France Wants Back In

French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced Wednesday that France will rejoin NATO’s integrated command structure, 43 years after then French President Charles de Gaulle withdrew French participation in protest of what he regarded as US hegemony over Europe. The Washington Post reported yesterday that Sarkozy said France has decided to return as a full-fledged member of the 26-nation military pact, the North Atlantic Alliance, which formed under US leadership at the start of the Cold War in 1949. “The time has come,” he said in a speech to France’s Strategic Research Foundation, the Post reported. He added, “Our strategy cannot remain stuck in the past when the conditions of our security have changed radically.” Sarkozy said he would formally notify France’s allies of its return to the NATO command during the celebrations marking the alliance’s 60th anniversary planned April 3-4 in Strasbourg, France, and Kehl, Germany, just across the border. President Obama will be in attendance. (For more, read Reuter’s March 11 report and a NATO statement)