Thursday, November 15, 2012

NATO’s Operation Unified Protector: France’s Goals Realized

By Chelsea A. Cerutti
Chelsea Cerutti, a 2012 graduate of Albany Law School, was the Managing Editor of the Albany Law Review. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is currently a Court Attorney at New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.
Ms. Ceritti wrote this paper for Professor Harrington’s course on International Organizations, Fall 2011.

Over forty-four years after the French Republic’s withdrawal from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (“NATO”), the country’s blurred and unclear relationship with the organization became clear as France rejoined the military alliance and established its presence as a military leader.  Over two years after announcing France’s intention to re-integrate into NATO’s military structure, French President Nicolas Sarkozy stepped up to help lead the first NATO operation to reach a conclusion.

The NATO operation, known as Operation Unified Protector, resulted in the end of the persecution of Libyan civilians at the hands of the Qadhafi regime.  Beyond representing a victory over those opposed to “principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law,” the operational success of Unified Protector represents a subtle shift to a more equalized sharing of power between the U.S. and NATO’s European member states.

Such a shift may signify the future of NATO and its members’ security and defense policies; a shift arguably needed for the continued sustainability of the transatlantic alliance.

This paper, NATO’s Operation Unified Protector: France’s Goals Realized as US-European Defense Relations Shift, sets out to discuss France’s role within Operation Unified Protector in light of its recent re-integration into NATO’s military command after decades of participating only as a partial member.  Part II outlines an abbreviated history of the circumstances surrounding France’s partial withdrawal from NATO and the resounding military policy that guided France into the mid-1990s.

Part III discusses France’s “flexible” relationship with NATO’s military command structure during the 90s, while Part IV discusses France’s full re-integration into NATO. Finally, Part V discusses France’s role in NATO’s Operation Unified Protector in Libya, arguing that the mission represents the positive direction in which NATO is heading and ultimately suggests that merely years after rejoining NATO, France is making strides towards achieving its goal of shared European defense responsibility and power.
To read the paper, open HERE.