President Nicolas Sarkozy has emphasized that France intends to develop its nuclear deterrent and improve conventional forces.As a % of GDP it is less than the USA, but compared to the rest of Continental Europe (except for Greece) it is tops. We'll take it. France will always be France, but a strong France is a plus for a strong West. Mostly.
"You are the life insurance of France," he told the crew of a nuclear-missile submarine during a visit before Saturday's spectacular Bastille Day military parade in Paris.
His defense minister, Herve Morin, pledged to "revive the defenses massacred by the Socialists" during their tenure in power. France, he added, will maintain its military budget at 2 percent of the gross domestic product and build a second aircraft carrier.
Mr. Sarkozy, elected president in May, has set out to improve France's defense and build a more effective, though somewhat ignored, joint military force of the European Union.Sorry, I can't help myself; if they need directions, they should ask the Germans - they can do it in their sleep.
To stress his point, Mr. Sarkozy had invited all 27 EU members to send contingents to join the 4,000 French troops and military schools marching on the Champs-Elysees on July 14, the national day.