French Arms Exports: The Business of Sovereignty

1st Edition

Lucie Béraud-Sudreau

Published March 26, 2020
Reference - 188 Pages
ISBN 9780367511456 - CAT# K464962
Series: Adelphi series

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Ever since the establishment of the Fifth Republic in 1958, France has believed its strategic independence to be predicated on self-sufficiency in modern weapons. In order to maintain the requisite defence-industrial base, in the context of limited domestic orders, successive governments have prioritised the export of French arms on a large scale.

In this Adelphi book, Lucie Béraud-Sudreau provides a detailed, behind-the-scenes examination of the institutional arrangements that have underpinned France’s relatively liberal approach to arms sales over the years. The narrative begins during the Cold War, when France offered customers an alternative to reliance on one of the superpowers for their arms purchases, and then charts how the French arms-export system has responded to international political developments and dramatic changes in the global arms market. The book shows that, in general, France’s leaders and machinery of government have been resistant to the notion of restraining arms sales. It also looks to the future, arguing that France now faces a dilemma over whether to maintain its traditional course or accept a greater degree of export restraint as part of closer armaments cooperation with European partners.


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