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An Englishman In New York: Entente Cordiale?

David Thomasesson was less than impressed by the prospect of closer military co-operation between Britain and France.

British Prime Minister David Cameron hailed a "new chapter" in the history of defence co-operation between Britain and France after signing two treaties with President Nicolas Sarkozy. The Prime Minister and the French president signed agreements for greater military co-operation including aircraft carriers, submarines, nuclear technology and ground forces.

As part of the agreement, the two countries will share aircraft carrier capability. When France’s single carrier is out of service, Britain’s one vessel could conduct missions for both nations, and vice versa. Ah, two world power countries then, with their massive fleets. He also confirmed Britain’s new aircraft carriers would be adapted so they could operate with French and American planes, and so that a joint UK-France integrated carrier strike group could be deployed.

Mon Dieu! The last time England was fitted out as a floating aircraft carrier they were left a legacy of cheap nylons, cigarettes, a baby boom, followed by McDonalds, Starbucks and, worst of all, TV shows like Hart to Hart and anything with David Hasselhoff in it.

"Today we open a new chapter in a long history of co-operation on defence and security between Britain and France," Mr. Cameron told a press conference at the Anglo-French Summit in London. The British Prime Minister said citizens of both countries would be "better protected" as a result of the two treaties. Mr. Sarkozy said the “unprecedented” agreement marked “a level of trust and confidence between the two countries never equalled in history.” Blah blah blah.

Cameron denied rumors that additional supplies of white flags will be purchased to be deployed at the first sign of any trouble, saying that France had a very robust security alert system ranging from Run, Hide, Surrender to Collaborate. He did admit however that the ground forces would benefit from the first-class condition of the French rifles, never fired in anger, just dropped a few times.

The Prime Minister said the agreement would create a new Joint Expeditionary Taskforce - "troops who will train and exercise together". A treaty creating a new joint Anglo-French rapid reaction force would serve both countries’ interests in a world “where resources are tight”, he said. It is expected to include units from the Parachute Regiment, the Royal Marines and Special Forces including the SAS, as well as their French counterparts. Asked how many troops would be required by the Taskforce, for example to defend France, Cameron replied “that’s a known unknown, after all even the French have never tried”. A known known was the establishment in 1965 of the French special-forces unit Deep Action and Reconnaissance Commando was set-up from the French Commandos de Recherché et d'Action en Profondeur. Popularly abbreviated by armed forces throughout the world as CRAP. And, believe it or not, it wasn’t until 1999 when it was renamed the Commando Parachute Group.

"Britain and France are and will always remain sovereign nations able to deploy our armed forces independently and in our national interests when we choose to do so." Mr. Cameron pointed out the "vast bulk" of Britain's military operations in recent years had all been undertaken in co-operation with allies. Under being the appropriate word here. Bushes poodle? He said of the new undertaking: "It is about defending our national interest. It is about practical, hard-headed co-operation between two sovereign countries." He said that Britain and France were "natural partners" and went on: "This is the start of something new, not an end in itself." Mr. Cameron said: "Britain and France have a shared history through two World Wars”. Yes, on both occasions the French had to be helped out.

Mr. Sarkozy added: "If you, my British friends, have to face a major crisis, could you imagine France simply sitting there, its arms crossed, saying that it's none of our business?" No, don’t answer that question.

Further investigation into the treaty has revealed some startling details which need to be aired. Cooperation may extend to becoming joint citizens of a new Frangleterre or Britaince, with Frenglish as the new lingua franca. The nouveau working day will become cinq hours, because of le french two hour lunch avec un bouteille de plonk, un packet of Galois Bleu cigarettes, followed by la siesta. In the spirit of détente, les Francois will have our rosbif and mange it. Pour les afteurs le zitty reeshaard will make an appearance on the cross-Manche menu, plus a dollop of crème anglais.


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