International Analysis

The French school of neocons and Hollande's taste for war

The US neoconservatives may have been discredited by the political failure of their adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they have inspired a school of disciples in France who hold key positions in the presidential office and the foreign affairs ministry. René Backmann analyses the development of the French neocons and the influence they exert on President François Hollande and French foreign policy, and argues that their role in the multiple military interventions launched by Hollande has set in train a vicious circle of violence that is proving ever more difficult to control.

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It was February 2nd 2013, three weeks after the launch of French military intervention in the West African state of Mali to halt and push back the advance of jihadist forces south towards the country’s capital Bamako. That day, French president François Hollande, visibly exhilarated from his meeting earlier with soldiers from the French marine infantry corps and parachutists from the Foreign Legion who had just liberated Timbuktu from jihadist control, addressed an enthusiastic crowd of civilians gathered on Bamako’s ‘Independence Square’, telling them: “Without doubt I have just experienced the most important day of my political life.”

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