France’s Geostrategic Choices in Central Europe.

France’s Geostrategic Choices in Central Europe.

When dissecting the failure of european
support for the ukrainian cause during
the war with the russian federation two
countries come to mind first germany and
france while berlin has historically
sought consolidation with continental
russia which may in a way explain its
choices today paris has usually sought
to break this arrangement by among other
things entering into close relations
with poland today for various reasons
france supports the eurasian concept
which can be called quote europe from
lisbon to vladivostok unquote of which
russia is an irreplaceable participant
daniel fubar of excalibur insight
debates the wisdom of this choice from
the point of view of french national
interest welcome to the 20s report
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france seems to ignore two recent facts
the reunification of germany and the
emergence of an independent central
europe it continues to act as if it did
not need a counterweight to germany as
if russia were still a major political
and economic power that could help it in
its quest for independence from the
united states and as if central europe
were a political desert this is wrong
let us recall a few neglected elements
of the french geostrategic tradition
throughout the 17th and 18th centuries
france’s main ally to the east of what
was then germany was poland relations
with the grand duchy of muscovy apart
from some occasional alliances were
disastrous there were two reasons for
this first the eternal anti-prussian and
anti-austrian interests of the french
monarchy to which the polish lithuanian
commonwealth was the preferred remedy
the second were the cultural economic
political and social backwardness of
russia
the 19th century was not much brighter
politically for the franco-russian
relations with the background of the
ephemeral treaty of tilst and the
crimean war
the brutal repression of polish
uprisings by terrorist russia as well as
the deportation of the polish elite to
siberia led to french support for the
polish cause and to the recurrent
deterioration of franco-russian
relations
france maintained strong ties with
poland despite the latter’s
disappearance from the map of europe
some salient examples can be found
during the napoleonic era for the
creation of the grand duchy of warsaw
and even the fact that the polish troops
constituted the best cavalry in the
french empire the charge of polish
ullans at the battle of somos sierra is
among the most brilliant feats of arms
of the empire
additionally polish political and
cultural immigrants systematically chose
paris as their destination the per la
chez cemetery has about 600 polish
graves including that of frederick
chopin who is perhaps the best
representative of franco-polish
friendship
faced with the polish elites
francophilia russia’s solution was an
undermining strategy the russian elite
on the one hand learned french while on
the other deported and massacred the
polish elite just as the cuckoo throws
away an egg in the nest it takes this
strategy successfully led to the russo
french reapproximate of 1891
there are several kinds of allies just
as there are several kinds of enemies
there are allies of circumstance such as
russia whose alliances with france have
always been fragile and even constrained
and there are natural allies like poland
which endure in spite of disasters and
the constants of geography
to measure the capital importance of the
franco-polish alliance and in a general
way of central europe in our national
strategic thinking let us return to the
sources of french geostrategy in the
20th century expressed under the pen of
none other than general de gaulle
in 1919 the goal gave a conference in
warsaw entitled quote the franco-polish
alliance the text of which is as
forgotten as it is dreadful for russian
german interests
for the goal it was impossible to
dissociate the german problem from the
russian problem he considered germany
and russia as natural allies he saw the
keystone of this natural alliance as
their shared interest in exploiting the
other nations of central europe learning
from the great mistake of napoleon the
third the then captain the goal already
did not need to be in a position of
power to be right and so the joint
domination of germany and russia over
central europe constituted a danger of
the first order for france mainly
because it gave germany proportions that
could only lead to the domination of the
continent and thus putting france at its
mercy to dominate the heartland of the
european continent is to dominate europe
the gaul opposed it in 1919 and would
undoubtedly oppose it today as well
at this point it is worth going back to
the specific words of captain the goal
in 1919
more than 100 years after they were
uttered they still apply to very current
affairs
quote in france of the 18th century as
in france of all time the party was the
many politicians who systematically
refused any intervention outside their
borders it was the influence of this
party that in the 18th century caused us
to lose canada and the indies and which
caused us to refuse to give any serious
help to a dying poland france has paid a
heavy price for her negligence towards
poland she knows today how much it cost
her to have let berlin and vienna
destroy this natural counterweight to
germanism between central and eastern
europe we want a strong poland because
first of all it is the just solution
this state was powerful at the time when
the rapacity of its neighbors
dismembered it and its power was in
short used against the enemies of
european civilization thus it deserved
to keep that power and then it is in our
most obvious national interest that the
polish military will be formidable
germany is beaten but it is already
recovering as the armies of our
anglo-saxon allies move away from their
