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After covering education and law-related issues for Le Monde, Nathalie Guibert went on to serve as co-director of the paper’s France team and became its defense correspondent in 2009.
For the first time in France’s Fifth Republic, a Chief of the General Staff of the Armies resigned on July 19, 2017. General Pierre de Villiers’ departure was the logical result of a brief and violent combat between two leaders, and was also considered Emmanuel Macron’s first political faux pas....
For the first time in France’s Fifth Republic, a Chief of the General Staff of the Armies resigned on July 19, 2017. General Pierre de Villiers’ departure was the logical result of a brief and violent combat between two leaders, and was also considered Emmanuel Macron’s first political faux pas. Nathalie Guibert reveals everything that really happened between the two men, which neither has revealed publicly. The crisis comes at a very particular moment in time, twenty years after the end of both compulsory military service in France, as initiated by Jacques Chirac, and the Cold War. Two decades later, the French president has reduced his sovereign means while multiplying his expeditionary adventures. The shake-up of 2017 is the product of an untenable contradiction between France’s military ambitions and its means. After two presidential terms worn out with budget battles, the Chief of Staff evokes a possible collapse, like that of 1940. The Chief of Staff occupied an unprecedented place in executive power at the very moment his prerogatives were being reduced. Several ghosts were revived, especially that of the Algiers putsch of 1961. The fight between the military and executive chiefs in July 2017 is also a story of two men who misunderstood each other. It opposed a 61-year-old experienced military general inscribed in pure tradition with a 39-year-old president who has risen to the occasion in a historical moment of political chaos. A general who has never really fought against an Inspectorate General of Finances who has never really been involved in politics.