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France makes nice with NATO

FRANCE IS ON its way back into the NATO military structure that it left in 1966 in a protest against American domination.

Or one might also say that NATO apparently is on its way back to France. At least that is what the French government says in explaining the new defense policy course to its domestic audience.

NATO needs Europe -- read that France -- which is why NATO needs to move closer to the European reality through a full French membership.

Although the new French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has reconsidered with parts of the previous French solitary line toward NATO and the United States, the bottom line in France is it wants the European Union to be a major power, hopefully in cooperation with the United States but without them if need be.

Sarkozy is not seriously on a collision course with the United States. Washington also wishes a stronger military Europe that can support the United States in military operations.

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