Editors’ Note:  while some on the US Left seem to think that the Left Front (Front Gauche ) in France is a wholly positive development, the interview below with one of its main spokesmen shows how opportunistic the Front Gauche is in going along with French intervention in its ex-colony, Mali.  For almost a century social reformism has openly supported imperialism and imperialist war.  Nowadays, social reformism covers up its opportunism by claiming an intervention is "humanitarian." Of late, "humanitarian imperialism" has been on display in Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Iraq and other lands in Africa and the Middle East.  In other imperialist states,  the "humanitarian" imperialist argument is influential, for example, in the US among many Democrats, and in Britain among right-wing Labour supporters. Their flawed mode of reasoning is similar, and it is illustrated below.

Interview with François Asensi, speaker of the Left Front Group in the French National Assembly on Mali

It is rare that the progressive camp approves of French military intervention abroad, why is Mali an exception? François Asensi. We are dealing here with bloodthirsty extremist groups, trying to impose a medieval society. This fundamentalism is a new form of fascism. We should not be under an illusions about the nature of the dictatorial regimes that they seek to impose; they are a serious threat for all progressives. We must do everything to block the path of these groups who wish carve up Mali.

Have the goals [of the intervention] been identified?

François Asensi. I am not being naive as to the hegemonic ulterior motives or neocolonial designs that may be at work in order to protect the interests of multinationals in Africa. When do we believe that the France’s intervention should be ended? The priority is to enable Mali to maintain its [national] integrity, build democratic institutions and follow a progressive path. Military intervention is obviously not likely to fix those steps there, but it is a prerequisite. Non-intervention would have been cowardice, France must clearly state the objective  – reconstruction of a democratic state – and be limited to that. This intervention is uncomfortable, probably because of the unfinished Françafrique project. How can we not see the weight of the colonial legacy and artificial borders drawn in the current conflict?

At the same time, you have expressed, on behalf of the group “heavy reserves” …

François Asensi. The scenario of an offensive to the south of Mali was predictable, the army column was not formed in 48 hours … The intervention was not inevitable, the UN mandate does not mean an imperative to intervene. Will we be able to gain the upper hand with jihadist forces without weakening them in neighboring countries?
 There is a real risk of destabilizing the entire region – Niger, Mauritania, Algeria

Finally, you fear the revival of the fatal idea, a “clash of civilizations” …

François Asensi. Words have meaning, the government says “terrorists”, while we are dealing with fundamentalists who have nothing to do with Islam and who are Sahel a hub for their trafficking. Personally, I think the military solution failed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Initiate a war against terrorism in general makes me fear the revival of a ‘war of civilizations’. The alchemy at work is dangerous for democracy and the people.


Via 21st Century Manifesto, http://21centurymanifesto.wordpress.com/
January 22, 2013