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Why Europe Intervenes in AfricaSecurity Prestige and the Legacy of Colonialism$
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Catherine Gegout

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190845162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190845162.001.0001

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The Persistence of the French Pré Carré

The Persistence of the French Pré Carré

(p.135) 4 The Persistence of the French Pré Carré
Why Europe Intervenes in Africa

Catherine Gegout

Oxford University Press

Chapter four shows that France has reduced its economic impact in Africa in comparison with other world powers; but as core realists would expect, France still maintains an important ad hoc and permanent diplomatic and military presence in Africa. Case studies of French intervention and non-intervention show that French leaders have always acted first and foremost to ensure security interests, that is, the support for ‘cooperative’ regimes and the removal of ‘uncooperative’ regimes in African states, the safety of France’s own military bases and citizens, and the fight against terrorism. They also want to gain personal prestige, prestige for French citizens, and prestige for France in the international community (the United States, the United Nations, and the Arab world). France promoted its economic interests through intervention in the 1990s, but after 2000 it merely made sure those were not harmed. France is still tied to its colonial past, even if it has declined to help only three former colonies in the past ten years. Humanitarianism is never the only motive for French intervention, but it has been one of the motives, especially in operations since 2004.

Keywords:   France, Intervention, Françafrique, Neocolonialism, Stability, Multilateralism, Complacency, Eurocentrism, Prestige, Terrorism

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