War is much too serious a matter to be entrusted to the military.
I know that I was supposed to write the second part of my post about Bukovsky, but because of the news, it is my “duty” to postpone it later and talk about the last news from the French-German couple.
For several months, the French-German couple has been in crisis…On each important international or European issue, the disagreement between Paris and Berlin was huge: Union for the Mediterranean, the financial crisis, the environmental negotiations in the UE, governance of the Eurozone, etc. The list could be quite long…
Paris-Berlin or Paris-London ?
The very close friendship between Chirac/Schroder, Mitterrand/Kohl, de Gaulle/Adenauer seemed far away…Gone. And Paris was getting closer to London, reactivating the “Entente Cordiale”.
According to some people, this friendship’ crisis was the symbol of the end of this couple, of this engine, not able to survive in a 27 member States EU. After 50 years of common life, the time for divorce has come…So sure?
Erasmus for soldiers
Two days ago, in Munich, Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel took an important decision for the common history of both countries: soon, a German battalion will be based in France. Around 600 soldiers. In Alsace, this so special region…Alsace was annexed by Germany after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, but was reclaimed by France after World War I. It was seized by Nazi Germany in 1940, but reverted to France upon Germany’s defeat in 1945…
In 1989, the two countries created the Franco-German Brigade: 5200 soldiers, from both armies, under the same commander. 20 years later, they have served in peacekeeping missions to the Balkans and Afghanistan. Only based in Germany till now, a part of this unity is now going to move to France. It will be the first time since 1945 that German troops will be back on French soil, provoking a debate in France about reconciliation, memory and sovereignty.
After this very symbolic decision, Merkel and Sarkozy announced a common initiative on the economic level. It seems that all the differences are getting thinner and thinner. Paris and Berlin have understood the necessity of a common response to the crisis. Nicolas Sarkozy had proposed this idea at the very beginning of the crisis, when he was the President of the EU, but Angela Merkel, according to some diplomats said (in a less elegant version): “everyone has to deal with their own problems”.
One reason of this offensive could be the inaction of the Czech Presidency of the EU and the coming back of the American administration.
Both countries know that alone, they cannot do anything against USA, even if Washington is saying that there will be more dialogue between USA and theirs allies. And if they want to force the Czech President to do something, one country is not enough.
However, in any European issue, we can not forget one factor: the domestic front.
Those decisions are coming on time for the Chancellor and the President. For the first one, national elections are coming and it is time to show her as an European leader, able to act against the crisis, after all the critics from German politicians, saying that she has not done enough.
And for the second one, using the Franco-German axis is a way to sell to French people the new French policy about NATO. Yes we are getting closer to this pro-American alliance (according to French people) but look, at the same time; we are building the European defense, with ours German friends.
So, is the break over and is the love back? No one knows, but at least, it is the greatest European symbol since a long time.
This video shows the military parade on the Champs Elysée in Paris in 2007 (Bastille Day). This year, all the armies of the EU were invited for the first time.