News / Europe

French Interventions Leave British Lamenting Loss of ‘Courageous Instinct’

French Interventions Leave British Lamenting Loss Of ‘Courageous Instinct’i
X
January 07, 2014 12:33 AM
As French troops deploy alongside their African counterparts to try to quell the religious violence in the Central African Republic, military analysts say a new strategic order is emerging in Europe. France is taking the lead in intervening in foreign conflicts, particularly in Africa - while British military chiefs are expressing fears that Britain has lost its nerve. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Henry Ridgwell
— As French troops deploy alongside African counterparts to try to quell the religious violence in the Central African Republic, military analysts say a new strategic order is emerging in Europe.  France is taking the lead in intervening in foreign conflicts, particularly in Africa - and British military chiefs have expressed fears that Britain has lost its nerve.

A unit of French troops code-named the ’Sangaris’ patrol Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic.

France sent 1,600 troops to the country last month to quell religious violence between Muslims and Christians.

Earlier last year, Paris sent 4,000 soldiers to Mali, after Islamist forces took over much of the north of the country.

France’s willingness to intervene in African conflicts is in its self-interest, says David Cadier of the London School of Economics’ IDEAS policy institute.

“We do not want an Afghanistan in Africa.  This is why sometimes, in French strategic circles, the expression ‘Sahelistan’ has been used.  If you have no government, you have no security guarantees that you will not let terrorist groups install bases, training camps in Africa, in central Africa, in northern Africa - in other words, at the gates of Europe and of France in particular," said Cadier.

France’s increasingly assertive role in global security contrasts with ally and neighbor Britain.

Last August, Britain shocked its allies after parliament voted against taking part in any military strikes on Syria, following claims that President Bashar al- Assad had used chemical weapons against civilians.

In a speech last month, the British Chief of Defense Staff General Sir Nicholas Houghton said his country had become skeptical about projecting force around the world.

“I have recently observed with some admiration the relative ability of French forces to operate with the mindset of aggressive risk management. We must be careful as a society and as a professional military not to lose our courageous instinct since it is one of the things which keeps us in a class-apart," said Houghton.

Britain was the United States’ main ally in the 2003 invasion of Iraq - a war that was deeply unpopular at home.

At the end of this year British troops will complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan after 13 years of fighting and nearly 450 fatalities. Polls show the public remains skeptical of what has been achieved - with British commanders warning the Taliban are poised to regain territory after NATO troops leave.

Those conflicts, together with military spending cuts, have left Britain fatigued by foreign intervention, says David Cadier.

“What is happening is a growing reluctance in terms of accepting risk and casualties.  And France is somehow frustrated by the lack of strategic support on the part of other Europeans," he said.

In a speech last September, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France would adapt to changing strategic challenges.

"France will remain a global player, and provided that it manages to regain its economic margin and competitiveness, it will remain a 'power of influence.'  "France is a powerful state. "It has an undisputed international status, and the resources to meet the challenges of the new world," said Fabius.

But one month into France’s deployment in the Central African Republic, polls show support among the French public is falling fast, down from 51 percent in December to 41 percent this week.

You May Like

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dr. S. Roe from: Canada
January 06, 2014 9:15 PM
Britain has not lost its nerve... it never had a nerve to begin with... what happened to Britain is - Islam... the BBC, its chief propaganda ministry, has become indistinguishable from Al Jazeera... the British "alliance" with the USA has so deteriorated that the US actively spies on Number 10... its sad to see such a precipitous decay...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid