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Frogs of War : Explaining the New French Military Interventionism

War on the Rocks, 14 octobre 2015

French bombs have been falling on Syria since the end of September, reinforcing France’s tough new image in the international and English-speaking press. The French have been known for many years as “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” owing in part to their refusal to participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This new intervention further contributes to France’s transformation from a caricature into “frogs of war.” In the last few years, French interventionism accelerated : Libya in 2011, Mali in 2013, Operation Barkhane in Mali, Chad, Niger, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso since 2014, the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2014, Iraq in 2014, and as of this week, Syria, where France had almost intervened following the chemical attacks of August 2013. How can this apparent evolution be explained ? “French interventionism” is nothing new, but this international activism and its sudden visibility, particularly as seen from the United States, is the result of a combination of factors.

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