Franco-European deterrence: what are the 3 models applicable for France

As he did five years ago now, French President Emmanuel Macron has shaken up the European geopolitical landscape, by evoking the possibility of starting discussions with his neighbors, with a view to bringing about a Franco-European deterrent, on the basis French nuclear resources.

Despite a particularly vague openness regarding the model applicable to this subject, this speech from the Sorbonne, second edition, has, once again, caused a stir, more especially within the French political class, it is true, engaged in an electoral process favoring clear-cut positions.

If the majority of political actors, but also many commentators, have interpreted the remarks of the present as a possible extension of French deterrence to Europe, implying an abandonment of sovereignty for the country, the models that could be considered, at this subject, are three in number, with sometimes radically different implications, on the French deterrent tool as well as on French sovereignty over its own deterrence.

Franco-European deterrence regains appeal in Europe in the face of the Trump threat

During the first speech at the Sorbonne, in 2019, Emmanuel Macron had already mentioned such a possibility, of starting discussions with the European countries that wished it, to use French deterrence in order to protect them.

Macron trump 2020
President Macorn was very isolated during the 2020 NATO summit, having followed his first speech at the Sorbonne.

The announcement was then very poorly received, in Europe, as in the United States, all seeing it as a French maneuver against NATO, to position Paris at the top of the emerging concept of Defense Europe. So, in Warsaw like in Berlin, as well as in Washington, the reactions were as negative as they were severe towards France.

Since then, the geopolitical landscape, both global and European, has evolved considerably. The war in Ukraine, Russian rearmament, the rise of Chinese deterrence, and the arrival of new actors, such as North Korea and Iran, on the global strategic scene, have changed the perception of the threat , including in Europe.

It is, however, the repeated declarations of Donald Trump, Republican candidate in the future American presidential elections of November 2024, and favorite in the polls, which generated the biggest concerns in European chancelleries.

The former American president has, in fact, on several occasions raised the possibility, for the United States, of withdrawing from NATO, but also of having a much less strict interpretation than promised so far by Washington , concerning its Article 5. Matching action with words, Trump and the Republican Party have hindered, for more than six months, American support for Ukraine, causing a marked weakening of Kyiv in the balance of power with Moscow.

Trump meeting 2023
Donald Trump is today in the favorite position in the pre-election polls in the United States.

These declarations provoked a brutal and severe awakening among a large part of Europeans who had, until now, considered American protection for granted and immovable.

Naturally, the 2019 French proposal today has an attractiveness that is very different from five years ago. It is in this context that the second speech from the Sorbonne takes place, reiterating this French proposal to begin discussions about the possible emergence of a Franco-European deterrent.

Franco-European deterrence: a vague concept from Emmanuel Macron widely criticized in France

If the overtures made by Emmanuel Macron in this speech received a much more attentive and benevolent reception from Europeans, aware of the risk posed by the arrival of Donald Trump at the White House in 8 months, it is in France that this time it provoked the most reactions, most often very hostile.

So, without much surprise, with European elections in just six weeks, the political oppositions were all up in arms against the opening made by Emmanuel Macron. The same was true of many commentators in the French defense sphere.

In both cases, it was a question of rejecting the loss of French sovereignty on its deterrent tool that such a decision would generate, with certain nuances however. Thus, for some, the extension of deterrence to other European countries would above all lead to an increase in the risks of seeing France targeted by Russia, in the event of a conflict.

Iskander-M Russia
The Russian nuclear threat is based on a vast array of munitions, ranging from the short-range Iskander-M ballsitic missile to the R-30 Bulava SLBM with a range of more than 9000 km, carrying up to 10 MIRVs.

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6 Comments

  1. Excellent idea Fabrice (three)
    For the cacophony of commies (LFI) and fascists (RN), we must not take it into account too much because if we listen to them, we must lay down our arms and live peacefully with tyrants and dictators as partners.
    And what's more, if it can make your nipples happy, then it's good :p

    • In my opinion, this is the only option that could actually be implemented, without causing disaster (hypothesis 2), and with minimal effect (I doubt that option 1 would actually change anything). Afterwards, whether or not we should do it is everyone's opinion.

    • The objective of the article is not to say what must be done, but simply what can be done, in this area, and to study the consequences on French deterrence itself. Afterwards, applicability, national and international acceptability, these are other debates that I am careful not to approach))

  2. Really, as a young subscriber, I am finally finding fascinating in-depth articles and thank you.
    Well agreed, the articles and in particular this one aim to enlighten and not to provide solutions
    Faced with the fantasy of American nuclear deterrence and its natural isolationism (see the two world wars), represented by Trumpism, we actually have a card to play.
    But I don't think the American military complex is going to let this happen and lose a magnificent income based on a fantasy.
    Except, if Russia continues to be threatening, then I am not sure that our US friends will be very reactive, see Churchill who was forced to have his planes pulled by horses…..

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