If you were in America in the early 2000’s, you will remember a very different France than that which currently exists. Just prior to the call for the renaming of French Fries to Freedom Fries, then French President Chirac said, “As far as we’re concerned, war always means failure,” during a 2003 UN speech. “Everything must be done to avoid war.” Given France’s performance in prior wars, few were surprised by France’s failure to act. However, by the time 2012 came around, a very new and different France had emerged.
Much like the United States, France faced a difficult conundrum during the Arab Spring: do you side with the established leaders or the rioters? After incorrectly picking the establishment of Tunisia to win, France received large scale criticism from the Muslim world. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy saw Libya as a chance to repent for the errors of Tunisia. Even before allied forces unleashed a barrage of cruise missile attacks against Libya, Sarkozy was quick to take the credit, saying France had “decided to assume its role, its role before history” in stopping Muammar Gaddafi’s “killing spree” against people whose only crime was to seek to “liberate themselves from servitude.”
France, just like the United States, had fallen for the trap of thinking it could please the Muslim world enough to bring them over to side of progress and civility. Al Qaeda flags were flown over the Benghazi courthouse once Gaddafi was toppled. In an interesting twist, Gadhafi was mounting an invasion of Benghazi in 2011 – yes, the “innocent, freedom loving” rebels Barrack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy fooled the world into protecting were actually members of al Qaeda. The irresponsible actions leading to the destabilization of Libya and the rise of terrorist organizations have quickly caught up with France, leading the country to become the chief European target of Islamic extremism.
With the Paris attacks and the recent slaughter occurring in Nice happening in such short proximity, France has plunged even deeper into their war with the Muslim world. With 5-7 percent of France’s population coming from Islamist countries, fear has already prompted a reemergence of far-right political parties. In a parliamentary meeting just prior to the Nice attacks, French General Directorate for Internal Security Patrick Calvar told the commission that due to the increasing frequency of sexual assaults by Islamic migrants, “Extremism is growing everywhere… We are on the brink of civil war.” After the terror attack that left 84 dead with over 300 others wounded, Calvar has warned French President Hollande that “ an inevitable confrontation between the far right and Muslims looms.”
France is the world’s 7th largest economy, but averaged less than 1% annual GDP growth between 1950 and 2016. France’s GDP grew 1.3% in 2015 and has grown 0.6% in the first three months of 2016. Tourism makes up roughly 8% of France’s economy, and according to Newsmax terrorism has already stolen 30% of it. 30% (of 8%) is about 2.2%, which means France’s economy (currently 1.3%) will shrink by a factor of 2.2%, leading to a GDP growth of -0.9%. And I don’t need to tell you that negative growth equals recession or possibly even depression.
Especially with Italy, Spain, and Greece struggling just to survive, any threat to the economies of France and Germany could lead to catastrophic results for the European Union experiment. As indicated by the reaction to the Paris attacks, France appears to have the awkward policy of continuing to allow floods of migrants within its borders while simultaneously assaulting the countries the migrants are coming from. While possibly simplistic, it is not wrong to hypothsize that the migrant crisis and the destabilization of the entire Middle East region would not have occurred if the United States, England and France didnt – as is tradition – pick sides and fill Libya and Syria with weaponry and assorted millitary assistance. Now the same powers are attempting to solve the crisis with filling the region with weaponry and providing millitary assistance to various groups. If we enter into the realm of predictions, I’d assume the next plot twist will result in the region being filled with weaponry and then millitary assistance will be offered to some various group. Rather than get better, the scenario will worsen and cause more mutual destruction and more terrorism. Welcome to the great game, France.