Category: Politics

Silent Assassins: The Repetitive Discourse of French Warfare

French leniency towards military involvement sees history repeat itself.

Far from resting on his laurels, when push came to shove for the resurgent Jacobite of 18th century France, he planted a pillar of patriotism into the hearts of his people, only to subsequently plough  a guillotine through their windpipe the minute he obtained power.

France’s leniency towards the nefarious sides of nature, or the modern day harbingers of peace, is an age old fable. They came to the aid of a nation that keeps French attrition under the carpet through their own blood lust during the American War of Independence. Almost a century later and Le Grande Armee was protecting Catholic missionaries in Vietnam whilst ostracizing natives, although the aforementioned nation in the previous sentence made sure their endeavors in the obliteration of Southeast Asia race stole the headlines.

Now fast forward to current tribulations as President Francoise Hollande leads a merry dance of Les Marseilles into the uncertain realms of a nuanced battle against Islamic Sate in Syria.

On this fair Sunday morning, six French jets were involved in an airstrike on a IS target which had been identified during reconnaissance missions earlier in the month. The attack, which President Hollande briefly described to the media, was made on a military training camp; one of the many he says pose a national threat to numerous nations of Europe too laborious to specify. He also said that the attack did not come at the expense of any civilian casualties, make of that what you will.

While France had previously agreed to once again jump into bed with it’s old reliable the United States concerning all things Syria, government officials have now said that any further airstrikes on these targets (and there hints had all the jocular nature of a teen nudging his best friend in the rib cage) would be made independently.

The question is, why has French involvement in these matters always smacked of anonymity, a thing deemed only for the esoteric history books of a well-versed professor? In the 90’s, while the prevalent forces of the U.S and U.K took centre stage during the First Gulf War, French President of the time Francois Mettirend was making sure that France didn’t pluck up the quantitative rear by deploying 18,000 troops in Operation Dauget.

Back in the here and now, General Frédéric Blachon of the French Army has also been head over heels in September with a number of interesting announcements. His army is set to take on 11,000 recruits over the next two years. In addition to this 10,000 reservists are set to be mobilized due to the increased threat (or fear of one) posed by political hot potatoes too ubiquitous to mention, or so it would seem, for a French government collapsing under public and political pressure.

Fear exists outside of the executive power too. Polls in France have suggested that were local elections held tomorrow, the increasingly popular, right-wing Eruroskeptic power of the National Front may sweep it. All the better for Marine Le Pen’s and far-right ideals, all the more harrowing for a Europe in desperate need of cohesion and support from one of its biggest players.

So France are twixt between the strained twig of unity their nation holds to in the E.U and calls to be done with the whole thing and stand alone. Foreign policy lines up between domestic affairs on a skewer heading for oblivion where the only certainty is that it is not a pleasant time to be a citizen. Hegemony perhaps gains the greatest feat of the day. Replacing the Socialist Party with the National Front and asking them to take a more leveled stance in the Syrian issue, or indeed France’s ongoing military involvement in the Lebanon, is like asking a pit bull for a bone back after you’ve placed it in it’s mouth.

The country has historically experienced more variables in power structures than most yet one constant always remains. At the cusp of every modern day conflict stands the French soldier salivating over fresh feud like Pavlov’s dog.

Now, as President Hollande flails away from the doubt which follows him down into the narrow crevices of public opinion, France once again racks its brains to find any remnants of a definition for the word armistice. There will be some who see this first official outburst against IS as a drop in the river of red that may follow.