“Hollande’s France is out for Africa, whether with or without the established players of the region ”
Moving well into the 1st quarter of 21st century, the global dimension for areas under influence of great powers has changed to a great extent. A review of international political spectrum reflects that a vacuum is either filled or exploited in the most unexpected manner, giving new life to the race amongst states, nations and ideologies.
The African bonanza has always remained centric to the great powers, and there is no reason of it ending in the coming future. One feels that Middle East and Central Asia had somehow sidelined it for the last few decades, but it seems not for long. May be it has more to do with a clear hegemony becoming evident in both Middle East and Central Asia in the past few years.
US and somewhat its ally’s practical footsteps in Iraq and proximity have restrained any further adventurism in Middle East for the time being. Though the war in Afghanistan had again given the edge to the ISAF/ NATO for Central Asia, the resistance from Taliban and a determined Russia has stopped them short of making practical inroads, with Moscow truly casting its shadow over the Caspian for the time being.
This makes way for the African Dream which we see now unfolding at a greater pace than was the case a few years back. China was seen playing softly with newly emerging economies of Africa post 21st century turnover, inviting others to join the game for spheres in the vastly unchanged Africa. Americans as early as in 1993 were seen in a maneuver in Somalia under Clinton, which unfortunately for Americans couldn’t materialize.
With US stuck at Iraq and Afghanistan and Russia not in a position to draw China into the suspicion of overtaking its newly found area of influence, France has slowly but in a determent manner established its foothold in Africa. France has all the possibilities, abilities and reasons to pursue a policy which might bring it into direct contest among other powers for Africa’s dominance.
Post WWII, it had the most firm claim over this land, and the roll back was never easy as it may seem. Secondly, shaken by economical woes, differences over Iraq/ Afghanistan and a not so blind following of American agendas like in Blair era, Britain is pulling itself not only out from the race of supremacy, but is granting playing fields to powers from Europe to take the leading role, with France seconding Germany. Situation such as this can leave France in two minds, with either to strive for a solo flight or to have a vital role under the feather of an already recognized power i.e. America.
From historical interpretation, one can easily reach the conclusion of France challenging the established norms of power balance, and this will lead us to our 1st assessment of it taking the charge exclusively. France role in Libyan invasion was more than an ally, leading side by side in diplomatic, personal and military front during the whole operation.
It was the same Qadaffi who was widely welcomed by France into its capital as a tamed rebel merely a few years back by Sarkozy. With a cloud of questions still circling why such extreme measures were agreed upon Qadaffi, France has established all the reasons for it to be in the proximity through Mali invasion (As UN puts intervention) and a globally notified hostage crisis in Algeria.
In a single stretch, France has engaged itself into multifaceted reasoning by being a liberator in Libya to the occupied masses, a guaranteer to the democratic forces in Mali against threatening Islamist forces and might be soon a pursuer of international terrorist in Algeria. Invasion into Mali though under UN charter by France requires more answers than credits.
With all the due logistical support and manpower, how did a segment of Qadaffi men (also under consideration is their presence among his troops) slip into Mali, establish a force equipped with sophisticated weapons/ surface to air missile (already widely reported in media as missing) which will be challenged by the already established Islamic forces in Mali, leading to the gruesome barbaric war which only an organized force from West can diffuse.
To sum it up, African Dream is on for France, China and many more to follow and so will be the outcome. Victor may take the pride, but in war involving resources, loads of resources gets wiped away as well.
Hamid has a Masters Degree from National University of Modern Languages, with expertise in international relations and political science. Since 2008, Hamid has remained wired to the blogging circles of Pakistan.