rhyme besides everything must be
foreseen who guarantees us the eternal
and above all immediately effective
alliance of england and america in order
to keep an eye on germany which is
slightly determined to take revenge and
if necessary to reduce it once again we
need an continental ally on whom we can
rely at all times
every step forward of germanism to the
west is a threat to her like every
prussian advantage gained to the east is
a danger to us
bolshevism will not last forever in
russia a day will finally come when
order will be restored there and russia
will look around again on that day she
will see herself as peace has left her
that is to say deprived of estonia
livonia kureland finland poland
lithuania bezarabia and perhaps even
ukraine in a word reduced to the limits
of old muscovy will she be satisfied
with this we do not believe so the same
causes producing the same effects will
see russia resume its march towards the
west and the southwest on which side
will russia look for help to resume the
work of peter the great and catherine ii
let us not say it too loudly but let us
know and think about it it will be
toward germany that she will inevitably
turn her hopes
i will consider myself very happy if i
can strengthen in your mind the
conviction that by serving here we serve
par excellence french national interest
each of our efforts in poland gentlemen
is a little more glory for eternal
france
unquote said the young charles de gaulle
in 1919 in warsaw who let’s recall
fought the bolsheviks alongside the
polish army in the battle of warsaw a
year later
this is the logic of french policy in
central europe as deducted from the
treaty of versailles this treaty later
reinforced by the franco polish alliance
of 1921 guaranteed france’s security
just like the treaties of westphalia in
the 17th century france provided
political and military support to poland
while poland guaranteed juicy economic
concessions in exchange according to a
system comparable to the petrol dollar
this system unfortunately collapsed when
france signed the treaty of locarno in
1924 due to france’s lack of resistance
to anglo-american pressure to normalize
its relations with germany france
abandoned its european security
architecture lost its credibility in
central europe and consequently
abdicated its great power status we know
where this then led us
as events unfolded france as well as the
goal lost sight of both the russo german
problem which could have been considered
resolved and the polish alliance which
could have been considered impossible
especially since the polish elite had
been decimated by the joint efforts of
the nazis and the soviets notably 23 000
officers exterminated in cutting by the
latter
in this context the desire for
independence from the united states took
precedence over all other geostrategic
concerns of france and led it to soften
its relationship with the ussr this is
what led the goal speak of and quote
american protectorate installed in
europe under the cover of nato unquote
and to leave the integrated command of
nato in 1966
france’s will to dispose of itself is
incompatible with a defense organization
in which it is subordinate
while solidly anchored in the west
france developed an anti-american
sensibility reinforced not only by the
humiliation of the suez crisis and its
colonial interests but also the power of
the french communist party the united
states did not find favor with any of
the french political parties during the
cold war and from the 1980s onwards
france’s general rejection of
anglo-saxon neo-liberal policies was
added to this france has had and still
has difficulty detaching itself from the
conception of russia as a counterweight
to the united states clinging to what it
considers sacrosanct goalism when it
merely is a variation of the theme of
politics of grandeur
thus france’s anti-american sentiments
remain strong and there are several
causes for this
to start france sees neo-liberalism as a
threat to its paternalistic economic
model which is further exacerbated by
the aggressive tax optimization of u.s
companies that pay their taxes in
ireland on profits made in the rest of
the common market which concerns about
70 percent of them the second is
france’s pro-arab policy the best
example of this was provided by
dominique developers speech the u.n
security council in 2003 and france’s
refusal to participate in the iraq war
the third is the error of analysis that
is fashionable in france and which
consists in thinking that the united
states is permanently weakened in a
world that has become multi-polar
established during the franco-russian
convergence of the late 1990s our world
is indeed multi-polar but one pole
dominates to think that there is some
kind of equality of power between the
united states the european union and
china is a mistake
this error has led emanuel macron in
line with his predecessors to define
france as a quote balancing power in the
service of peace and security and to run
it as a kind of diplomatic bank
this results in occasional but recurring
diplomatic crises such as the october
2021 termination by australia of the
submarine delivery contract it had
signed with france in favor of a new u.s
uk contract
in line with its foreign policy during
the cold war france is vary of an openly
pro-american central europe the
participation of poland romania the
czech republic bulgaria latvia and
estonia in the iraq war was very badly
received by paris the fact that these
countries buy most of their military
equipment from the united states is a
constant cause of france’s irritation
with them and finally france finds
difficulties in internationalizing and
it’s adapting to the fluidity of the
anglo-saxon world influencing global
governance and participating in the
definition of international standards
the other reasons that russia may be
favored in france are mainly corruption
