The signing of Anglo-French Defence Treaty has been one of the least reported, and analysed, of the UK coalitions Government's policies, whilst being, without question, one of its most significant. In the context of defence cuts on both sides of the Atlantic and the Channel, and of a Libyan operation in which Britain and France's dependence on American assets surprised some observers in Washington, this paper assesses the consequences of the Treaty for Anglo- French defence cooperation.
John Stevens is a Visiting Fellow at LSE IDEAS.
There is a well-known (though probably apocryphal) story told of Lord Raglan, the Com-mander of the British Expeditionary Force to the Crimea, concerning an incident a few days before the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854. Emerging from his tent in the early morning, he was plunged into panic that his encampment had been overrun by the enemy, because he saw a large number of French soldiers. It was only with difficulty that the senile veteran of Waterloo could be restored from his subsequent swoon with the reminder that these men were now our allies. Similar incomprehension and semi-consciousness seemed to overcome a large section of the British media at the news of the signing, in November of last year, of the Anglo-French Defence Treaty. 'The Sun', for instance, usually almost clinically obsessed with France, and the military, confined itself to a restrained report just before the show-business section. And it has remained one of the least reported, and analysed, of this Government's policies, whilst being, without question, one of its most significant. Read the full report »