When people think of France, they do not immediately think of crack military forces engaged in foreign countries. But France has always had a capable and highly trained contingent of forces engaged in Africa, whether it be Mali or Lybia and now the C.A.R.
Many people begrudge France's involvement as a form of pseudo colonialism. But the truth is that France is doing much to prevent some African countries from spiraling into the kind of violence and chaos that occurred in Rwanda.
Without the presence of the French forces, the Central African Republic could already have met a similar fate as that of Rwanda, and although the danger of genocide is still very much real, it is the presence of the French that could be the single factor between the country becoming a failed state and one that could hold until a balance is found and elections are held again.
The problem so far, is that no one else wants to get involved. But a recent UN meeting,and the testimony of Romeo Dallaire, who was at the center of the Rwandan genocide as a UN peacekeeper, have prompted some EU members to finally pledge help, both financially and in manpower.
Criticism has been levied against France for its constant efforts at foreign engagement. France was one of the first nations to be willing to intervene in Syria. And it also has made clear its position against Iran's nuclear ambitions.
It is however, important to balance what some see as 'meddling' or 'overreaching ambition to be an international player' to and with the current action in C.A.R.
What is now under criticism, is Germany and Britain's unwillingness to dirty their hands in rescue missions like the one in the C.A.R., but alarming news of pockets of violence, which could explode country wide in sectarian strife, have shaken the apathy that seems to have infected the EU and NATO states.
Source : Spiegel International/ 1.21.14