Former BIS Officials from France and Germany Call on France to Leave NATO

In response to the Ukraine crisis, Peter Dittus and Hervé Hannoun make a strong case for France to leave the integrated command of NATO in an op-ed published by the French “souverainist” weekly Marianne on Feb. 11. German economist Peter Dittus is the former secretary general of the Bank for International Settlements (2005-2016), while the Frenchmen Hannoun is the bank’s former deputy director general (2006-2015). Their arguments are more fully developed in their new book, OTANexit: An Absolute Urgency, released on Jan. 16.

The populations of France and other Western countries, they write in their op-ed, “have been subjected to an unprecedented mental conditioning conducted by the United States and NATO on the theme of the ‘imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine’, which may go down in history as an episode of disinformation along the lines of the fabricated intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction in 2003.”

Therefore, France must avoid the “military spiral” against Russia into which the United States and NATO want to drag it”, and refuse to take part in a war in Eastern Europe. To end the current confrontation, they contend, “President Macron should simply declare solemnly in the name of France that his country will oppose any request from Ukraine to join NATO”, and exercise its right to veto any such decision. That would be “an elegant way out of the crisis.”

The former BIS officials note that the United States increasingly gained control over the defense and security policy of Europe, due to the “simultaneous enlargement of the EU and NATO to ten East European countries between 1991 and 2007” and to President Sarkozy’s decision in 2008 to join NATO’s integrated military command. There is a “fundamental incompatibility”, in their view, between a NATO controlled by the U.S. and an independent French or European defense.

For France, they warn, its alignment with NATO, “through its participation in the integrated military command under American leadership, is a strategic dead end for a country with a universal vocation like France. Today, this country has a historic role to play in stopping the march towards war in Europe initiated by the sleepwalkers of NATO. France’s exit from NATO, which will mark the end of the alignment of France’s foreign security policy with the United States, will have an immense impact on the world.”

“It will signal Europe’s independence from American exceptionalism, the renewal of multilateralism, the emergence of a multipolar world and the rapid demise of the obsolete NATO framework.” The authors conclude that France will then be able to play “a role of synthesis” within the P5, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, which should play a greater role as as regulator of world peace.

For a full translation by the Schiller Institute, see and the original French text at

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