Would France take us into WW3?

3 Apr

It’s difficult to ascertain the level of seriousness of French President Emmanuel Macron’s threat to send 2,000 of his country’s forces into Ukraine. In early March I wrote that:

  • It’s the highest level admission yet that an underequipped, undertrained and consequently decimated AFU is not doing well 
  • It assumes Russia to be bluffing when promising the response anyone with half a brain would expect. 
  • It had some surmising that the rush by other European leaders to distance themselves is a charade; that Macron was greenlighted by a collective West to shift the Overton.   This strikes me as overthinking things. Take Chancellor Scholz. A conspiracy theory I do buy is that his “blurting out” that SAS men are in Ukraine was deliberate;: that with his coalition on the ropes, a Green Party Defence Minister drunk on her own warmongering and a German public reckoning the costs with the kind of anger that gets folk out on the streets; he needed Macron’s nonsense like a hole in the head.
  • Both Macron’s remarks and the storm they elicited are a measure of the West’s dejected assimilation of the scale of defeat in a proxy war it had bragged would be a walk in the park; a measure, in fact, of an empire in panic.

More recently – today in fact – the Brazilian journalist and BRICS backer Pepe Escobar took to the pen with his customary zeal, panache and dizzying breadth of scope on the ebbing of both French and US power in Africa, and more specifically in a Sahel given boosted prominence by last year’s coup d’etat in Niger. I recommend reading in full but for now this will do:

Pan-Eurasian diplomatic circles even allow themselves to joke about the recent hissy fits by Le Petit Roi  in Paris. The utter humiliation of France in the Sahel is likely one of the drivers of Macron’s chest-thumping threats to send French troops to Ukraine.

Then there’s what David Paul Goldman, his views and credentials set out in in my last post but one – Ukraine: does the US have a Plan B? – had to say:

Taking the war to Russia’s homeland and destroying major infrastructure is one way to transform the proxy war with Ukraine into a general European war. Another is to deploy NATO soldiers in Ukraine, something that French President Emmanuel Macron has broached (but almost certainly does not intend to do).

So is Macron all mouth and no trousers? Probably, but it’s foolhardy to claim certainty on the point. In any case the chain of logic, should uniformed French forces be deployed in Ukraine, set out in this open letter to US President Biden is irresistible.

I encountered the letter an hour ago on Jan Oberg’s TFF substack, linked in the header. Many of its signatories, former US intelligence personnel to a man or woman, have been featured – a few of them many times – on this site.

VIPS MEMO: The French Road to Nuclear War

France could be leading the American people down a path toward a nuclear conflict decidedly not in the interests of the American people – or of humanity itself, VIPS warns President Joe Biden.

Originally published by Consortium News. Published by TFF here on April 3, 2024.


FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

SUBJECT: On the Brink of Nuclear War

Mr. President:

France is reportedly preparing to dispatch a force of some 2,000 troops — roughly a reinforced brigade built around an armored battalion and two mechanized battalions, with supporting logistical, engineering, and artillery troops attached — into Ukraine sometime in the not-so-distant future.

This force is purely symbolic, inasmuch as it would have zero survivability in a modern high-intensity conflict of the scope and scale of what is transpiring in Ukraine today. It would not be deployed directly in a conflict zone, but would serve either as

(1) a screening force/tripwire to stop Russia’s advance; or

(2) a replacement force deployed to a non-active zone to free up Ukrainian soldiers for combat duty. The French Brigade reportedly will be supplemented by smaller units from the Baltic states.

This would be introducing combat troops of a NATO country into a theater of war, making them “lawful targets” under the Law of War.

Such units would apparently lack a NATO mandate. In Russia’s view, however, this may be a distinction without a difference. France appears to be betting – naively – that its membership in NATO would prevent Russia from attacking French troops. Rather, it is highly likely that Russia would attack any French/Baltic contingent in Ukraine and quickly destroy/degrade its combat viability.

In that case, French President Macron may calculate that, after Russian attacks on the troops of NATO members – NATO mandate or not – he could invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter and get the NATO alliance to intervene. Such intervention would likely take the form of aircraft operating from NATO nations – and perhaps include interdiction missions against tactical targets inside Russia. 

On Precipice of Nuclear War?

Doctrinally, and by legal right, Russia’s response would be to launch retaliatory strikes also against targets in NATO countries. If NATO then attacks strategic targets inside Russia, at that point Russia’s nuclear doctrine takes over, and NATO decision-making centers would be hit with nuclear weapons.

We do not believe Russia will initiate a nuclear attack against the U.S., but rather would leave it up to the United States to decide if it wants to risk destruction by preparing to launch a nuclear strike on Russia. That said, Russian strategic forces have improved to the point that, in some areas – hypersonic missiles, for example – its capability surpasses that of the U.S. and NATO.

In other words, the Russian temptation to strike first may be a bit stronger than during past crises, and we are somewhat less confident that Russia would want to “go second”.

Another disquieting factor is that the Russians are likely to believe that Macron’s folly has the tacit approval of some key U.S. and other Western officials, who seem desperate to find some way to alter the trajectory of the war in Ukraine – the more so, as elections draw near.

What Needs to Be Done

Europe needs to understand that France is leading it down a path of inevitable self-destruction.

The American people need to understand that Europe is leading them to the cusp of nuclear annihilation.

Since Russian leaders may suspect that Macron is working hand in glove with Washington, the U.S. needs to make its position publicly and unambiguously clear.

And if France and the Baltics insist on sending troops into Ukraine, it must also be made clear that such action has no NATO mandate; that Article 5 will not be triggered by any Russian retaliation; and that the U.S. nuclear arsenal, including those nuclear weapons that are part of the NATO deterrent force, will not be employed as a result of any Russian military action against French or Baltic troops.

Void of such clarity, France would be leading the American people down a path toward a nuclear conflict decidedly not in the interests of the American people – or of humanity itself.


  • William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)
  • Richard Black, former Virginia State Senator; Colonel, USA (ret.); Former Chief, Criminal Law Division, Judge Advocate General (associate VIPS)
  • Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer (ret) and former Office Director in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research
  • Bogdan Dzakovic, former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security, (ret.) (associate VIPS)
  • Graham E. Fuller, Vice-Chair, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
  • Philip Giraldi, C.I.A., Operations Officer (ret.)
  • Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq and Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)
  • James George Jatras, former U.S. diplomat and former foreign policy adviser to Senate leadership (Associate VIPS)
  • Larry C. Johnson, former C.I.A. and State Department Counter Terrorism officer
  • John Kiriakou, former C.I.A. Counterterrorism Officer and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003
  • Douglas Macgregor, Colonel, USA (ret.) (associate VIPS)
  • Ray McGovern, former U.S. Army infantry/intelligence officer & C.I.A. analyst; C.I.A. Presidential briefer (ret.)
  • Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council & C.I.A. political analyst (ret.)
  • Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, U.S. Army Judge Advocate (ret.)
  • Pedro Israel Orta, former C.I.A. and Intelligence Community (Inspector General) officer
  • Scott Ritter, former MAJ, USMC; former U.N. Weapons Inspector, Iraq
  • Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)
  • Lawrence Wilkerson, Colonel USA, ret.), Distinguished Visiting Professor, College of William and Mary (associate VIPS)
  • Sarah G. Wilton, CDR, USNR, (ret.); Defense Intelligence Agency (ret.)
  • Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA
  • Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)
  • Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army reserve colonel and former U.S. diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War.
March 24, 2024

* * *

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *