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On the occasion of the launch of the report “Sovereign Solidarity: France, the US and post-COVID-19 alliances” join the Future Europe Initiative and Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security for a public conversation about the place of the Franco-American defense relationship in America’s evolving thinking about alliances and partnerships.

In the last decade, the defense relationship between the United States and France – America’s oldest ally – reached new depths thanks to operational cooperation in the fight against terrorism. France’s investments in space and cyber capabilities and its presence in the Indo-Pacific position it to be a critical American partner for maximizing European burden sharing on current and future security challenges. Yet the same attachment to sovereignty and autonomy that underpin France’s unique defense capabilities also make it a complex, frustrating, and sometimes competitive American and NATO ally.

The report, with co-forwards from French Minister of Defense Florence Parly and General James L. Jones (USMC, Ret.) serves as a primer for American decision makers on the capabilities and strategic culture that make France a valuable, but complex ally, and offers recommendations on how to manage the political differences that cause competition and conflict in this turbulent alliance.


Nov 11, 2020

Sovereign solidarity: France, the US, and alliances in a post-COVID world

By Jeffrey Lightfoot, Olivier-Rémy Bel

What allies does the United States need to compete in the emerging post-COVID geostrategic environment? And how can the United States best engage its allies to advance its national interests in this new environment? These are questions of major importance to a new US administration within a competitive geopolitical environment.

Coronavirus Europe & Eurasia

In the aftermath of America’s presidential elections, the panel discussion will explore the next chapter in Franco-American security and defense relations. How will recent terrorist attacks in France and competition in the eastern Mediterranean affect France’s foreign policy and the prospect of collaboration with the United States and other NATO allies? How can the next Administration best seek to engage France’s unique capabilities in the Indo-Pacific? Can President Macron’s vision of a more autonomous European Union serve as the basis of a new transatlantic deal on more equal burden sharing, or will it remain a source of continued misunderstanding?



H.E. Philippe Etienne
Ambassador of the French Republic to the United States

General James L. Jones Jr. (USMC Ret.)
Executive Chairman Emeritus
Atlantic Council

Report presentation by the authors

Olivier-Remy Bel
Visiting Fellow, Future Europe Initiative
Atlantic Council

Jeff Lightfoot
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Initiative, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security
Atlantic Council

Discussion with key speakers

Alice Guitton
Director General for International Relations and Strategy
French Ministry of the Armed Forces

Dr. Torrey Taussig
Research Director, “Transatlantic Relations 2021”
Harvard Kennedy School

Adm. James Foggo (Ret.)
Distinguished Fellow
Center for European Policy Analysis
Former Commander of US Naval Forces in Europe

Moderated by

Ms. Rym Momtaz
Correspondent, France
Politico Europe

Future Europe Initiative

Providing expertise and building communities to promote transatlantic leadership and a strong Europe in turbulent times.

The Future Europe Initiative promotes the transatlantic leadership and strategies required to ensure a strong Europe.