and overt russian influence
for example how it is that the former
french prime minister franco affilon can
sit on the board of directors of a
russian company
as for the economic relations between
france and russia they are much less
significant than those of france has
with central europe for example the
total value goods and services of trade
flows between france and central europe
reached 80 billion dollars in 2019 while
that between france and russia was only
16 billion dollars by comparison the
value of trade with italy france’s
second largest trading partner was 91
billion dollars while the first germany
was at 173 billion others include the
united states at 90 billion china at 83
billion spain at 82 billion and finally
the united kingdom at 63 billion even
for its gas france imports only about 20
percent from russia the condensation of
the eliza palace towards central europe
compared with its relentless efforts to
improve relations with russia thus seems
all the more absurd
the policy of considering russia as a
partner is in any case a failure
in fact since 2013 france has been
gradually undoing all of its ties with
russia but unfortunately under duress
and astonishment and not on its own
strategic initiative doing that while
neglecting contact with central europe
and never consulting central european
governments before negotiating with
russia france thus has strained
relations with both russia and poland
emmanuel macron wanted a quote
strategically autonomous european power
from lisbon to vladivostok unquote
without taking into account the security
issues of central europe we see today
where this has led him
strengthening its ties with central
europe would allow france to obtain a
useful counterweight to germany and to
strengthen its position vis-a-vis the
united states because the latter needs
france to support sanctions against
russia and help ukraine win the war and
therefore to develop european security
within the framework of nato and not in
the perspective of detached conceptions
such as a strategic autonomy from lisbon
to whatever stock was more france
constitutes a potentially valuable ally
in containing china’s influence in
europe especially in the face of
reluctant germany which holds
significant trade surpluses yet is still
unwilling to be a committed member of
nato
without a strong commitment from france
the us will only succeed at arm’s length
without any commitment from france it
will not succeed
the united states also need a europe
that works without a strong commitment
from the united states which is the key
to its strategic reorientation towards
asia either france will establish itself
as a reliable and respected partner of
the united states or it will expose
itself to increasing isolation on the
international stage and expose the
entire west to the chinese threat by
pretending to act in everyone’s
interests in order to follow one’s own
one ends up working in the interests of
adversaries
french policy in central europe is all
the more apparent in that there is a
sort of disconnect between the behavior
of the french political class vis-a-vis
central europe and the attitude of
french companies toward the region the
united states has grasped the political
importance of central europe very well
despite relatively little investment and
a relatively modest economic presence
france’s negative political alignment
prevents it from leveraging its economic
presence for example the cumulative
value of french fdi in poland reached 5
billion euros in 2020 which is behind
only german fdi central europe could
however provide france with the
contracts it needs to revive its economy
it is the untapped reserve of growth it
is missing the potential is considerable
arms contracts energy deals including in
particular nuclear aeronautical orders
infrastructure etc all of france’s
cutting cage products and services can
contribute to the development of central
europe which needs france especially
since it must gain economic independence
from german production chains
the region although populated by 120
million people and endowed with enormous
potential faces many structural
difficulties which it will overcome with
or without france the challenge is to
ensure that france is not left behind
central europe has an infrastructure
deficit of about 1.5 trillion dollars it
is incomprehensible that france unlike
germany and the united states has not
decided to participate in the free seas
initiative which is designed to
transform the region
the progress that has been made in terms
of know-how skills and organization over
the past 30 years is considerable but
the remaining potential is just as great
on the other hand central europe still
has much to learn from france to
summarize france’s best ally was never
russia germany or england but poland
this is a historical fact therefore
france has to choose between a
continuing to think of itself as a world
power becoming insignificant and being
marked on the word diplomatic stage or b
becoming a strong and respected regional
power which is not its current situation
containing what lies between the rhine
and the
has been the priority of french foreign
policy for more than 1 000 years
our power in the world is first and
foremost our power in europe in recent
times our policy towards russia has in
fact been that of germany if you do not
wake up and put france’s interests where
they belong that is in paris and not in
berlin or moscow it is the french people
who will put them there in the impetuous
and chaotic way they have always done
sixty percent of the french people voted
for anti-european political parties in
the last presidential elections in
addition to the fact that emmanuel
macron did not get a majority to lead
the country this should give us food for
food
this was an opinion piece by daniel
fuber of excalibur insight

 

 

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