France’s role in Chad

The World

JT says France has a special interest in the region: France has a historic relationship in Chad and France’s foreign policy has been dictated by its former colonial subject. France has also chosen to have a small foreign policy and largely negative one, as seen with France’s hesitancy towards the war in Iraq. With Sudan, when these issues came before the UN Security Council, the US was most active, then the UK, China was obstructive and Russia went along with that, and France was relatively quiet and if anything on the side of the spoilers. Kouchner spent most of his career in human rights and this was a source of anguish and humiliation. He thought it would be time to restore France to its central values. (So this week we’ve seen France is having to prop Chad up. Is this contradiction�going away from colonialism but having to prop up a dictator in Chad?) As of yesterday they made it clear they’re not going to prop up the dictator. In the past when a former colonial state was threatened, France has acted if this was still the old region, France would act first. In this case, France has said they don’t think it’s appropriate to use their force to prop up the Chadian regime. So the French force has not been brought into battle. Now the Chadian leader doesn’t want to be seen as so desperately reliant on the French. (What do Kouchner and Sarkozy’s politics, being on opposite political ends, say about French foreign policy?) We tend to impose our own ideological terms on other countries and they don’t always apply. French foreign policy has not been a right-left issue for a very long time, it’s been dominated by a consensus which is France must always have its separate doctrines from NATO or the EU. The distinction is probably more of a realist vs non-realist fight, and Sarkozy and Kouchner have been against that realist tradition and they’ve spoken instead about values which gets them labeled as neo-conservatives in France. (How messy will things be if this multinational force doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do?) the force is on hold. One theory is the Sudanese government did not want the force to deploy so they unleashed these rebels in Chad. I have no idea if that’s truth. So long as Chad is in turmoil there will not be any deployment.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.