France and its role in the global geopolitics

Опубликовано: 02.03.2014

2In these later days the news about France in mass media and on-screens come quite frequent. The news peg is an active external policy of French authorities. That fact makes to scrutinize the cause and possible consequences of such a powerful activation of the Fifth Republic. Also It is exciting in the view of historical background in so far as there was a time when French empire had been seeking for the world supremacy.

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In fact, France as one of the colonial states was always considered as authoritative power. However during the Second World War the French republic was almost excluded from among “world powers” when Pax Americana doctrine came to the foreground. The general Charles de Gaulle tried to mend the situation and it’s wondering that the USSR gave a helping hand to him.

In 1946 de Gaulle was forced to resign the post of the head of the government, and in 1958 the he was reinstated triumphantly. Thereafter the era of the Fifth republic begins. In fact, de Gaulle was authoritarian governor, and in the meantime he realized the necessity of this approach to tackle vital problems, especially connected with colonies. Nevertheless just in de Gaulle era Algeria and other 20 African colonies attained independence. The same processes occurred in Asia.

Herewith de Gaulle’s policy was aimed at attaining the independence from Anglo-Saxon dominance. France was able to reach it when it joined the “Nuclear club” in 1960. After de Gaulle is re-elected to a second term France runs a sharp anti-American policy which is observed in many aspects; two of them we should be marked: withdrawal from NATO and rejection of dollar in international transactions. In spite of these efforts French authorities couldn’t resist Pax Americana. Internal problems and disability to competently resolve them caused de Gaulle’s resignation. 5 years hence the member of liberal circle became the head of France. Afterwards the Fifth Republic had been leaded by the members of other political movements but Frenchmen never pursued anti-American policy like the general de Gaulle had carried out once.

Some revival of the French independence had come during Jacques Chirac’s government (1995-2007). Chirac was a “Neo-Gaullist” by his convictions, and if during the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was supported by France, then in 2003 French authorities not only refused the participation in military operations against Iraq, but they opposed the NATO intervention.

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The milestone of France activation in military sphere is France’s return to the military structure of NATO. The decision was taken in 2009 during Nicolas Sarkozy presidency. It’s obvious that such important decisions couldn’t be taken spontaneously – informational and ideological steps should be preceded them. Indeed French president made a new version of so called “White Paper” public– the doctrine of defense and national security. The outstanding feature of the new version of the “White Paper” is the creation of France own doctrine of national security based on “maintenance of own national security” and not on hypothetic Common European confrontation.

Such important transformation of French priorities occurred amid the vital changes happening in the USA. The democrats succeeding republicans decided to hold a course for military mission closure. Through it didn’t mean that the White House was going to refuse the intervening in the affairs of other states. Only the formats of missions have been changed – instead of Hard power (the power indicative for representatives of the republican wing) the Soft power (traditionally used by democrats) was taken to the armoury. Soft power intends to use the small part of their resources and that means “to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for somebody.”

No wonder that there were small quantity of the Americans in the war against Libya in March 2011. The main emphasis was made on the local “revolutionaries”. In the technical support (and support with special force detachment in key moments) Great Britain and France played a leading part. It was French air forces to direct the main attack against Muammar Gaddafi’s military forces. But yet it wouldn’t be correct to speak about the Fifth republic playing a leading part in the Libyan war. Nevertheless in fact France was one of the main forces destroyed Gaddafi’s army.

It is interesting that in the same time in April 2011 (simultaneously with war in Libya) the French authorities took a semiformal part in regime overthrow in African state Cote d’Ivoire. It is remarkable that according to mass media reports the key episode of the operation was connected with French special force penetration into the presidential palace through tunnel from residence of the French ambassador. In consequence of this operation the Ivoirian president was captured. This operation received the name “Unicorn”. It reminded those military actions France performed towards its former colonies before. Operation in regime change in Cote d’Ivoire remained semiformal and low-profile especially amid the war in Libya.[1]

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Operation “Serval” performed by French army in Mali in winter 2013 became the famous one. “The socialist” François Hollande was already the president of the Fifth republic at this time but this didn’t affect the general aggressive vector of France. In fact, operation in Mali became the first military action of international caliber and France provided a leadership to “officially allowed” intervention of the West to the foreign state. “Allowance” meant legitimacy saying it in the other words approval from UN and “Mali game” “was played beautifully and tactically correct”. In their tactics Western states, led by France, used geopolitically illiteral local insurgents from different groupings. At first they allowed insurgents to arm themselves with Libyan weapons (remained after Gaddafi’s defeat), then opened the way to Mali for them and later European troops invaded this African state themselves. Whatever you may say but this “combination” has been played brilliant.

Apparently, the French authorities are going to stop in the achieved point. The new intervention proves this. A new target is the Central African Republic. It’s remarkable that the situation is developed by the same scenario. At first the rebels from Muslim part of population (“Seleka” coalition) became active in CAR. Authorities agreed the negotiations and made concessions. Thereupon whether the authorities refused to fulfill the agreement or the rebels had laid down unrealistic terms but the rebels’ army started a wide attack and succeeded in overthrow of the CAR president Francois Bozize. The French contingent and additional forces being in the country at that time didn’t interfere in the situation. Finally the power in CAR went to the hands of rebels and it seemed that the situation might be stabilized. However ethnic and confessional conflicts flared up: there were 15% of Muslims, about 59% of Christians and approximately 35% of followers of local religions. We can’t say that some of them are “good” and the others are “bad”. All parties reveal their brutality, cruelty, and as usual there is a civil population under chaotic attack. Now when the crisis attained its critical point “France appeared on the scene”. In December 2013 the French military forces begin their next military operation in CAR on the pretext of peaceful population defense (in fact there was the need in that). Moreover the legitimacy of this intervention was achieved — the relevant resolution accepted by UN Security Council.

