The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy

Contemporary French Security Policy in Africa

On Ideas and Wars

Authors: Erforth, Benedikt

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  • Provides new insights into France’s foreign and defence policy, the country’s political aspirations in Africa, and its impact on European external action
  • Considers the actors’ subjective perceptions and motivations as the key to understanding France’s actions
  • Constitutes an anthropology of decision-making, telling the story of those politicians, civil servants, and military leaders that are the makers of France’s military actions
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About this book

Despite efforts to normalize its post-colonial relationship and the downsizing of its permanent military presence, France remains a sought-after security provider in Africa. This book uncovers individual and collective motivations that drive French foreign and security policy in Africa. It explains French interventionism by drawing on actors’ subjective perceptions of reality and seeks to answer why French decision-makers are ready to accept the considerable risks and costs involved in guaranteeing the security of African countries. Adopting an actor-centric constructivist ontology, the author traces the emergence and subsequent development of ideas throughout the decision-making processes that led to Operation Serval in Mali and Operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic.

About the authors

Benedikt Erforth holds a PhD in International Studies from the University of Trento and has taught international relations, foreign policy, and EU politics at Sciences Po Paris, France. His work has been published in Millennium, the Cambridge Review of International Affairs, and the European Review of International Affairs.

Reviews

“Erforth makes a notable contribution to our understanding of foreign policy decisionmaking. He convincingly demonstrates that pre-defined conceptions of national interest cannot explain French interventions in Mali and the Central African Republic. They were the result of competition among actors with different mental maps and belief systems who exploited as best they could the process by which decisions are reached. In the end the Hollande administration saved ‘strangers’ to uphold its self-image.” (Richard Ned Lebow, FBA, Professor of International Political Theory, King's College London, UK)

“Despite repeated assurances that France would not intervene, that the days of France acting as the 'gendarme of Africa' were over, President Hollande launched two major military interventions in Africa in 2013, the first in Mali and the second in the Central African Republic. Erforth's analysis of the institutional setting within which these operations were launched, combined with a detailed exploration of the mindsets of those politicians, civil servants, and military leaders who are the makers of France’s military actions in Africa, throws new light on the decision-making processes that led to their launch. He also shows how the dominant narrative of global terrorism, together with a discourse about the countries' proximity of Europe, became powerful drivers of interventionism. As such, Erforth's book makes an important and innovative contribution not only to the policy-making process that led to the launch of these two operations, but more broadly to our understanding of recent developments in French African policy.” (Tony Chafer, Professor of French and African Studies, University of Portsmouth, UK)

“Erforth spins a fascinating tale of Francois Hollande’s interventions in Mali and CAR, showing how a strategic narrative emerged through concern for such disparate principles as legitimacy, responsibility, guilt, compassion, security, prestige, honor, memory, analogies, and self-image.  In doing so, he not only adds to our understandings of these particular interventions, but shows how simultaneous attention to both process and ideation can aid theoretical development in Foreign Policy Analysis.” (Valerie M. Hudson, Professor and George H. W. Bush Chair, Department of International Affairs, Texas A&M University, USA)


Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $44.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-17581-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase and usable on all devices
  • Bulk discounts from 10 eBooks
Hardcover $79.99
price for USA
Softcover $59.99
price for USA

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Contemporary French Security Policy in Africa
Book Subtitle
On Ideas and Wars
Authors
Series Title
The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-17581-8
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-17581-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-17580-1
Softcover ISBN
978-3-030-17583-2
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XX, 218
Number of Illustrations
14 b/w illustrations
Topics