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A Certain Idea of France: French Security Policy and by Philip H. Gordon PDF

By Philip H. Gordon

ISBN-10: 0691086478

ISBN-13: 9780691086477

ISBN-10: 1400811805

ISBN-13: 9781400811809

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Extra resources for A Certain Idea of France: French Security Policy and Gaullist Legacy

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Other organizations could certainly produce similar bureaucracies, but none, without the cohesion that history had delegated to the nation-state and the popular loyalty that was necessary to support it, could ever effectively act in those great matters on which government must decide. Governments sometimes had to make very difficult, unpopular decisions, and they could only do so if they were founded upon popular legitimacy and consent. ”21 For Charles de Gaulle, not only was the nation-state the only legitimate representative of individuals and social groups but only the nation-state could effectively act in their interests.

To be sure, the particular security policies of French governments after 1958 did not emerge from nowhere. 5 The Fourth Republic was not the incompetent, lackey regime depicted by de Gaulle but was similarly resentful of the policies of the Atlantic Alliance and, like de Gaulle, sought to use what leverage it could to assert France’s role in the world. The policies developed and pursued in France in the 1960s, now so readily identified as “Gaullist,” in fact have roots that were clearly planted in the years that preceded the General’s return to power.

As already pointed out, neither of these notions was invented by de Gaulle, and both have been salient elements in French history. In this 18 CHAPTER 1 sense, de Gaulle played on rather than created French political culture and myth. But de Gaulle’s construction of a foreign policy inspired in rhetoric and fact by grandeur and national independence—and especially the arguments about French national security born from it—make an exploration of the meaning of these concepts indispensable to an understanding of the Gaullist security legacy.

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A Certain Idea of France: French Security Policy and Gaullist Legacy by Philip H. Gordon


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