French-UK defence treaty born of necessity

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In France, for centuries, the idea of sharing military resources with perfidious Albion would have been unthinkable.

But the two countries have buried ancient enmities, and the prevailing view in France is that the relationship should nowadays be pragmatic and based firmly on realpolitik.

Of course, the relationship between the French and the British has always been a curious mix of mutual suspicion and admiration.

And the defence relationship has also been double-edged. The 1904 Entente Cordiale brought an end to centuries of regular wars, and the two countries have been allies ever since, most notably in the two world wars.

But there have been rocky patches since then.

The Suez Crisis of 1956 could have been a joint triumph, but their military success in seizing the Canal in Egypt turned to humiliation as they were forced to withdraw under international pressure.....

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