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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid