[Chris W here]
Alex knows this all already, because he is familiar with the miloblogosphere Francaise. But for the rest of us, this English-language rundown on what the wily Frenchman is planning to do in orbit -- "Space, luxury or necessity: situations and prospects for France after the Livre Blanc and Opération Serval" -- is worth five minutes.
Notably it's got this money quote, which is not news to Ranter-fans but bears repeating:
Regarding outer space, France’s main objective is to perpetuate its autonomy and national sovereignty. As sovereignty is the state of determining itself based on its own will without depending on other nations, satellites are, first and foremost, the guarantee of France’s autonomy in assessment and thereby in decision-making.
The decision not to follow the US in 2003 was thus taken by then President Jacques Chirac in accordance with intelligence based for the most part on Earth-imaging satellite HELIOS 1, whose findings were in contradiction which was being said at the UN Security Council. When the war in South Ossetia broke out in 2008 between Russia and Georgia, then President Nicolas Sarkozy, as chair of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), used images provided by HELIOS 1 and HELIOS 2 to deny Russia’s allegations about the withdrawal of its troops when those troops were actually progressing southward.
Yes, I am trying to draw out a rather old-fashioned contrast between their technocracy, and our national conversation about sovereignty which somehow always fixates on flags and Teh Other while brushing some significant elephants under the carpet, why do you ask?