France to Rejoin NATO

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2009 11:28 AM CDT
French President Nicolas Sarkozy visits the French UNIFIL troops in southern At Tiri camp in Lebanon to give his annual New Year's speech to the military, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)
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(Newser) – Nicolas Sarkozy intends to bring France back into the NATO fold, ending 40 years of self-imposed exile, the BBC reports. But the decision, which the French president is expected to confirm tomorrow, may not go over well. The French treasure their “independence” from NATO, and critics say the move will make France “a clone of Great Britain,” and a potential pawn for the US.

France vehemently opposed the Iraq war, and critics fear full NATO membership will force it to go along with similar future undertakings. But Defense Minister Herve Morin notes that Germany is a full member and opposes the war. Under Charles de Gaulle, France left NATO’s command structure in 1966 saying it undermined national sovereignty, but the country does send troops on NATO missions.