Assessments of Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to normalize France’s status within NATO’s integrated military command in spring 2009 have varied widely.1 To some, the move amounted to a reversal of Gaullist doctrine – though observers disagreed whether such a shift was dangerous or laudable.2 Others, however, noted that Sarkozy in a changed strategic environment was simply adopting new means to achieve conventional Gaullist ends.3 In other words, all sides in the debate shared a seminal question, a yardstick by which they measured Sarkozy’s policy: “what would de Gaulle do?” Making sense of the dispute was especially difficult as the question had long since been divorced from historical reality. Whether embraced or contested, “Gaullism” now pertained to political mythology. It had become a shape-shifting discursive tool that allowed political rivals to claim the high ground. The battle over France’s NATO normalization pitched guardians of the temple and keepers of the flame from different persuasions against a few heretics, and against one another. When explaining his decision, Sarkozy occasionally tried to wage the battle on more solid ground, presenting the move as a purely bureaucratic shift required by post-Cold War circumstances. Yet he was too keen to enhance his own heroic narrative not to indulge in myth-making himself. In so doing, he hesitated between taking up the Gaullist mantle, and cultivating his image as an iconoclastic reformer.4