French Geography Only European country that is both part of Northern and Southern Europe. Terminus of the NEP. Integrated river valleys of Seine and the Loire (only such feature on NEP). Rhone valley – superhighway of France. Garonne valley – Connecting Atlantic and Med. Pyrenees and Alps – Bounding France’s South.
French Imperatives 1.Expand the core southwards from the Beauce via the Rhone and Garonne. 2. Protect the core from attack across the North European Plain (NEP). 3.Manage/Distract multiple (great/regional) powers on borders. 4.BE FLEXIBLE (state of mind)
Grand Strategy: Create a strong centralized state -- control lines of communication via the Rhone to Med. Create a "buffer” on the NEP. Create a complex diplomatic/intelligence/colonizational corps to keep numerous nearby rivals tied up outside of Europe. No alliance is too sacred to break.
Strategy Create a robust transportation infrastructure and resist any attempt at regionalization. Be wary of internal group that refuses to identify as French that could upset centralized control. Neutralize Germany as a threat through membership in NATO and through tying Germany into EU. This is best accomplished by also integrating the Benelux into these institutions as well. This creates a diplomatic barrier on the NEP. Maintain dominance in European institutions. Maintain tangible presence abroad. Use the poker chips that you develop. The end goal is not Empire, but a number of potential distractions for your rivals. Leave all your options open, always.
Tactics Maintaining a strong internal security and intelligence capability is key to monitoring on immigrant population. France has to devise EU institutions that still give it political primacy (Lisbon Treaty), but it needs to also entice Germany with economic benefits (euro + enhanced Maastricht criteria) in exchange for co- leadership. Build up relations with a number of world players in order to be the point of contact for world powers when dealing with Europe. Be flexible, especially Africa (uranium).