"This study treats the character of French nuclear policy since September 11, 2001; as such this work adds the most recent episode to a theme that, since the late-1950s, has concerned alliance statecraft faced with French 'exceptionalism' in trans-Atlantic relations. In the post-Cold War era, the changes in the strategic environment have led to a further evolution in French nuclear deterrent policy which forms the heart of this study. In 2001 and 2006, French President Chirac made policy speeches which specifically discussed nuclear strategy and clarified the shift in French thought and the justification for deterrence. In 2001, the most important element addressed dissuasion of regional powers and 'rogue' states with WMD that may attack France. The 2006 speech incorporated the threat of state-sponsored terrorism into the nuclear dissuasion strategy. The thesis investigates past and present developments in French nuclear strategy, with chief emphasis on the period from the end of the Cold War to the beginning of the twenty-first century; it highlights the forces that have shaped French doctrine and analyzes the viability of the nuclear strategy as seen by a U.S. observer. A review of French Cold War doctrine provides the necessary backdrop for an evaluation of new elements in French nuclear strategy and should act as a guide to students of same in U.S. and NATO policy circles."
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