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French Military Interventions in Africa: Realism vs. Ideology in French Defense Policy and Grand Strategy

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Between 1960 and 2005, France launched 46 military operations in its former colonies in Africa, the most recent being the continuing French military deployment on the cease-fire line in Côte d?Ivoire. French military interventionism in its former empire appears to be a consistent policy since decolonization, and is coupled with an extensive network of bilateral Franco-African defense and military assistance treaties. The continuity of French military policy in Africa is a puzzle, however, since overall French defense policy and grand strategy changed significantly during the period in question. The conventional wisdom in the literature on the subject in English and French is that the continuity of French African military policy can be attributed primarily to ideological and identity factors particular to France. This paper will argue that realist theory, rather than arguments about French ideology and identity, is better able to explain French military policy in Africa since decolonization and the privileged place of the former French empire in French defense policy as a whole. Several historical cases of French military intervention since decolonization will be analyzed by contrasting realist theories with ideological arguments based in ideas of French exceptionalism and colonial history to systematically evaluate the explanatory power of realism for this resilient feature of French policy.

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french (183), franc (182), de (140), d (120), militari (102), la (98), state (92), region (88), intervent (83), power (80), strategi (76), forc (74), c (74), ivoir (71), te (70), africa (68), x (59), balanc (58), grand (56), pari (54), african (52),
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Name: International Studies Association 48th Annual Convention
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Griffin, Christopher. "French Military Interventions in Africa: Realism vs. Ideology in French Defense Policy and Grand Strategy" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association 48th Annual Convention, Hilton Chicago, CHICAGO, IL, USA, Feb 28, 2007 <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p178629_index.html>

APA Citation:

Griffin, C. W. , 2007-02-28 "French Military Interventions in Africa: Realism vs. Ideology in French Defense Policy and Grand Strategy" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association 48th Annual Convention, Hilton Chicago, CHICAGO, IL, USA Online <PDF>. 2013-12-16 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p178629_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Between 1960 and 2005, France launched 46 military operations in its former colonies in Africa, the most recent being the continuing French military deployment on the cease-fire line in Côte d?Ivoire. French military interventionism in its former empire appears to be a consistent policy since decolonization, and is coupled with an extensive network of bilateral Franco-African defense and military assistance treaties. The continuity of French military policy in Africa is a puzzle, however, since overall French defense policy and grand strategy changed significantly during the period in question. The conventional wisdom in the literature on the subject in English and French is that the continuity of French African military policy can be attributed primarily to ideological and identity factors particular to France. This paper will argue that realist theory, rather than arguments about French ideology and identity, is better able to explain French military policy in Africa since decolonization and the privileged place of the former French empire in French defense policy as a whole. Several historical cases of French military intervention since decolonization will be analyzed by contrasting realist theories with ideological arguments based in ideas of French exceptionalism and colonial history to systematically evaluate the explanatory power of realism for this resilient feature of French policy.

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Associated Document Available International Studies Association 48th Annual Convention

Document Type: PDF
Page count: 44
Word count: 13735
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1 French Military Interventions in Africa: French Grand Strategy and Defense Policy since Decolonization Christopher Griffin PhD Candidate School of International Relations University of Southern California Email: cwgriffi@usc.edu Paper prepared for the International Studies Association 2007 Annual Convention February 28-March 3 2007 Chicago IL 2 Introduction1 In September and October 2002 France significantly augmented its military garrison in Côte d’Ivoire after elements of the Ivoirian Army mutinied in Abidjan. As the situation in the country swiftly deteriorated toward civil
: la France dement les accusations d’intervention militaire.” Le Monde (April 13 44 2006). “Ties frayed by decades of tension.” BBC News Online (November 24 2006). At: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6181988.stm. Vaïsse Justin. The Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire. Washington D.C.: Brookings Institute Center on the United States and France 2003. Waltz Kenneth. Theory of International Politics. Reading MA: Addison-Wesley 1979. Weiss Pierre. “L’opération Licorne en Côte d’Ivoire : banc d’essaie de la nouvelle politique française de sécurité en Afrique.” Annuaire française de


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