for France, the risks of escalation, and therefore of direct, and potentially nuclear, war with Russia?

From Sarajevo to Munich, two historical traumas tear French public opinion apart

If the hypothesis of a potential conflict between NATO and Russia is more and more openly raised by Western officials, including the Americans and the British, public opinion, such as the political class, in Europe and in the United States, are often divided on this subject.

B2 Spirit Us Air Force
There is no doubt in the minds of Europeans that the United States would be ready to use nuclear fire against Russia, in the event of an attack on Europe. And it is certain that the Russians consider that this risk is high enough not to attack the Europeans, as long as US protection is solid and determined.

However, few countries are exposed to such a radical divide within their public opinions as is France. Whether on the subject of the support provided by France to Ukraine, France's posture vis-à-vis Russia, and above all the possibility, for France, of extending its deterrent perimeter beyond of its borders, in order to protect its European partners from NATO and the European Union, two camps are firmly opposed, both within public opinion and the political class of the country.

Sarajevo, the game of alliances and the First World War

It must be said that around these questions, two profound historical and cultural traumas are at work in France. The first was none other than the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, on June 28, 1914, by a Serbian nationalist, which led Europe, and particularly France, into the First World War and its million and a half French soldiers killed in combat.

The responsibility of alliance game in this more than painful episode in French history, although very questionable, was deeply anchored in the French collective unconscious.

This is also where we must find, in part, the origin of the famous phrase “not to die for Danzig”, constantly repeated before the Second World War, and of the lack of emphasis in the French military actions against Germany during the Phoney War, when the German armies were most vulnerable.

Mobilization France 1914
In 1914, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Britain were all on a course of confrontation. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinant served as a detonator, but did not create the First World War.

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5 Comments

  1. Excellent analysis to which we can add trade to the tune of 870 billion Euros, which the USA could hardly replace in the event of a general conflict in Europe and therefore a slowdown in the economy, we can add a rebalancing of European military spending towards intra-EU orders

  2. We must take into account that France has spent around 5 billion euros/year over the last 20 years just to maintain its deterrence, so without wanting to draw a parallel with Trump's allegations, it is a bit easy for the countries of the EU, to wait for a protectorate whether American or French without spending a penny.

  3. After being invaded by our neighbor in 1870, 1914 and 1940, we collectively decided to pay billions over decades to equip ourselves with a credible deterrent force to prevent such mishaps from happening again. And should it be put at the service of Poles who order American, Korean and Israeli weapons?

    And even if the Poles (or other countries) bought weapons from us on a massive scale, deterrence would remain an insurance policy that only protects those who hold it and no one else.

    • It all depends on the consideration we give to the European Community which was certainly built by bankers as an economic community and not a social community. I am not a federalist, but it still carries values ​​of freedom and self-determination for their people if it is not for their political personnel.

      In this context, it seems healthy to me that France offers its nuclear umbrella within this community. Now, this entire community must also behave in a healthy manner towards itself and tend to favor its members in terms of military equipment already and to avoid taking partisan positions as parliament seems to systematically do. German with the background task of awarding contracts strengthening its own industry to the detriment of other European nations.

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