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A Paradox in Computer Science: French and Romanian Cooperation during the Cold War

Pierre Bouillon
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Vol. 20, No. 2 (2014), pp. 115-124
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43488023
Page Count: 10
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A Paradox in Computer Science: French and Romanian Cooperation during the Cold War
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Abstract

The French policy of détente, which aimed to bind together Western and Eastern European countries, was linked to the French policies of national independence and of industrialisation in the high-tech field of informatics. Indeed, French political aims towards the East were strengthened by both a diplomatic and economic policy devoted to resisting United States' hegemony. As a consequence, a partnership in informatics was set up within an Eastern European country, Romania. Paradoxically, the decision to sign bilateral agreements in the field of informatics was undertaken at the very moment Romanian secret services targeted France. Moreover, France loosened the embargo on computers while faced with evidence that the Romanians were trying to use Western know-how to improve their military capabilities. However, that issue was addressed in order to reduce the threat on French security: actually, the French détente was more backed than threatened by that ambiguous partnership in computer science.

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