IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Three Rifts, Two Reconciliations: Franco-American Relations During the Fifth Republic


  • Georges-Henri Soutou


There is a widespread view that Franco-American relations have been consistently difficult at least since the presidency of Charles de Gaulle, but not so difficult as to prevent the two countries from joining together in times of crisis. However, after having simmered for years, the current Franco-American rift, as opposed to the recurrent tensions of the Cold War period, is most probably a lasting reality with no real reconciliation in view. This new lasting rifts has occurred for four reasons. The first is that the French have recently experienced a sea change in their view of international relations: they no longer see their interest lying in close bilateral Franco-American cooperation, even on terms favourable to France. The second and third relate to French geopolitical interests and ideology, while the last involves the institutional evolution of French political life. There is as of now no possible domestic political arrangement, either on the left or on the right, for a real re-founding of Franco-American and Franco-Atlantic relations. In short, changes in France's international position, in the French self-conception, and in domestic political arrangements all tend to undermine deeper transatlantic cooperation and necessitate a reformulation of the balance between Europe and America.

Suggested Citation

  • Georges-Henri Soutou, 2004. "Three Rifts, Two Reconciliations: Franco-American Relations During the Fifth Republic," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 24, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0140

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    France; NATO; international relations;
    All these keywords.

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0140. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Valerio PAPPALARDO (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.