Macron’s Smears Show How Desperate France Has Become to Regain Its Lost Influence in Africa

Long gone is the time when France could leverage its network of influence in “Françafrique” to turn hearts and minds against its geopolitical opponents like Russia, not to mention the ease with which it was previously able to pull off countless coups there for protecting its interests. Instead, all that its head of state can do is call African officials names and pretend like they’re unpopular dictators even though they have their people’s full support behind them like in Mali.

French President Macron has been reduced to smearing Russia and its African partners as part of his country’s desperate attempt to regain some of its lost influence in the continent. Just several years ago, it used to be the case that Paris could successfully exert a combination of economic, military, and soft power sway to retain its self-professed “sphere of influence” across the range of former colonies that it refers to as “Françafrique”, yet that seems like a lifetime ago ever since Moscow began making impressive inroads there.

This Eurasian Great Power presented itself as a mutually beneficial partner for ensuring African countries’ strategic needs, particularly in the resource and security spheres. Russia reaffirmed that it has absolutely zero interest in other countries’ socio-economic and political systems, being solely concerned with helping them defend from Western Hybrid War aggression. The purpose is to ensure African countries’ true sovereignty and thus enable them to function as more important players in the global systemic transition to multipolarity, which will accelerate the decline of the US’ unipolar hegemony.

This aligns with President Putin’s global revolutionary manifesto that he shared in late July, which Foreign Minister Lavrov said a few days later includes Russia helping Africa countries finally complete the process of decolonization, ergo one of the reasons behind his latest trip to the continent. All told, Russia is nowadays an extremely attractive partner for African states, which explains why not a single one complied with US pressure upon them to sanction it, even within France’s “sphere of influence” in West Africa.

Speaking of that region, France is extremely afraid that the Malian junta’s multipolar and patriotic example might inspire copycat coups against Paris’ other proxies, which is why that Great Power is speculatively supporting the same Al Qaeda-connected terrorists that it previously fought there against that government and its new Russian partners. This also explains why Macron resorted to smears against Moscow and all those who cooperate with it across the continent by claiming that they’re supposedly just “weakened political powers…with no legitimacy”.

Long gone is the time when France could leverage its network of influence in that region to turn hearts and minds against its geopolitical opponents like Russia, not to mention the ease with which it was previously able to pull off countless coups there for protecting its interests. Instead, all that its head of state can do is call African officials names and pretend like they’re unpopular dictators even though they have their people’s full support behind them like in Mali. It’s actually rather pathetic that this Great Power can’t do anything other than complain and rant against Russia.

The fact of the matter is that France isn’t appealing to African countries as a partner anymore. Granted, they still enjoy some mutually beneficial trade ties and their governments appreciate that their former colonial power lets some of their people work in the metropole, but they’re no longer interested in unilaterally conceding on their objective national interests simply to please that country like before. Russia’s entrance to the regional geostrategic game has resulted in the emergence of a credible alternative to France, one that truly respects their sovereignty and doesn’t meddle in their affairs.

France cannot compete with Russia as Africa countries’ partner of choice. No country would prefer sacrificing their interests when they don’t have to anymore, and those corrupt leaders who continue doing so have to watch their back nowadays out of fear that their own military-security officials might be plotting to emulate the Malian example by overthrowing them in the coming future. The entire basis upon which Paris’ “sphere of influence” depends has been shaken to the core by Moscow’s decisive geostrategic intervention in “Françafrique” and elsewhere across the continent.

While Macron was smearing Russia and its African partners, Lavrov was cutting deals and expanding his country’s influence. Even EU foreign policy chief Borrell felt compelled to complain about the global media attention that this Russian counterpart achieved during his latest trip, which showed how jealous those two European officials are of Russia’s recent inroads in Africa. They can’t comprehend that this Great Power’s multipolar cooperation model is much more attractive to African countries than their own, which is why they can’t compete with Moscow there and are losing influence by the day.


By Andrew Korybko
Source: OneWorld

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