War in Libya – Libya and World – News (March to July 2011)
French society on the verge of political crisis
Kudashkina Ekaterina Mar 23, 2011
Interview with Victor Mizin, Deputy Director of the International Studies Institute at the MGIMO University in Moscow, Russia.
Thank you very much for joining us! The basic question as we are trying to follow the developments in France is – how do you think the French involvement in the Libyan operation – how could it affect the position of Mr. Sarkozy?
Well, we all know that his popularity has gone down to the lowest level of, I think, any president of France in the recent decades, and of course as we know, for any leader to boost his credentials it is always important to start a small war somewhere far away from the borders of the country, and of course we are well aware of all this well-known French nationalism which could be instigated even today. Also this is a country divided. In the recent years due to political correctness and some kind of the guilt complex for the centuries of colonialism France has adopted, I think, millions of its former colonial nations from Africa, and specifically from the Arab world. If you walk through the downtown you can see a lot of people like this. But in the recent years we also have seen some kind of nationalism if not jingoism, when the poor title nation representatives think that those migrants are stealing jobs or social welfare from them. It was the case for many core European states like Italy or Germany, but in France it is specifically acute, because it was a former empire and because the nation, the migrants who have come they remember what kind of atrocities for example, the French troops committed in their former colonies like Algeria etc. So many see this new war as some kind of a civilization war even, when Sarkozy, who is probably the leader of this nationalistic circles in France, he also wants to position the country as the leader not only in Europe, but also in its former colonies; so many people see it as a war, I am sorry to say, of the white people against the third world. This is very dangerous because it can change the attitude toward France, and not only France, but entire old Europe on the whole territory of Arab countries in the entire Islamic world. I think probably to start a war like this you are to calculate first what repercussions would be.
So from what we are witnessing now in France, elections to local authority showed that Mr. Sarkozy is losing to Marine Le Pen.
Yes, and it is also very dangerous, and it is a very interesting phenomenon, because Marine Le Pen unlike her father probably she is not just outer nationalistic, she also mixes this jingoism with some kind of Merkel’s slogans, anti-globalization etc. It only shows the dissatisfaction of the French population with the state of affairs and we know the living conditions in France are deteriorating; and if the country was on the ride in the 1970s, now it is quickly losing its competitive age even to its neighbours like – I am not speaking about Germany, but even to neighbours like Britain. Actually due to this political correctness a lot of money was infused into the social welfare but the people think that, and some people even say that what we have in France, is some kind of government socialism, – but the people think that even this is not enough, people want larger pensions, larger salaries; I think that the French society is probably on the verge of a very serious political crisis.
What do you mean by crisis?
I mean that it is the society divided. First we see the growing antipathy toward people with a different color of skin. The French unlike Americans probably have always been very dark nationalists. Even Russians, I mean the white emigrants who have come to France and who probably spoke French better in grammatical terms than the natives, even then they were never accepted as equal as real French. In France especially if you go to some small towns or villages, it is still a very conservative society, a very nationalistic society; of course in the 1970s and probably in the 1980s and in the 1990s they tried not to show openly this kind of attitude, but now we see this upsurge of this very dark, very scary kind of nationalism, and this kind of adversarial attitude toward all migrants, specifically migrants from North Africa and the Arab world.
And their number is going to increase now obviously.
Unfortunately, yes, and I think that in many this kind of apocalyptical forecasts Europe is already flooded by this new wave of migration, when herds of people who do not speak even European languages, they are coming and they are seeking refuge, but they also are looking for some kind of donation, for salaries; and this can collapse the entire societal structure of many European countries.
Which means that the crisis is there not only in France but also in other European states? Is that correct?
I would even say Russia included. I mean we are not separated by any kind of a wall from Europe and we already know how many migrants from former Soviet republics are coming to Russia, frankly there are some tensions; so there are general structural changes in entire Europe, when for instance Europe hasn’t become a melting pot, or Russia hasn’t become a very fantastic or a happy place where all the people, all the nations live in kind of harmonic collaboration; we saw so many conflicts after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It is pretty much the fact now in Europe, where we see rising nationalism, for me it could be likened to some kind of mild fascism, I am afraid.
By the way, you are not the first one who tells me about rise in fascist sentiment across Europe. But then – do you think that there is a real chance that Marine Le Pen can win the presidential elections in France?
Well, still I think that the French nation, the core of the mainstream in France, is more or less the same, but the tendency is very, very threatening to me, because it is some parallel with some logical events in Germany, in Austria for that matter, in Italy etc. So we see emerging new Europe, which for me unfortunately more and more looks like many European states in turmoil of the end of 1920s, beginning of the 1930s of the past century.
Coalition to form political contact group on Libya
Mar 23, 2011
The military planning of the Libya operation is the responsibility of NATO, while the political guidance, of the foreign ministers in the anti-Gaddafi coalition.
The ministers are to hold the first session of what they call their contact group on Libya in London next Tuesday.
The announcement is from the French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.