Sunday, 5 January 2014

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, “França: A invasäo como politica externa”, O Povo,* Fortaleza, 5 January 2014

In Portuguese:

English version:

France: Invasion as foreign policy

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe**

Since the 1960s, there has been a persistent populist myth in North World-South World international politics and relations that the country that retains the “accolade” as the North World’s most interventionist power in the South is the United States. Interestingly, this remains the case as a myth! In reality, though, this unenviable “accolade” in global politics is in fact not held by the United States but France. And the South’s geographical focus where France appears not to have anything else but invasion as its own definitive credo in foreign policy is Africa.

France is into its second week of the invasion of the Central African Republic (CAR) currently. It is its second invasion of the CAR in 11 years. More importantly, this is the 52nd French invasion of the so-called francophonie Africa countries since 1960. In early 2013, it invaded Mali (invasion no. 51); in 2011, it spearheaded the invasion of Libya (no. 50) which also involved Britain and the United States; in 2010, it invaded Côte d’Ivoire, its no. 49 since 1960.

“Francophonie” Africa constitutes a total of 22 countries, mostly in west, northeast, central and southeast Africa (Indian Ocean) that France conquered and occupied in Africa during the course of the pan-European invasion of Africa during the 15th-19th centuries. Despite presumed restoration of independence, since the 1960s, France, right from the post-World War II leadership of Charles de Gaulle to the current François Hollande’s,  has such glaring contempt for the notion of “sovereignty” in these “francophonie” Africa. Indeed, in practice, the “Brezhnev Doctrine” of the Cold War Soviet Union that had constricted the sovereignty of the contiguous east European alliance-states, within the strict ambience of the Warsaw Treaty universe, is a far more progressive relationship.

For France, the CAR and the rest of “francophonie” Africa are France’s personal property in perpetuity. Keeping a stranglehold on these countries enables France, with an astonishingly fragile, struggling economy, to scoop gargantuan levels of capital, mineralogical and agricultural resources that it couldn’t ever generate in its own homeland. Furthermore, so brutally a double-jeopardy, Africans, themselves, pay for these invasions of Africa by France as the political economist Gary Busch shows in his 2011 excellent research on the subject with the stunning title “Africans pay for the bullets the French use to kill them”. Busch draws the world’s attention to the key “settlement documents” mapped out by France, back in 1960, that marks its envisaged future relations with “francophonie” Africa:
France is holding billions of dollars owned by African [“francophonie”] states in its own accounts and invested in the French bourse … [“Francophonie”] African states deposit the equivalent of 85% of their annual reserves in [dedicated Paris] accounts as a matter of post-[conquest] agreements and have never been given an accounting on how much the French are holding on their behalf, in what these funds been invested, and what profit or loss there have been.
It is precisely because of this French blanket control of the critical finances of “francophonie” Africa that no French president (from de Gaulle to Hollande) has found it necessary to go to the national assembly and seek authorisation in any of the 52 invasions of Africa in 54 years not to mention seek a franc or euro to fund the escapade! In essence, France appropriates crucial African financial resources reserved and controlled in Paris to invade Africa and secure even more African resources…

In March 1998, socialist French President François Mitterand told an interviewer that “Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century”. This sentiment is underscored by Jacques Godfrain, former head, French foreign ministry, also in the same interview, who frames his own response in vivid geostrategic terms: “A little country, with a small amount of strength, we can move a planet because [of our] … relations with 15 or 20 African countries”. Ten years later, in 2008, President Chirac still indulges in this French obsession to control Africa in perpetuity when he intones: “[W]ithout Africa, France will slide down into the rank of a third (world) power”.  Following from these declarations, it is evident that Africa is at once the opportunity and the limit of French foreign policy impact in the contemporary world.

Inevitably, the dual prime questions of the age must be: When will the Africans involved in this staggering 21st century subjugation bring it to an end? Isn’t it now obvious that “francophonie” CAR, Mali, Niger, Congo Democratic Republic, Congo Republic, Burundi, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, whatever, cannot hold?

*Brazilian daily
**Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe is a specialist on the state and on genocides and wars in Africa and visiting professor, Universidade de Fortaleza

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

No comments:

Post a Comment