Will France Turn to International Institutions in Response to the Attacks?
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
In the wake of yesterday’s terrible Paris attacks, will France turn to NATO or the UN Security Council for support? In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, those were the two most significant international organizations to react. France has incentives to turn to both, though its situation right now is dissimilar in important ways from the U.S. situation 14 years ago.
Consider first NATO. As NATO’s former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe James Stavridis reminds us, the September 11 attacks prompted NATO to invoke Article V of the Treaty, which states that “[a]n armed attack against one or more of [the Parties] in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked.” Invoking this article was significant because the author of the September 11 attacks was a non-state actor. After confirming that the September 11 attacks had originated from abroad, the North Atlantic Council determined to treat the attacks as covered by Article V.