Military Review

France's Forgotten War

28
The fighting in Mali is no longer “hot.” news" in Paris. There is more discussion of the problem of gay marriage.


Created under the leadership of Charles de Gaulle, the institutions and ideals of the Fifth Republic of France were specifically designed to affirm its greatness. "France cannot be France without greatness," as the late general once famously declared. Greatness can only be achieved on the world stage. But in the view of de Gaulle, the audience for such a demonstration of greatness should consist solely of French citizens: greatness abroad, he believed, would unite the most implacable enemies in their homeland.

The gollist paradigm of local actions on a global scale has left a deep imprint on the strategies of subsequent French presidents. It doesn't matter what political views the French president had: he could be a conservative, liberal or socialist, but they were all gollists when it came to solving issues abroad. Some analysts even called it the “French exception in foreign affairs,” and this state of affairs often served as a source of irritation for the French allies. But such a policy formed the ideal to which the public of the country aspired, and on the basis of which all the political and intellectual classes of France rallied.

President Francois Hollande, who won last year’s elections, however, should have provided for something completely different in his policy. He built his election campaign primarily on domestic economic issues — the main mantra of his Socialist Party was “C'estl'économie, Pauvre Con!” (“This is economy, this is stupid!”). In his election speeches Hollande almost did not touch foreign affairs. But Hollande did not manage to get off the path of Gollism, and in January 2013, France undertook armed intervention in the internal conflict in its former colony, Mali. The defeat of radical Islamists, advancing from the greatest African desert on the capital of Mali, made Hollande, like his former mentor Francois Mitterrand, 100% a gollist. But now, three months after the first French troops arrived in Bamako, only occasional reports of the death of French soldiers or the bombings of the French embassy in Tripoli remind us of the events in Mali in the French press.

The speed of the decision of the French president to intervene in Mali surprised many representatives of the political and intellectual elite of the country. Prior to that, Hollande had the nickname “Flamby” (“custard”) and was not particularly determined. But Hollande’s decision to send troops to Mali consolidated French politicians, and even many of his opponents agreed that Hollande’s decision to deploy troops was a "lesser evil."

However, there were those who expressed doubts about the feasibility of such a decision. Most of the dissenters were in the extreme left part of the French political spectrum, in particular, in the Green Party. Opposition politician Jean-Luc Melenchon, for example, hinted that Hollande’s real goal was actually uranium deposits in neighboring Niger, while Green Leader Noel Mamer was convinced that “propaganda goals” were the real reasons for armed intervention. Even the bright gollist of Dominique de Villepin, who served as French Prime Minister in 2005-2007, warned that Hollande had little knowledge of the past and real geopolitical realities, reminding him of the conflict in Afghanistan.

The tight deadlines for Hollande’s decision to intervene in Mali have also attracted the attention of some French public figures. Philosopher Michel Onfrey, for example, argued that the president of a country was chasing Malian problems, while his own state was on the verge of bankruptcy and creditors were buying France piece by piece. In addition, his prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayreau, Hollande showed a kind of record in the fall of the 2012 rating in the fall. Encountered the economic crisis and rising unemployment - many of which, frankly, were the result of the work of former President Nicolas Sarkozy - Hollande helpless and miserable. One by one, he did not keep his campaign promises: from keeping the steel factory of the Mittal Corporation in the north of France afloat to softening the monetary and budgetary dictatorship of Berlin and Brussels. It is indicative that just two weeks after the operation began in Mali, almost 90 percent of the French said that "France needs a true leader to restore order."

A few months later, France is still desperately looking for a real leader. Gollist greatness abroad, it turns out, is not among the natural resources of Mali. A recent public opinion poll showed that foreign policy is the only area where Hollande’s actions are supported by at least 50 percent of the respondents. This is a rather weak support, but not as catastrophic as in the other categories. In fact, the results of the survey can really be called catastrophic: hardly a quarter of the French are satisfied with the work of Hollande. Never before has the French president fallen so quickly in the eyes of so many in such a short time.

