Studying France’s defence policy

I published two articles in the Journal of Strategic Studies on France’s defence policy. They are part of a special issue on France in the transatlantic security order I guest-edited, and which includes articles from Alice Pannier (US-UK-France relations), Stephanie Hofmann (French party politics and policies towards NATO), Olivier Chopin (intelligence reform), Nicolas Giacometti (nuclear policy) and Élie Tenenbaum (irregular warfare).

Below are the abstracts and the links to the two articles, available in open access thanks to the SDU library.

 

“The Reluctant Atlanticist: France’s Security and Defence Policy in a Transatlantic Context” (link) (pdf)

This article introduces the key tenets of French foreign and security policy during the Cold War, and illustrates the deep challenges to the French consensus raised by the emergence of a unipolar system. There is a growing gap between the rhetoric of French security policy, emphasizing ‘autonomy’ and ‘sovereignty’ out of habit from the Cold War, and the actual security practices showing a gradual embedding within the transatlantic security structures. In the absence of a new transpartisan grand narrative relevant for the contemporary international system, such embedding is easily portrayed in France as a ‘treason’ from a romanticized Gaullist foreign policy.

 

“French Military Adaptation in the Afghan War: Looking Inward or Outward?” (link) (pdf)

For some, a specific feature of the French armed forces’ adaptation process would be the capacity to look inward instead of outward in order to identify relevant solutions to tactical/doctrinal problems. This article questions such a narrative, and argues that the French armed forces are as quick as any to borrow from other countries’ experiences. In order to do so, this article introduces the concept of ‘selective emulation’, and compares the French and German military adaptation processes in Afghanistan. The article argues that there is indeed something distinctive about French military adaptation, but it is not what the fiercest defenders of the French ‘exceptionalism’ usually account for.

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International Sanctions

I published a chapter on international sanctions in the second edition of the Routledge Handbook of Security Studies, edited by Thierry Balzacq and Myriam Dunn Calvety, in which I survey the academic literature.

The handbook is available both as hardback and as ebook. You can download a pre-proofed version of the chapter here.

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Conspiracy theories in contemporary Russia

My latest article (in French), co-authored with Stéphane François, has been published by Diogène (the social sciences journal founded by Roger Caillois and supported by the UNESCO).

It is about conspiracy theories in contemporary Russia, and is part of a special issue on conspiracy theories.

You can find it online or in PDF.

Diogène

The French far-right and the world : an ‘alternative’ view of international relations

I published with my colleague Stéphane François an article on the French far-right view of the world (in French) in the sociology journal Interrogations.

I reproduce the abstract below, and the article can be read here (ungated)

The various groups composing the French far-right share a specific vision of international relations, based on anti-imperialism (justifying anti-americanism) and a « geopolitical » and totalising understanding of international life, according to which « everything is connected ». In this article, we establish the genealogy of this analytical grid, and illustrate some of its expressions, notably the anti-materialism of the far-right, its rejection of Human Rights and its ambiguities towards islam. This frame of reference is useful in order to understand the statements of the Front National (and other far-right movements) on recent international events such as the Ukrainian or Syrian crises.

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Europeanisation or “NATO-isation”? The United Kingdom, France and Germany in Afghanistan

I just published an article (in French) in the Journal Politique Européenne on military adaptation in the Afghan War. You can access it online or in pdf. I also reproduce the abstract below.

“The decade-long military intervention in Afghanistan had a strong effect on the transformation of western armed forces. This article examines one of the pathways of such military change, namely selective emulation. Taken aback by the evolution of the fightings in Afghanistan, France, Germany and the UK looked for doctrinal or technical answers to the challenges they were facing on the ground within NATO (the structure and/or the member states). However, the importation of such solutions depends on each national political-military context, in particular the proximity with the United States, the existence of a strong local defense industry or a specific strategic culture. After the “Europeanisation without the EU” of the French defence policy in the 90’s identified by Bastien Irondelle, we now observe a “NATO-isation with NATO” of the three major European military powers’ defence policies, because of the Afghan campaign.”

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