France Adds Nuclear Sub and Vows to Cut Warheads - by Steven Erlanger
Dedicating France’s fourth nuclear-armed submarine, President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday defended his country’s arsenal as vital to deter a range of new threats, including the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran with intercontinental missiles.“The security of Europe is at stake,” he said, conflating the Continent’s interests with those of France.Mr. Sarkozy, stung by defeats in local elections in some large French cities, stuck to traditional presidential themes of national security and defense. His sudden divorce and remarriage, and his tendency to flit from one scheme to another, have made him seem slightly unserious, contributing to his party’s losses.
His mood on Friday was somber, as he inaugurated a new generation of nuclear submarine of the “Triomphant” class, this one named Le Terrible, which could be best translated as The Fearsome. It will be equipped with a new, nuclear-tipped missile, the M-51, whose range is secret but is understood, according to Le Monde, to be some 4,970 miles, able to reach Asia.