Even the rapid defeat of the Islamist rebels in the north of Mali by France did not prevent Hollande from falling into hell of public disappointment. The question arises in the style of Zen: “If a military operation realizes its goals, but no one pays attention to it, is it successful?”

In general, the French military actions in Africa, for the French, are reminiscent of spring rain. Since 1958, and since the establishment of the Fifth Republic, the Gaullist, liberal, and socialist presidents sent soldiers and aircraft to Africa with an enviable regularity and frequency — about four dozen times. This constancy has largely accustomed the French public to foreign military conflicts.

In addition, the long-term prospects for the success of a military mission in Mali are completely incomprehensible. Judging by the narrowest criteria — deterring the offensive and scattering of the Islamist insurgents “Movement for unity and jihad in West Africa” and “Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb countries” - the operation in Mali has already achieved victory. 4 thousands of French soldiers relying on troops from Chad, prevented the Islamist attack on Bamako. Moving further north, the French and Chadian contingent gained control of the stones and sand bordering Niger and Algeria, and liberated the cities of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal.

But the French public thinks that this victory is nothing more than a castle in the sand. The French did not destroy the Islamist rebels, they simply drove them back into the wilderness, where they actually lived all their lives. Jihadists have just disappeared into countless ravines and caves in the region. Even the United Nations, in its recent report, warned that the reduction of the French military presence in the region "risks leading to the return of armed Islamist groups."

The lack of a clear military victory is in doubt also among the local population, which suggests that the African forces, to whom control over the territory is supposed to be transferred, have neither the capacity nor the conviction of the French. Recently, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves LeDriant, who was on an official visit to Mali, shared this concern, urging Chad to maintain his military presence after France’s departure. LeDrian warned of a possible “security vacuum,” which should encourage President Chad Idris Déby to abandon his contingent.

No less disturbing is the political vacuum in Mali itself. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Laurent Fabius, while in Bamako, called in July to hold national elections, a means of restoring democratic legitimacy in the country. But political forces in Mali, in turn, are closely following each other during intense political maneuvers. The most ominous political force is the Tuareg, united under the leadership of the separatist “National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad” (MNLA), whose efforts to gain independence from Bamako last year and led to a crisis in the country, they refuse to recognize the legality of finding Malian soldiers in their territory. The MNLA vice president recently warned that as long as Bamako refuses to negotiate the future status of Azawad, MNLA will not participate in the July elections. Fabius, for his part, noted that “a democratic state cannot have two different armies,” the MNLA itself, which insists on secession from Mali with this thesis, of course, agrees. And even the ongoing elections may not bring consent to the society.

But Mali remains not the only French-speaking nation suffering from intense political and tribal contradictions. Over the past few months, French politicians have literally pushed through the bill on the legalization of same-sex marriages across all levels of legislative power. This bill is the third reason why French society treats events in Mali with relative indifference. It is no exaggeration to compare the current manifestations and unrest associated with the introduction of this scandalous law with the so-called “Guerres franco-françaises” - civil wars, which periodically erupt in France since the 1789 revolution.

Tellingly, over the past three months, representatives of the French intelligentsia have paid relatively little attention to armed intervention in Mali. This is partly due to the fact that their status and authority, like that of French politicians, has sharply declined recently. They can no longer claim to be moral leaders, as they have been doing for centuries, stretching from the heyday of Emile Zola, and Jean-Paul Sartre. They can no longer discuss with the government questions that require professional or technical knowledge. This was quite cruelly shown at the end of April, when the philosopher Michel Onfrey was brutally defeated at a forum organized by the “LeMonde” publication. Onfrey criticized the invasion of Mali as a strategic mistake. In response, two military historians mercilessly rolled Ofrey’s vague references to Clausewitz and Sun Tzu, as well as his shaky view of military strategy.