What about the rebels? After finishing their “dirty task” they are already unwanted people. Thereupon in a few days after the direct intervention French troops start commandos’ disarmament operation. The rebels are still trying to hold down the power but a month later in January 2014 they are forced to concede the power under France press. The military mission of European Council goes to the CAR soon.

What about the rebels? After finishing their “dirty work” they are already unwanted people. Thereupon in a few days after the direct intervention French troops start insurgents’ disarmament operation. The rebels are still trying to hold down the power but a month later in January 2014 they are forced to concede the power under France press. The military mission of European Council goes to the CAR soon. As per EU officials’ decision the guiding role in this mission belongs to France. And this “geopolitical game” (the second for the last year) the French authorities played on the very high level and finished it with their own benefit. Paramilitary troops consisting of Muslims played into the hands of the forward-looking Western states indeed. Moreover, “Seleka” soldiers had left the Muslim population of CAR in a lurch and they were forced to leave their country for safety.

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Analyzing the geopolitical constituent of all these conflicts with participation of the Fifth Republic the following question comes, why the Frenchmen need to interfere with African region. It’s more or less clear with Libya, because it is rich with natural resources. But why Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and CAR? The official version states that the intervention has “absolutely humanitarian character” but it is for innocent and ignorant in international policy people. It’s obvious that political and economic interests are behind.

Firstly, all above mentioned states had concluded the agreements and contracts with China (Cote d’Ivoire with Russia) previously. The new authorities reconsidered all these agreements. Secondly, it’s clear as day which countries they made new contracts with. And there are things to be contracted indeed. Mali, for example, has rank third in the world in gold mining. Cote d’Ivoire has a lead in cacao export. CAR has the significant diamond stocks. And the most important is that Mali and CAR have the huge uranium deposits. Uranium is the product for nuclear weapons. Therefore the French company Areva received almost exclusive right for uranium mining in this African country immediately after representation in Mali.

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As a matter in fact the control over the products for nuclear weapons is very important and dominant aspect of French policy. What is it behind of this configuration and why do Americans allow Frenchmen to control uranium mines?

Here we have several reasons. At first, American authorities understand that France won’t be able “to swallow” and control everything. So there is no need to be afraid of the Fifth Republic’s efforts. In this regard it’s worth recalling opinion of the famous American political analyst Zbigniew Brzezinski: “France is economically much weaker than Germany and its “military machine” isn’t so professional. It is quite good to suffocate the internal revolutions in African states… But France is able neither to defend Europe nor to expand its influence outside Europe.” In fact, the French Special Forces are constituted of “foreign legion”. It’s clear from the name that this military structure is not the French army at all. The “Legion” consists of mercenaries hired from different regions. May such army pretend to do more than control over some African states?

The second reason flows smoothly from the first. If the American analysts consider Frenchmen undangerous and the Americans prefer to resolve their geopolitical problems “using the other hands” why then not to use “the hands of the Fifth Republic”. And what is the main problem for Washington? To weaken China! It’s good for the USA when French troops help to overthrow unwanted regimes cooperating with Chinese, because the Americans themselves aren’t able to keep pace with their competitors across the globe. In addition, France intensification will make the other European countries weak anyhow, and first of all it concerns Germany. Berlin containment meets the interests of the White House also.

There is another reason of France activation – it is French ambitions. There was the time when the republic had the status of empire state. France still has the colonial status. For this reason France sends its ground forces to the former French colonies (there was a small participation of French Special Forces in Libyan war). And this was also the reason why the French authorities tried to force in the intervention in Syria so vigorously (sometimes even obsessively). In fact, Syria was under French mandate sometime. In other words, from the view point of the French elite Syria (and Lebanon as well) are their “segments” and we can understand their annoyance when they have failed another invasion. In this concern the activation of France towards relationship with Saudi Arabia becomes clear. The thing is that on the one hand Saudi elite has close relations with different military organizations and groups from Muslim surroundings all over the world. On the other hand French authorities need big and even huge financial assets. For Saudi authorities there is no difference from whom they will get assistance in attaining their main goal. And their goal is to weaken Iran’s influence.

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Summarizing this investigation it should be mentioned that Washington in particular and the West on the whole (if not to mention Saudi elite) are “paying with edged tools”. It’s quite real that the events may turn in such a way when France will dream about possibility to crush the competitors and fall into the USA position. And why not? The control over material for nuclear weapon can promote it.

Agency for geopolitical research “Manara”

Muslim Politic



[1] Semiformal participation of French troops is because formally the mission of France in Cote d’Ivoire is called “defense of own citizens”. As for the regime overthrow the official version states that this revolution was made by Ivories, though everybody knows about participation of French Special Forces in it.

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