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  • © 2020

Contemporary French Security Policy in Africa

On Ideas and Wars

Palgrave Macmillan
  • 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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  • ISBN: 978-3-030-17581-8
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Softcover Book USD 99.99
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Table of contents (6 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xx
  2. Agents, Structures, and Ideas

    • Benedikt Erforth
    Pages 25-50
  3. After the Storm

    • Benedikt Erforth
    Pages 169-181
  4. Back Matter

    Pages 183-218

About this book

“Erforth makes a notable contribution to our understanding of foreign policy decision-making. He convincingly demonstrates that French interventions in Mali and the Central African Republic were the result of competition among actors with different mental maps and belief systems.”

Richard N. Lebow, FBA, Professor of International Political Theory, King's College London, UK

 

“Erforth spins a fascinating tale of François Hollande’s interventions in Mali and CAR. He shows how simultaneous attention to both process and ideation can aid theoretical development in Foreign Policy Analysis.”

Valerie M. Hudson, Professor of Political Science, Texas A&M University, USA

 

“The book makes an important and innovative contribution not only to the policy-making processes that led to 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

 

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.

 

Benedikt Erforth holds a PhD in International Studies from the University of Trento and has taught international relations and EU politics at Sciences Po Paris, France.

Keywords

  • France
  • Africa
  • military activism
  • security
  • terrorism
  • peacekeeping
  • french politics

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)


Authors and Affiliations

  • German Development Institute - Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik, Bonn, Germany

    Benedikt Erforth

About the author

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.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook USD 79.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-17581-8
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 99.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 99.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)