More importantly - and this again brings us back to the concept of the Franco-French war - most of the country's intelligentsia is deeply concerned at the simultaneous deepening of the political powerlessness of the socialist government and the intensification of mass demonstrations against same-sex marriage. This is not surprising: crowds of demonstrators waving placards that read: “We will not stop, even if the law is passed”, “Listen, Hollande: France on the streets”, “Hollande is not my president” and “Abortion plus same-sex marriage is equal to euthanasia” . One of the opposition leaders compared Hollande with Hitler and described the new law as a “coup d’état”. When the leader of the opposition movement calls the president a “dictator,” declares that if “Hollande wants blood, he will receive it,” it can be assumed that the main danger for the Fifth Republic comes not from the motley gathering of Islamists who roam the stony deserts in Mali ...
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  1. Alikovo
    Alikovo 2 September 2013 08: 14 New
    +5
    it seems they have a president p ... r otherwise he would not legalize same-sex marriage.
    1. Arberes
      Arberes 2 September 2013 08: 31 New
      +7
      Quote: Alikovo
      it seems they have a president p ... r otherwise he would not legalize same-sex marriage.

      For some reason, I also think so. hi

      Well, here is my second victim! This game will be thicker. A delicious boar and not just a boar, but a Frenchman boar! Oh, I love the pig! My satyro-humorous jaws clack in anticipation, well, come to me rather a French grunt!

      Gay France!

      Another pri-rock has appeared!
      Spreading wings, feathers fluffing
      Threatens war Bashar-FRANCE
      Showing your frog ambition!

      Their leader is a bald little jerk
      Gay rights awarded, great talent ???
      Now clutching menacingly fists
      Syrians teach life — Francois Hollande!

      Yes, I would be a gray-haired man-EUROPE
      Maybe I could understand him?
      But it’s clear that he’s a fat ass pedor
      Well, how can Syria not sell S-300 ???

      Well, this production is more satisfying. only the frog gives slightly, but nothing can be enjoyed! Well, I’ve got enough time to return to my den!
      Good day to all my friends! drinks
      I hope that I added tart jokes to your morning, aromatic coffee!
      ALL a good day and good mood.
      Yes, one more good deed must be done!
    2. Sirs
      Sirs 2 September 2013 08: 33 New
      +1
      You are not politically correct if he is in such a truth, you should call him “advanced”, because they consider us backward in terms of democracy. probably due to the fact that we do not like to promote objects in the ass.
      Maybe because of that we are considered backward that we do everything through ...
  2. MilaPhone
    MilaPhone 2 September 2013 08: 57 New
    +3
    To justify France, I would like to say that same-sex marriages have been officially allowed for a long time in many countries, and everyone did not care. And it is precisely the French protests against the law that have drawn our attention to this blue issue.
    Gay marriage registration at the national level
    1 Netherlands April 1, 2001
    2 Belgium June 1, 2003
    3 Spain July 3, 2005
    4 Canada July 20, 2005
    5 South Africa December 1, 2006
    6 Norway January 1, 2009
    7 Sweden May 1, 2009
    8 Portugal June 5, 2010
    9 Iceland June 27, 2010
    10 Argentina July 22, 2010
    11 Denmark June 15, 2012
    12 Brazil May 16, 2013
    13 France May 19, 2013
    14 Uruguay August 5, 2013
    15 New Zealand August 19, 2013
    16 United Kingdom (England and Wales)
    1. alone
      alone 2 September 2013 20: 46 New
      0
      where the world is heading, even no words to say !! am
      1. GREAT RUSSIA
        GREAT RUSSIA 2 September 2013 21: 47 New
        0
        One GOD knows where. I’m even scared to imagine where this terrible world is heading.
  3. The comment was deleted.
    1. a52333
      a52333 2 September 2013 11: 56 New
      +1
      Militarily, the last significant successes were under Napoleon; during the Second World War, they showed themselves something from the side of the "none." At a conference of countries of winners, they somehow joined the ranks of winners, to which one (I don’t remember who) of the fascist military leaders was surprised, "How? And did these ones defeat me?"
      1. Sirius-2
        Sirius-2 2 September 2013 19: 08 New
        +1
        These words were said by Field Marshal Keitel at the ceremony of signing the act of surrender of the German troops. And they were drawn into the ranks of the winners by Stalin at the Yalta Conference with the goal of liquefying the Anglo-American duet. And the Supreme just calculated: the obstinate Charles added problems to the Americans.
        1. a52333
          a52333 2 September 2013 22: 54 New
          0
          He looked exactly, but I don’t remember who, it seemed to me that Guderian. but he doubted.
  4. anfreezer
    anfreezer 2 September 2013 09: 23 New
    +4
    And what was the country, what nation ... The Musketeers, Dumas, Honore de Balzac, Maurice Ravel, Renoir ... crying What have you become !? From the Constitution of the French Republic on November 4, 1848"France is constituted into a republic. Accepting this final form of government, it sets itself the goal of a freer march along the path of progress and civilization .."Wrong direction, comrades, wrong direction ...
    1. yurii p
      yurii p 2 September 2013 09: 47 New
      +2
      this is literature, but history tells the opposite, it is a colonial country and built its grandeur like all colonial countries on blood, and you can write anything you want to rule
    2. rodevaan
      rodevaan 2 September 2013 09: 49 New
      +1
      Quote: anfreezer
      And what was the country, what nation ... The Musketeers, Dumas, Honore de Balzac, Maurice Ravel, Renoir ... crying What have you become !?


