France: Ivory Coast

Regarding the comment: “If the French are supporting the Muslim north of the Ivory Coast, it is because France and Germany are preparing to move into Arab world once the US leaves Iraq", Randy Black says: I would like to offer an alternate line of thought regarding whether or not the US will ever leave Iraq. Persons thinking, or expecting the US to leave Iraq, might consider US actions over the past half century. More than half a century after World War II and Korea, the US maintains a significant military presence  and bases in Germany, Japan, Guam, Korea, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, Hungary, along with bases in Panama, Bosnia, the Indian Ocean, Iceland, Afghanistan and other places nearly too numerous to mention.   France is sort of running the other way, as it gets run out of countries, one by one.

RH:So Randy is saying that repeated declarations that the US will withdraw its troops from Iraq as soon as order is assured are just eyewash, or even hogwash?

Randy  Black made predictions about the Iraq war.  I concluded: So Randy is saying that repeated declarations that the US will withdraw its troops from Iraq ax soon as order is assured are just eyewash, or even hogwash? Randy simply answers: Yes.

Regarding France's difficulties in the Ivory Coast, Istvan Simon said: I note merely the irony of the American understanding of the French actions, in the light of the usual lack of reciprocity from the French, which I personally find offensive and repulsive.

Christopher Jones, who lives in France, bristles like a Frenchman: I personally find Istvan Simon statement offensive and repulsive, to use his own words.  The difference between the US intervention in Iraq and France's presence in the Ivory Coast is that France is there acting under a UN mandate.  Its military is there to stop the country from plunging into another bloody African civil war which could sweep away the last vestiges of civilization.  The country has all the characteristics of following fellow West African basket cases like Sierra Leone, Liberia down a slippery slope that will end as an exercise in cannibalism.  But the French presence in Africa and in particular in Ivory Coast is far more important than Istvan may think  and if he likes chocolate he had better hope that the French stay there.  The country is still the world's number one cocoa producer, with a huge market share.  If the Ivory Coast's civil strife were to impede the export of raw cocoa, the ensuing price rise coupled with a devalued dollars will be very painful for him indeed.

RH: The situation is far more important than the price of chocolate. It involves the role of France in Africa, which is why the French feel so strongly about the Ivory Coast. Africa was decolonized much too quickly, and now many of the countries there are basket cases.  The response of the West is to give Africa priority in its aid programs.  Will that help?

Your comments are invited. Read the home page of the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) by simply double-clicking on: Mail to Ronald Hilton, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Please inform us of any change of e-mail address.
Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: January 16, 2005