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French Defence Policy Since the End of the Cold War December 2020, Routledge

With a look at evolutions over the past three decades, the thematic chapters cover French defense institutions and civil-military relations, the transformation of armed forces, nuclear deterrence, the defense industry, military interventions, and alliances.


Over the past thirty years, there have been significant changes to French defense policy as a result of several contextual evolutions. Changes include shifts in the global balance of power, new understandings of the notion of international security, economic downturns, and developments in European integration. Yet despite these changes, the purpose of France’s "grand strategy" and its main principles have remained remarkably stable over time.

The book examines the general mechanisms that influence policy change and military transformation in democracies, the importance of status-seeking in international relations, the processes of strategy-making by a middle power, and the dilemmas and challenges of security cooperation. By doing so the book raises a number of questions related to the ways states adjust (or not) their security policies in a transformed international system. This book makes French-language sources available to non-French-speaking readers and contributes to a better understanding of a country that is at the forefront of Europe’s external action.

Alice Pannier and Olivier Schmitt, French Defence Policy Since the End of the Cold War, London: Routledge, 2021.

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Civil-military relations Defense deterrence Industrial policy Military intervention France