The « defence diplomacy », main component of the preventive diplomacy. Toward a new symbiosis between diplomacy and defence

« Defence diplomacy », a British concept created by the Strategic Defence Review of 1998, intends to better integrate military and diplomatic tools operating with a view to prevent conflicts or to manage crises. Whereas the United Kingdom is mainly focusing on the democratic transition in Eastern Europe, France retains a strong interest in Africa, despite a real endeavour towards rebalancing part of its activities towards Eastern Europe. The main goals are however very similar, since both countries try to promote the modernisation of armed forces in a democratic environment. They train their partners to peace-keeping operations in order to enhance their regional capabilities. Interoperability is thus developing through combined operations in the Balkans, as well as through exercises in Africa in the framework of the French program RECAMP. A cooperative approach is more systematically being developed, whether in a NATO context or in an endeavour to involve members of the European Union. Key to the success of such a policy is the deep reforms already accomplished inside the Departments of Foreign Affairs and of Defence : the former has now fully integrated co-operation in its organisation, the latter is increasingly opening to international affairs. – Summary AFRI-2002