France, Europe and the United States. Bringing the Transatlantic Relationship up to Date

French policy towards the United States is losing its traditional bearings. Given the balance of power, there would be little purpose for France to attempt to imitate the US’ attachment to a Westphalian vision of the state sovereignty. France’s action should base itself on several propositions : the substantial improvement of our knowledge and understanding of the US and US society ; to confront the US as a last, not as a first, resort, and to do so only on the basis of an exact determination of the interests at stake and of our ability to generate a favorable correlation of forces ; to use the European dimension systematically, recognising that this implies a good of subtlety, entailing the recognition that the Union’s primary aim is not to become a pole defining itself through opposition to the US ; to rop a metternichan vision of a multipolar world, and to pursue consistently the generation of synergies not only with our European partners but also with the network of non-state actors serving as a counterweight to the unbrilled exercise of the westphalian US hyperpower ; to recognise that not only are specifically French interest fading in importance vis a vis interest shared with our European partners, but also to integrate the fact that in distinction to the world of Metternich, Palmerston and Bismarck, it is permanent values which define our societies’ action in the international system, rather than interests. The corollary of this proposition is that conflicts of interest between France and the US should not take precedence vis a vis the weight of values in the transatlantic relationship. – Summary AFRI-2001