France has increased their military presence over the past several weeks in Libya and their former colony, Ivory Coast. On March 19, France first sent warplanes into action over Libya, enforcing the no-fly zone with airstrikes. This week France also showed its military muscle in Ivory Coast, sending helicopter gunships to increase U.N. peacekeeping forces trying to oust President Laurent Gbagbo who has refused to step down after losing last fall's election.
Along with the United States, France also remains engaged in the war in Afghanistan, with nearly 4,000 troops still stationed there. Despite this mutual force, it's the crisis in Libya where Paris has most visibly taken on a leadership role. President Sarkozy spoke out early against Moammar Gadhafi. He was also the first foreign leader to recognize the rebels as Libya's legitimate government, to the surprise of some of his allies.
In mid-March, he worked with the British to push the U.N. Security Council to adopt a no-fly-zone resolution, despite the United States' initial wariness.
"We do this to protect civilians from the murderous mandate of a regime that, by murdering its own people, has lost all legitimacy. In addition to its Arab, European and North American partners, France is committed to playing its role, its role before history." Nicolas Sarkozy, French president (through translator)
1. Where is France?
2. What does NATO stand for?
3. Name three former French colonies in Africa.
1. Do you think world superpowers such as the United States and France should intervene using military force in developing countries conflicts? Why or why not?
2. What do you think the role of the United Nations should be when countries are engulfed in civil war or crimes against humanity are being committed?
3. As a colonial power, do you think France has a responsibility to intervene when their former colonies experience conflicts and civil war? Why or why not?
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