Every history teacher preaches the value of memorizing the dates, the places, the names and the speech goes something like this: we learn about the past so we won’t repeat it.
By this definition, France has been handed a silver platter of history.
On Jan. 12, France deployed thousands of ground troops and air strikes to the Republic of Mali, a country in northwest Africa. The invasion was an effort to defeat extremists of al-Qaeda-linked Islamists who seized control of the country more than nine months ago. Action was prompted when terrorist groups began to close in on the Malian capital, moving France’s president, François Hollande, to make the bold call of sending soldiers to action.
This announcement sent shockwaves through the country and the world. This was a nation who gave a clear, thumbs-down approval in 2003 concerning the U.S. invasion of Iraq for the War on Terror. What’s more, President Hollande has built himself a name of being a soft, indecisive leader at best. In fact, his spineless style has earned him the nickname “Flanby,” after a wobbly gelatin dessert.
So for a country timid to raise its involvement hand, the Mali invasion speaks volumes of the progression of France as a country. To you, France, we give a round of applause for standing for something. The United Nations Security Council agreed, giving its blessing of unanimous support.
We are not making an argument whether this action is “right” or “justified,” but simply believe the crepe-eating lot has a lot to be learned from us, the land that stole the french fry bit. The French have yet to set a clear objective or timetable in reaching that goal. And our country has a 10-year testament that refereeing for another nation comes with unforeseen consequences.
France’s next move is unclear. Twenty-five hundred of the country’s soldiers have been sent into service and France has declared it will “stay as long as needed in Mali,” but has called upon the African nations to take charge in backing the Malian armed forces. The true test of France’s take on the Spiderman moral “With great power comes great responsibility,” will come after rebels have been subdued, and then Mali must face its own shambles. While the French’s quickly executed efforts could very well have been the deliverance for the African nation, it must be the Malian people alone who fully restore their country.
News of this revolution has a hushed presence in the American media, a silent war in comparison to the U.S.-Iraq conflict. As of now, America has aided French forces in the refueling of their aerial services.France has awakened from its activist hibernation and the U.S. has begun to debate and discuss furthering its involvement. To both, we say this: study history.
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