      - Yes, they turned into a bunch of derma, that's what. Now it is a territory populated mainly by alien Papuans with different unwritten laws in each yard, and not representing anything on the world stage.
      Once a world power, they have now become an essentially useless banana republic, which everyone does not care about and which the liberoid sodomite degenerates follow at the direction of the ocean.
  5. Kovrovsky
    Kovrovsky 2 September 2013 09: 35 New
    +3
    Quote: rodevaan
    “France cannot be France without greatness”

    - The paddling gardens have long erred // ali their greatness, since they buried themselves in the ass Pin-get ....

    They lost their greatness back in 1940.
    1. chunga-changa
      chunga-changa 2 September 2013 09: 50 New
      +3
      Quote: Kovrovsky
      They lost their greatness back in 1940.

      Actually in 1812.
      Since then, everything has been awry.
      1. Essenger
        Essenger 2 September 2013 13: 02 New
        -2
        Quote: chunga-changa
        Quote: Kovrovsky
        They lost their greatness back in 1940.

        Actually in 1812.
        Since then, everything has been awry.


        Do not forget that the French people pulled out the WWII. When you shamefully lost to the losing side. And on WWII they did not have enough strength already.
        1. T80UM1
          T80UM1 2 September 2013 14: 36 New
          0
          Whereas WWII was won by those who, in your opinion, “shamefully” lost in WWII. That's right?
          1. Essenger
            Essenger 2 September 2013 14: 50 New
            +1
            Quote: T80UM1
            Whereas WWII was won by those who, in your opinion, “shamefully” lost in WWII. That's right?


            The Russian Empire shamefully lost the WWII, but the USSR created on the territory of the former Russian Empire heroically won the WWII.
            France, on the contrary, heroically won the WWII, but shamefully losing WWII managed to light up in the camp of the winners.

            PS: The USSR, purely legally, has nothing to do with the Russian Empire.
            1. T80UM1
              T80UM1 2 September 2013 15: 00 New
              0
              Then your previous comment is completely off topic, because by your own logic the writers here have nothing to do legally with the Russian Empire.
              1. Essenger
                Essenger 2 September 2013 16: 21 New
                +3
                Quote: T80UM1
                Then your previous comment is completely off topic, because by your own logic the writers here have nothing to do legally with the Russian Empire.


