FRANCE: Rescuing the Ramparts of Order

Charles de Gaulle once described the French armed forces as "the rampart of order." Today that rampart looks as if it were part of a half-ruined fortress. Morale in the ranks is so low, warned General Alain de Boissieu in a top-secret report that leaked to the press last December, that an upheaval similar to the one that racked France in May 1968 could break out within the army. Even the professional cadre of officers, wrote Boissieu (who happens to be De Gaulle's son-in-law), "have lost confidence in the hierarchy."

Last week, prodded...

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