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PARIS — What is the significance of France’s recent sale of four powerful Mistral-class landing assault ships to Russia? Was it business as usual or an irresponsible move contributing to a dangerous shift in the balance of power in the Baltic and Black Seas?

It is sometimes said that Germany has become a “second France” in its “selfish” approach to the European Union. But is France really on its way to becoming a “second Germany”? If Germany is Russia’s main economic partner, why should not France be its principal strategic partner?

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