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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 05:20 AM
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French Return to NATO Heals Atlantic Rift
French Return to NATO Heals Atlantic Rift
March 06, 2009
International Herald Tribune

The French, who never really left, are rejoining NATO as full members at the alliance's 60th anniversary summit meeting next month.

The decision, still to be formalized by President Nicolas Sarkozy, has stirred a predictable political debate in France, but it is being welcomed by Washington and Paris's European allies.

While the reintegration of France into the command structure of NATO will have little practical impact, the decision to rejoin as a full partner has enormous political and psychological weight, NATO officials and experts say.

It spells an effective end to a decades-long argument, led by France, about Europe acting as a "counterweight" to the United States in world affairs.

Herman Schaper, the Dutch ambassador to NATO, said that other Europeans "were always pushed into taking a European approach or the U.S. approach - to choose between being 'Atlanticist' or 'European.'"

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