Sarkozy Reviews France’s Africa Policy

Alone among European nations, France works hard to maintain excellent relations with African nations. Although, it once was a leading imperialist power in Africa, France today is intimately involved in the affairs of most nations over which it once ruled as a colony. France has defense and military cooplerationg agreements with twenty sub-Saharan states and maintains a network of military bases which can quickly deploy soldiers to troubled spots. It has also exerted considerable sway over currency issues and financial policies in African nations.

However, many Africans remain bitter over failure of French troops to intervene in the early stages of the Rwanda massacre of the Tutsi and there are confused feelings about French intervention in west Africa where recently its troops assisted the government of Chad to resist attacks by rebel forces who were being supplied by the Sudan.

Despite its record as a colonial power, France has excellent relations with Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. The French can play an influential role in central Africa, particularly if the Sudan continues its genocidal policies in Darfur and its support for Chad rebels who seek to overthrow the government. Perhaps, the French example might be a model for American diplomats, how to be influential while remaining behind the scene. It is the exact opposite model of American policy in Iraq.