                The Republic of Kazakhstan legal is not related to the Kazakh Khanate. But I believe that RK is the successor to KH. The same situation with the Russians.
                1. T80UM1
                  T80UM1 2 September 2013 21: 08 New
                  0
                  Then the USSR is the successor of the Russian Empire according to your logic, the Russians are also related to the USSR, which means they are directly related to the victory in WWII. You already decide. Why write, washed away your first comment? To provoke angry rebuffs? I did not understand. In the subject of France?
                  1. Essenger
                    Essenger 2 September 2013 22: 14 New
                    +1
                    Quote: T80UM1
                    Russians are also related to the USSR, which means they are directly related to victory in WWII.

                    Russian or tips?

                    Quote: T80UM1
                    Why write, washed away your first comment? To provoke angry rebuffs? I did not understand. In the subject of France?

                    I mean that you should not write so scornfully about France. Everyone has black pages in history.
                    1. The comment was deleted.
                    2. T80UM1
                      T80UM1 3 September 2013 06: 45 New
                      0
                      Given that in 1812, France was an aggressor against Russia. And what was neglecting in that post?

                      Russians made up 80% of the total population of the USSR, excluding Ukrainians and Belarusians. Stalin, as the supreme commander in chief, said just that the Russians contributed the main, if not decisive fact to the victory. Again, according to your logic, Kazakhs or Kazakhstanis ... Kazakhstanis did not live in the Kazakh Khanate and are not related to it.
  6. lx
    lx 2 September 2013 09: 48 New
    0
    hmm, the author of sloppies?
    "But now, three months after the first French troops arrived in Bamako"
    almost 9 months have passed since the day of the invasion (looked at the date of the article on http://voennovosti.ru/ - August 20). There, the new president’s elections were held in summer in 2 rounds, and he’s all about spring rain.
  7. Chumich
    Chumich 2 September 2013 10: 54 New
    0
    I think that many countries in Africa were just given independence early and instilled democracy. They are not capable of this yet.
  8. The comment was deleted.
  9. Rusik.S
    Rusik.S 2 September 2013 11: 28 New
    +1
    For which everything was exchanged .... Well, nothing, wait 2 years (or even less) and then everything will go back ... I hope
    1. a52333
      a52333 2 September 2013 11: 58 New
      +2
      Well, well, if you don’t return, you will return. wink
      1. Rusik.S
        Rusik.S 2 September 2013 13: 37 New
        0
        If it doesn’t return, we will return it ourselves wink
  10. V. Salama
    V. Salama 2 September 2013 12: 34 New
    0
    Quote: "The speed of the French president’s decision to intervene in Mali surprised many representatives of the country's political and intellectual elite. ... French military actions in Africa, for the French, are reminiscent of spring rain for the novelty. ... the long-term prospects for the success of the military mission in Mali are completely incomprehensible."
    It is known that "war is a continuation of politics ... and politics is a concentrated expression of the economy." So, better, as they say, a lobbyist of a specific economic interest. And as a success of the military mission, it will be enough to have a change in the balance of power in the local elite.
    Quote: "The fighting in Mali is no longer the" hot news "in Paris. They are more discussing the issue of same-sex marriage."
    What is commonplace? Everything as usual. I remember infuriated - in Chechnya, the war is on, people are being killed, and on TV - presentations, bohemians are walking ...
  11. Pimply
    Pimply 2 September 2013 12: 36 New
    +5
    To make it clear. France has about a third of its income from former French colonies and protectorates. So, do not be surprised at anything - these are quite logical decisions.
  12. aszzz888
    aszzz888 2 September 2013 13: 11 New
    0
    That Ol.nd, color, 10000000000%! And guessing what color he is is not so complicated.
  13. raptor1975
    raptor1975 2 September 2013 16: 57 New
    +1
    I would like to ask all those who write negative comments here: did this country do anything bad for you personally? Same-Sex Marriages - Is It Only In France They Exist? France had many problems in the colonies in Africa (Côte d'Ivoire, Chad, Mali, etc. ...), and the country solved these problems without noise and dust and didn’t advertise them especially where plus French aviation delivered the main attacks on Libya and no one told her anything, but it was the other way around: Medvedev for some reason easily passed Gaddafi and recognized him as a criminal ...
    1. stroporez
      stroporez 2 September 2013 19: 47 New
      0
      Quote: raptor1975
      I would like to ask all those who write negative comments here: did this country do anything bad for you personally? Same-Sex Marriages - Is It Only In France They Exist? France had many problems in the colonies in Africa (Côte d'Ivoire, Chad, Mali, etc. ...), and the country solved these problems without noise and dust and didn’t advertise them especially where plus French aviation delivered the main attacks on Libya and no one told her anything, but it was the other way around: Medvedev for some reason easily passed Gaddafi and recognized him as a criminal ...
      Amer infuriates that there is Syria, Assad, Russia ............. and it infuriates me that there is SUCH France ........ and so -not. did nothing bad.
      1. raptor1975
        raptor1975 3 September 2013 00: 00 New
        +1
        I agree with you, and I understand that this country infuriates you, but you were in it? But only not in Paris and not in Marseille. There are very excellent places - for example, the north of France (Normandy or Strasbourg), plus there is no such rudeness as exists in Russia - for example, if you go to the Bank in shales and in a torn shirt, then they will treat you like any other client , or if you suddenly encounter a Mercedes 207 on your Peugeot 600, then the driver of the Mercedes 600 will be guilty if he is to blame, and if you want to give a bribe to the gendarme, you will be in complete shit
  14. volan
    volan 2 September 2013 17: 51 New
    +1
    What the Gauls do not do now - they do through the railway. It would be funny, but for some reason I’m sad.
    1. VDV 80-82
      VDV 80-82 2 September 2013 19: 22 New
      0
      Where did you see the Gauls in France? not there long ago
  15. GREAT RUSSIA
    GREAT RUSSIA 2 September 2013 20: 57 New
    0
    The French lost their greatness for a long time, since Napoleon, and he also lost a lot of battles. However, France, together with its colored president, is heading to where people are usually sent in vulgar speech. So if they do not replace the president for their country, KIRDYK is complete, this is a question time.
  16. Centaurus
    Centaurus 2 September 2013 21: 29 New
    0
    “the bill on the legalization of same-sex marriage was literally shoved through all stages of the legislative power. This bill was the third reason why French society treats the events in Mali with relative indifference.”

