Last week France eagerly proposed to take care of another African problem, the CAR, part of their colonial playground where, if puish comes to shove (as it often does), their historical weight, and interests, are still in evidence.

I wondered why, apart from global humanistic and local economic reasons, they would volunteer to intervene. After all, such operations are expensive and France cannot scoop funds out of overflowing state coffers. Of course, there are a lot of “national interests” (primarily commercial in nature) to protect in these former colonies, providing tit-for-tat compensation.

Yesterday it became clear though that France saw its troops, in the style of the Légionnaires mercenary forces, as substantial export earners, when Fabius declared that the cost of the CAR operations should largely be borne by the EU.

What is surprising here is not that the EU (and, presumably, the rest of the world) might contribute to the financing of the intervention, but that France first volunteers for the job, and afterwards demands to be paid for it!

The rules of politicians’ business and the regular business variety are ostensibly quite different.

Grimbergen, December 10, 2013