on november 8, jean-luc mélenchon, the leader of “unconquered france,” announced his intention to run for the 2022 presidential election. the opignon newspaper decided to find out how, if elected, he sees one of the most important presidential functions, namely, ensuring national defense in all its aspects, from nuclear policy to military service.
"opignon": let's say that in 2022 you are elected president of the republic. what will you do with nuclear deterrence?
jean-luc melanchon : as long as there is no military alternative, deterrence remains an indispensable tool for france. i support the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons (jao) approved by the un general assembly. however, there can be no question of demanding that the french disarm first. you need to start with those who have the most nuclear weapons, that is, the united states and russia.
unfortunately, any diplomatic initiatives on disarmament have ceased to come from the nuclear powers. the only ones who tried to do something were the chinese. they invited the un to hold a conference on nuclear safety. unsuccessfully. the situation is paradoxical: now the situation is much more dangerous than during the cold war, when, in spite of everything, there were discussions and agreements on arms control. unfortunately, after the us withdrawn from the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty (irmd), a number of countries began active rearmament.
if possession of nuclear weapons concerns the sovereignty of the countries that possess them, then its possible use will have consequences for the entire planet. that is why every country has the right to express its opinion on this issue. our diplomacy will rely on those states, wherever they are, that will actively advocate for nuclear disarmament.
russia is a reliable partner, but the united states is no longer. they do not sign practically any of the agreements of interest to us, and this applies not only to the military sphere. let's stop saying that we have common values with the americans! it is not true that we defend the same principles. the united states, first and foremost, defends its right to do as it pleases. it is a country in which for 244 years of existence 222 years there was a war. it is one of the few countries that has taken half of its territory from its neighbor, mexico.
- you mentioned a military alternative to nuclear deterrence. what do you mean?
- the question is how useful this weapon can be in case of conflict. currently, nuclear-powered missile-carrying submarines (ssbns) cannot be tracked, but missiles and communications can be tracked. will not the usefulness of using such weapons nullify the possibility of waging war from space? after all, in this case it will no longer have any deterrent effect. that is why the question of the militarization of outer space is so important. will it be possible to use conventional or nuclear weapons if some space power is opposed? it is necessary to soberly assess the situation. we french can put as many satellites into orbit as we want, and they will defend the national territory. in this case, nuclear deterrence will no longer be necessary. but here i keep the question mark for now.
until now, the militarization of outer space has been prohibited, as has the appropriation of celestial bodies by states or mining companies. the usa changed that. henceforth, armament and appropriation for them is legal. we, the french, decided to create a military space command without consulting about it within the walls of the national assembly. the president made this decision alone. whether he was right or not is another question.
another important point is the ability to destroy satellites in orbit. china, the united states and india can do it. even if france refuses to militarize space, it can declare to those who decide to attack us about its ability - and technically it has it - to "demilitarize space by force."
when it comes to the protection of the state, in my opinion, there can be no restrictions. france's sovereignty is absolute, complete, indivisible and non-negotiable. if we do not have such opportunities, we will lose our independence, and our people will lose their sovereignty. this is the republican doctrine.
- should france stay in nato?
- we have nothing to do there! first, because it is an unreliable union. you do not know for sure what he is obliging your allies to do, because article 5 leaves everyone free to choose about their obligations. secondly, it contains states that can be adversaries or enemies. until now, this assumption was considered far-fetched, but on the example of turkey, we were convinced that this is not the case. turkey has twice demonstrated extremely aggressive behavior towards the french army: the first time in syria, when it launched airstrikes on the base where our special forces were located, and the second time against a french ship off the coast of libya. thirdly, the military command in the mediterranean is exercised by the americans, and they are not going to share this authority with anyone. yes, we have a french general who is in charge of "strategic research" in which the united states has not the slightest interest. but as far as all concrete questions of a material nature are concerned, in nato we have no opportunity to influence them!
- on at least one issue you agree with president macron: general dislike for turkey!
- i do not think at all that president macron has any firm position regarding turkey. he twice allowed himself to be provoked, and no answer came ...
- do you want to declare war on turkey?
- what a question! as if there are no other alternatives but to declare war or do nothing. i am not a supporter of posturing, which is what we did, sending two rafale fighters to greece and making unrestrained statements that provoked even more aggressive statements in response. what is the meaning of this idle talk?
- wouldn't it be better to try to lower the voltage degree?
- first of all, i think that one should never succumb to provocations. never! when turkey launched an attack in syria in an area held by the kurds, who are our allies, and it was necessary to convene a nato assembly to declare france's right to be present in syria wherever it deems it necessary. i believe that turkey should be held accountable for its actions, and there are many more ways to retaliate than it seems, including in terms of demonstrating military power.
- would you continue to increase the defense budget?
- it must meet reasonable necessity. in nato, the idea of 2% gdp is absolutely meaningless - it is just opening a line of credit for americans. the arms economy is the driving force behind the american economy. the most liberal-looking presidents have promoted weapons programs the most, in particular the reagan. after biden's victory - just look at what languid novels a part of the european left tells each other. but i will remind you that the slogan of the new president is “why america must lead again”. mrs. clinton has already proposed a general rearmament of the united states against china. the french should have nothing to do with it.
- but the defense industry is also important in france ...
- yes. i repeat again: in the most realistic, peaceful and benevolent spirit, our goal is for france to be independent! for this, we need to preserve our sovereignty, which means the ability to defend ourselves on our own, and therefore the ability to independently produce the necessary weapons. it is necessary to get rid of american software in french defense systems, as well as completely take control of the production of turbines for nuclear submarines. is it okay to buy small arms and ammunition from germany and israel? we had this industry, why is it no longer there? what are all these joint programs with the germans for the production of aircraft (scaf) or tanks of the future? this allows the germans to rearm and gain skills they did not have. for what? with regard to the sale of arms, it should only be carried out with the mandatory permission of parliament.
- would you reinstate compulsory military service in any form?
- yes, although i'm not sure if all the members of my party will agree with me. i am a supporter of compulsory military service and opposed its abolition (by jacques chirac in 1996). you need to figure out what conscription is: it is a tax in the form of time in the service of the fatherland. today there is no military need to recruit 700,000 young people on a permanent basis. one can understand why president chirac made this decision. there was a certain logic in it, although i was against it. however, passive people's defense forces, in my opinion, are still needed. today we face new threats and dangers. this is, in particular, climate change, as evidenced by the tragic events in the roya valley. so far we are coping, but with great difficulty. if several of these events occur simultaneously, collective efforts will be required. we cannot afford a rebound in france at market prices. which means that we will turn to the young french for help.
it can also be assumed that conscripts could play an important role in the police, that is, in the protection of civil peace. it would change both the attitude of people towards the police and its internal practice. racism and violence will recede. when it comes to your children, it changes everything.
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