Moisi, Dominique
December 1981
Foreign Affairs;Winter81/82, Vol. 60 Issue 2, p347
Academic Journal
This section discusses the foreign policy of France under the leadership of Francois Mitterrand. Under Charles de Gaulle, French foreign policy as seen from Washington had a nuisance value at a time when France's domestic choices were much more in tune with those of her allies and neighbors. Under Mitterrand, the radical nature of the domestic changes in France have virtually changed French foreign policy into a reassuring value. At a time when pacifism is sweeping Northern Europe, and the Federal Republic of Germany in particular, France, with her firmness vis-a-vis the Soviet Union, her nuclear striking force, her strong defense budget and weak pacifist movement, seems an oasis of continuity. Mitterrand shares de Gaulle's faith in France's special mission in the world. He even transcends it by fusing France's destiny with that of socialism. In his inaugural speech at the Elys�e Palace, Mitterrand set the tone for his foreign policy by stressing that a great nation should entertain only noble projects and that France should enlighten humanity's progress. De Gaulle guided France's destiny within a classical realist vision of a balance of power concerned only with nation-states.


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