¿Regresará el hijo pródigo de la OTAN?

PARIS – Pocas visitas de Estado tienen resultados duraderos. El viaje de Nicolas Sarkozy a Washington, que acaba de terminar, podría ser una excepción, porque el Presidente francés podría estarse disponiendo a llevarle a la OTAN un regalo muy valioso en ocasión de su 60° aniversario en la primavera de 2009: el regreso de Francia a la estructura militar integrada de la Organización, de la que Charles de Gaulle se retiró en 1966.

En retrospectiva, la decisión de de Gaulle resultó ser mucho más perjudicial para Francia que para la alianza. Al retirarse del mando militar integrado de la OTAN, Francia se excluyó a sí misma del proceso de toma de decisiones políticas al interior de la alianza y se convirtió así en el equivalente de los "Harkis" –los soldados locales que participaron en el ejército francés durante la guerra de Argelia: buenos soldados que prácticamente no recibieron ninguna recompensa por sus servicios.

¿Qué tan realista es el regreso de Francia al rebaño de la OTAN? En la historia de las relaciones entre Francia y la OTAN abundan las maniobras fracasadas y los errores por ambas partes, el último de los cuales fue el intento fallido de Jacques Chirac de reparar las relaciones de Francia con la OTAN cuando llegó al poder en 1995. Esta vez el éxito tampoco está garantizado, pero las probabilidades son mucho mayores porque Francia, Estados Unidos y el mundo han cambiado.

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