Thursday, May 17, 2007


Substitute the words "America" for "France" in this story and ask yourself how the New York Times might react. The Wall Street Journal reminds us that the age of European colonial empire is not over but has simply gone underground.

On the evening of March 4, 10 French paratroopers reached Birao, Central African Republic, and dropped near an airstrip captured by rebel militia. The paratroopers ambushed the rebels, killing several and reclaiming the airport for the government.

In France, neither the public nor parliament was informed of the attack for three weeks. Coordinating the mission was the "Cellule Africaine," a three-person office nestled behind the Elysée, France's presidential palace. This wasn't the first time the office has been involved in the Central African Republic's internal affairs: In 1979, France toppled the former colony's self-proclaimed emperor and reinstalled his predecessor.

For the past half-century, the secretive and powerful "African Cell" has overseen France's strategic interests in Africa, holding sway over a wide swath of former French colonies. Acting as a general command, the Cell uses France's military as a hammer to install leaders it deems friendly to French interests. In return, these countries give French industries first crack at their oil and other natural resources. Sidestepping traditional diplomatic channels, the Cell reports only to one person: the president.

But with France's new President Nicolas Sarkozy preparing to assume office later today, the African Cell's days may be numbered. There are accusations the French military bears some responsibility for the genocide of 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994, charges the government strenuously denies. There's fierce debate over the French military's continuing presence in the Ivory Coast, where soldiers were dispatched in 2002 when rebels threatened to overthrow President Laurent Gbagbo.

Read the last quoted paragraph carefully and the rest of the article. Sarkozy may end this long standing interventionary -- let's not say "colonial" -- French practice because the Globalization which the Left has so stridently opposed makes these quaint methods impractical. The Left always allowed itself more moral leeway than the Right in accordance with the principle of "to each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs". The Left in its estimation always had more abilities and it had more needs. Unfortunately, Sarkozy is a believer in that American adage. "In God We Trust, All Others Must Pay Cash". And in this Globalized world, France is out of cash.

Many of today's terrorist movements are rooted in the geopolitical time bombs sophisticated Europe left planted all over the world in the last century. Colonial Africa may be the least malevolent. But the crazy map of the Middle East, the artificial country of Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to name a few, were explosive situations that were left ticking at the end of World War 2, when the Old Continent made a show of retiring from history, leaving the EOD clearance to an eager and somewhat feckless United States.

Perhaps one of Harry Truman's biggest strategic mistakes was to accept the creation of post-War institutions which were optimized for preserving the security of Europe but which had the unintentional side-effect of locking the geopolitical abcesses of the Third World into a festering limbo. One of the reasons the United Nations seems so dysfunctinal today is that its goal of keeping the West safe from Great Power conflict has already been achieved, and the price of maintaining and magnifying the power of people like Fidel Castro, Kim Jong Il, Robert Mugabe and Hugo Chavez is now becoming evident.

With the Cold War seemingly over and the goals of the postwar UN substantially achieved, it may be reasonable to ask whether the world needs international institutions and diplomatic arrangements better suited to addressing the problems of the Third World, whose ferment is most currently manifested in terrorism. Europe has already gotten its money's worth out of international institutions and American protection. The 21st century may be the time to refocus on cleaning up the terrible legacy that European empires -- including the Marxist empire -- have left on the planet for so many decades.


Blogger MasterThief said...

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine -
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law -
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word -
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

5/17/2007 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

This is a familiar theme. The war in Southeast Asia was bearable until one day it became Nixon’s war. The French have been running roughshod through Africa for a long time. Indigenous populations were loath to resist them for their certain retribution and unmitigated brutality. But what’s not to love? The same seething masses hates Bush and the only fool is the one who would abandon principle to placate those who would never surrender hate.

“With the Cold War seemingly over and the goals of the postwar UN substantially achieved, it may be reasonable to ask, does the world not need new international institutions and diplomatic arrangements more suited to addressing the problems of the Third World whose crisis is most currently manifested in terrorism?”

The idea of a league of democracies will return again until the UNSC can blow its nose without a veto from Russia and China. Dafur comes to mind.

5/17/2007 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger jane said...

J’accuse over Yankee imperialism has always been a matter of projection by French pols and their not so unsavvy people. The French all along have been unsavory imperialists doing political, biz and military dirty deeds, even to the extent of abetting vile corruption and genocide for French interests. Some of this has been reported in the press over the years, at least enough to clue in nose-breathers.

The worst of it is that so many Kerry-Americans believe we were affronting the humanitarian and ultra civilized French, EU and UN with our upfront interventions of liberation and reconstruction.

5/17/2007 04:43:00 PM  

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