During the height of the transatlantic crisis in 2003, Franco-British relations declined due to several disputes and conflicts on foreign policies over the European Union (EU) and the U.S. This includes the incident where France was held responsible for British casualties in the war in Iraq…
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However, despite the Franco-British conflicts, European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) still remained as a priority policy for both nations (Howorth 2003). In the span of four years, the security and defence policy had rapid development and progress that will soon shape and have great implications in reviving the Atlantic Alliance and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In 2000, the ESDP was born through the unison of France and UK at a summit meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac in Saint-Malo. With the policy’s steady progress, it was set to take over several peacekeeping operations of NATO in Balkan through the tight cooperation of France and UK military forces (Howorth 2003). Arising disputes regarding the policy were usually due to “relations with other third countries, desired mix of military and civilian instruments, funding , procurement and industrial strategy” (Howorth 2003). The US global policies are considered compatible to ESDP and even provide aide to it in terms of providing a unified military assistance to NATO and as well as take charge on other peacekeeping mission in Europe. However, several factors in the 1990s contributed to renewed French doubts about NATO with some French officials not wanting the United States to exercise strong leadership in the alliance when Washington appeared to be giving Europe diminished priority after the Cold War ” (Congressional Research Services 2011). As the U.S. positions on involvement in the Balkan conflicts early in the 1990s, some French and other European officials questioned the alliance’s effectiveness, provided that Europeans saw the Balkan wars as a major threat to security. The United States eventually engaged its forces in the Balkans in several NATO operations. Some French officials believe that the Bush Administration distanced the United States from NATO in its efforts to create the coalitions of the willing, “a practice that in their view undermines the principles of collective defence, allied unity, and the rationale behind enlarging the alliance to bring in a broad spectrum of new governments” (Congressional Research Services 2011, pp. 13-14). The Franco-British cooperation was challenged in 2001due mainly to the differences in principle and approach of each country. While the British goes against visionary approaches, and favours pragmatism and tactics above strategy, France, on the other hand, goes the opposite, favouring strategy with their differences emerging from the different ideologies of legislators of each country. Combining the British pragmatism and French strategy provides a great strength to the policy and works like a double-edged sword that also makes it its weakness (Howorth 2003). With different perspectives and approaches to issues, more viable options are explored and ideas become more developed. Policies created were also more unbiased and really geared towards the welfare of not just one dominating country. But while this may prove to be a real strength of such alliance, it also proves to be faulty in several, if not many, cases. Such scenario disabled the group to come up with swift and decisive actions and implementations because of these differences. The September 11 terrorist attack in the US initiated an immediate response of establishing critical policies to further support the goals of ESDP and address the threats of terrorism. Blair’s speech to the Labour Union in October 2001 conveyed the sudden shift of his focus from addressing European issues to going global, with the intention of re-ordering the world. His objectives was first to support the US on its campaign of war against
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