|o be a world power means to master a number of power tools and capacities:
France have fourth largest economy in world, even UK GNP seems on a par.But in fact France has a slightly bigger GDP in Puchasing Power Parity, a stronguer industry as its share in GNP is bigger, and especially in military usable industry (automotive, steel, microelectronic ...).
Its trade balnce is positive unless US and UK.We benefit of Euro in sense that in a crisis, Euro would not go down like pound.Our financial market is less sensitive to crisis than UK.
Then our saving, gold and currencies reserves are higher.
France has 43 companies in the WORLD FORTUNE 500 ranking, one more than Germany and much more than UK or Italy.For example UK industry is stronguer than France in prescription drug but you can not use that for war.
US: 100; Japan: 55, Germany ,40, France 25, UK 20.
should I said that French diplomatic network is world class and second to US only (with better skills).That our foreign aid is higher than UK or US in GNP %?
That we have VETO right in UNO?
That our cultural influence is world second after US?
Thank to our industry we can substitute to US or Russia to deliver to a friend the whole set of weapons INDEPENDANTLY (from airfighters to subs via tank or C4ISR) and can shift power balance in any area.WE ARE THE SECOND WESTERN INDEPENDANT SUPPLIER AFTER US FOR CAPACITIES.
We are the only Euro nation to have the full INDEPENDANT world reco network which is second to USA.
RECO satellites, Telecom satellites (bandwith second to US), ELINT satellites, DSP satellites (in 2008), METEO satellites, spy ships, 30 ELINT ground station in word with 2 dedicated to spy US satelites, SPACE SURVEILLANCE RADAR.
An unkown assets is that we are the only nation with US which can produce any currencies in world (to make false money in perfect imitation - we are the best in Europe for money technology)
Sensitivity to energy imports:
Our oil company is fourth in world and we have ROBUST assets in non middle east areas like Gabon, Angola etc...We produce our oil industry heavy equipment and our industry is world second of US in this field.
Our nuclear energy production is world second in world and give us independance on electricity.Our influence in Africa secure minerals imports.
Sensitivity to embargo:
France has world class semiconductors facilities and hold the more advanced Europe wafer fab (joint venture between Motorola, SGS Thomson and Philips).
Our auto maker build 7,5 million car /year, we have Airbus main designed office in France and so on...Our industry is pretty well balanced and produce almost everything at world class.
Then we are the only Euro nation with a launch pad and Euro leader in Space.So we do not depend on US or other nation.
We produce the second set of weapons after US and we do not depend of any supplier.
Military technology: we are mastering everything form nukes to C4ISR with a technological level recognised by US as world second (while UK is close after).Of course neither Japan, Germany or China enjoy such an advantage.
Nukes: our nuclear force are world THIRD and we produce precise counterforce weapons INDEPENDANTLY.Good second strike ability.400 warheads vs 200 for UK.(and we have stored weapons we can reactivate).3 SSBN can strike anywhere in the world.
Military skills: our war academy is renown with US and UK.Israelis send some generals to perfectionate.
Should I remember that Saudia Arabia asked French to crush rebellion in Mecka and not to US or UK?Saudis special forces and military stalled two weeks before asking France help.We did it in two days with 70 commandos leading Saudi commando (and using combat nerve gaz killing 2000 rebels).
Second world force projection from 2007 to 2012 as a single Cdg with 3E2C and 40 Rafales, protected by 19 frigates with top ASW, 6 SSN and 3 Horizon with ASTER 30 outperform anything UK have:
Indeed UK has 2 ACTIVE small carriers (with limited self protection and 60 harriers), they will not have any BVR fighters with FA2 retirement, and not antiship capacity since Harrier GR7/9 have NO RADAR!!
UK air force has an handfull of non operational EF supported by 63 old Tornado ADV.No medium range airdefense for their troops.
They have more SSN (soon reduced to 8 only) and military transport but we rely on civilian military prepared transports from french companies and our overseas bases to accumulate locally .
ONLY US, UK, Russia and Japan has a sub force strong enough to put in danger our fleet.
In fact we can crush any OPFOR airforce of 100 SU27/Mig29 (plus old MIGS or SU) without AWAC, ONLY relying on Cdg (even I agree a second would be better and needed).
Most of nation do not have ENOUGH YAKHONT equivalent missiles to crush our naval force until our second carrier is operational.
UK is unable to do that and in 2010 only 4 T45 will have entered service