The French have two presidents, the one they elect and another they do not, but who weighs heavily on their fate: the president of the United States. France’s military security, as well as that of the rest of Europe, depends on NATO, but this military alliance of collective protection is worth nothing without the American commitment.
An American officer leads NATO, and the French army alone would no more be able to defend itself than that of any other European country in the case of an attack, by Russia for example. The French army may be the most powerful in Europe, along with the British, but it hardly has the means to “project itself” in far-off campaigns without the logistical support of the United States. When, four years ago, François Hollande announced that the French air force was going to bomb the murderous troupes of the Syrian President, Barack Obama cut Hollande loose. Two hours later, France suddenly lost the means to locate its targets, a technique that only the Americans had mastered. France had to cancel its offensive. When, the following year, in January 2014[...]