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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Vers une militarisation de la diplomatie ?

by Vadim Kamenka

Towards a Militarization of Diplomacy?

Translated Tuesday 10 March 2015, by Gene Zbikowski

Threats, sanctions, unilateralism… whether it be in Ukraine, Syria, or elsewhere, most U.S. and European rulers decide on military intervention.

Diplomacy no longer appears to be a credible alternative. The back-grounding of the UN and the counter-weight formerly presented by France, which has now fallen in line behind the unilateralism of the war on terrorism, both favor this diplomatic crisis.

Libya, Mali, the Central African Republic, Iraq, Syria, the Ivory Coast, Afghanistan – military interventions come upon military interventions and are out-distancing diplomacy. Ever since Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s foreign policy has fallen in line with that of the United States, tailing the American neo-conservatives. This assessment is shared by former minister Dominique de Villepin, who protested against this diplomatic turn in Le Monde diplomatique: “France gesticulates… but says nothing.” In his opinion, France has turned away “from the balanced, influential and independent foreign policy embodied in De Gaullism, to the benefit of a growing affirmation of a Western, moralizing and militarist line.” Hence this Atlanticist line was encouraged by Nicolas Sarkozy, who picked up on the concept of a war on terrorism and decided on France’s return to NATO’s integrated command. Since then, French rulers have intervened militarily on numerous occasions, from the Ivory Coast to Libya.

This headlong rush has been continued under François Hollande. The French president has broadly defended intervention in Iraq against “the Islamic State” and has demanded military strikes against Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in Syria. Today, despite the failure of the intervention in Libya and the collapse of that country, France is pushing for another military operation… “These New Hawks in Europe” was the headline in the Washington Post in December, but they are also explained by questions of money.

“In the name of morality, (…) American militarism has freed itself of the rule of law.” – Dominique de Villepin.

“In 2013, orders for armaments in France increased by 43% compared to 2012, reaching 9 billion dollars. France remains the fourth-biggest arms exporter in the world, with interests in the Middle East that correspond to their very good Saudi customer.”

The state, a restraint on capitalism?

Under the pretext of protecting civilian populations, of humanitarian operations, or of the war on terrorism, diplomacy is disappearing. Following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the neo-conservatives defined the global war on terrorism as a new American strategic concept. André Bourgeot, an anthropologist, reminds us that “the consequence of this doctrine was the militarization or the Americanization of the Sahara, which has increased the explosive nature of the situation.” France is collaborating whole-heartedly because she is betting on thus remaining militarily present in Africa.

The back-grounding of the role of the UN has weakened international law and permitted the erosion of national sovereignty. “In the name a moral justification running from the duty to protect to regime change, American unilateralism has freed itself of the rule of law. Russia opened a new breach in Crimea in the name of the self-determination of the peoples in Ukraine,” Dominique de Villepin explains. Why? To destroy the nation-state, which today is “a restraint on capitalism.” « To develop and boost its profits, this system prefers to deal with regions and federations, which can be exploited more easily,” André Bourgeot concludes.

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