    Of course, after this they won’t surprise you with any war!
  17. rodevaan
    rodevaan 3 September 2013 02: 26 New
    0
    Quote: Essenger

    I mean that you should not write so scornfully about France. Everyone has black pages in history.


    - Lord, - but what about them? Personally, I can’t talk about the paddles except as scornfully.
    The state, mired in sodomy and acting as the carrier of the pot of the owner and sleeping on the rug in the overseas hallway in the pose of "what you please" - a priori, in addition to neglect, it can cause nothing. An army that has one of the lowest coefficients of moral stability (10% of losses - they are already starting to scatter). According to the heroic WWI-Russia, even an expeditionary force sent to the Western Front to the custodians, in order to somehow strengthen these of your heroic warriors.
    The fruits of the WWII are not military, but political achievements - and not the fault of simple and heroic Russian soldiers holding such a large front that the frogmen did not even dream of, and fighting 3 opponents at the same time (and by the way is not bad), that stupid command and leadership of the country , led by the useless commander-king, so ineptly turned the actually won war into a POLITICAL one! But not a military defeat, which led to the civil war!

    Separate the grain from the chaff actually! Therefore, it is disdainful, because there is nothing to admire or equal and nothing, so something is yapping there about some rights and obligations of fagots and there is no more sense in them.