Last Thursday, in a speech given to the crew of nuclear submarine «Le vigilant», French President Jacques Chirac showed its terrible and theatrical sense of humour. But nobody laughed, everybody was perplexed.
It was all against the traditional French nuclear doctrine for the President talked about the possibility of a preventive attack against non-nuclear states. What has happened to this moderate, independent and European country and to its leader, who opposed the war against Iraq? The majority of the 350 French nuclear warheads are in submarines in constant alert status as deterrent force to face a possible aggressor. France devotes 10% of its military budget to its nuclear programme, that is, three billion Euros, which is a lot for an indebted country like France. Chirac justifies this expenditures by threatening an imaginary enemy.
Up to now, France had followed the doctrine of mutual assured destruction. Any nuclear attack launched by France would cause the annihilation of the adversary. But this situation has been unlikely since the Cold War. The emergence of non-state actors has modified the geo-strategic game greatly and France looks for another form of deterrence today. Paris has adopted the threat of a limited nuclear war through the use of tactical nuclear weapons. This doctrine is similar to that of President Bush. Thus, Chirac, the leader of a country of the «old Europe» according to Donald Rumsfeld, states that a country accused of launching a terrorist attack against France could be attacked.
His attitude underestimates the use of the nuclear weapons and gives France a dangerous doctrine.

Tehran Times (Iran)

Chirac’s nuclear faux pas”, editorial team of the Tehran Times, Tehran Times, January 23, 2006.