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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The French Military in Africa: Past and Present
Author:Gregory, Shaun
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Geographic terms:Africa
Subjects:foreign policy
foreign forces
History and Exploration
Military, Defense and Arms
international relations
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/723950
Abstract:The end of the Cold War had relatively little immediate impact on French military policy in Africa. France continued to support the status quo, and maintained existing patterns of relations, as well as standing force levels. Between 1994 and 1997, however, France's place in Africa changed significantly. The decisive fracture with the patterns of the past began with the human catastrophe in Rwanda. The emergence of a new policy trajectory in Africa coincided with the restructuring of French defence policy presented in the government defence White Paper of 1994 and the Presidential document 'Une défense nouvelle' of 1996. As part of these reforms France ended conscription and reoriented its armed forces towards the exercise of greater military power outside Europe in the novel roles of 'prévention' and 'projection'. This article explores the reasons for the changes in French military policy in Africa and looks at the trends in the projection of conventional military forces that are shaping the future role of the French military in Africa. It outlines this role during the Cold War and examines the reasons for the relative stability of French policy. Special attention is paid to the role of the French forces in Djibouti. The article then charts the events and processes which have precipitated change in the post-Cold War era and looks at future trends. Notes, ref., sum.