… you don’t need enemies. I’m hardly the first to point this out though. Henry Kissinger beat me to it more than half a century ago with his claim that “to be an enemy of the USA is dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal”. 1
I’ve not written nearly enough about the eye-watering price Europeans (citizens and businesses) are paying for their leaders’ subservience to Washington in its war on Russia. With a succinct setting out – 9 minutes 52 – of how much Europe has lost and continues to lose, here’s Richard Wolff, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts:
More specifically though, France has now been back-stabbed twice in as many years. (Not that I’m weeping for Macron or Quai d’Orsay, you understand; just pointing out how treacherous an “ally” our Quisling leaders have hitched their star to.) In an aside to a piece just over two years ago, I alluded to the way Washington, eagerly aided by London, stitched Paris in the course of AUKUS preparations for war on China.
In Nuclear subs go down under, I wrote:
As jointly announced this week by Biden, Johnson and Australia’s Scott Morrison, three of the Five Eyes have sealed a deal, stiffing France in the process, whereby the USA and UK supply Australia with its first nuclear powered submarines.
Now Macron’s been stitched up again. This time in Niger. Over to (a slightly abridged) Andrew Korybko:
The US backstabbed France after cutting a secret deal in Niger almost two years to the day after it did the same in the Asia-Pacific after cutting a secret deal with Australia and the UK to create AUKUS.
France Declared That It Won’t Let The Nigerien Junta Kick It Out Of The Country not two months ago in early August, only to now declare that its 1,500 troops there will depart by the end of the year. Paris had hitherto clung to ousted leader Mohamed Bazoum’s claims of legitimacy and refused to leave unless he requests it. His country’s former colonizer also said it would support an ECOWAS invasion aimed at returning him to power if that bloc decided to commence one. 2
This stunning reversal is a humiliating strategic defeat for France and proves the failure of its neo-colonial policy in Africa. Had it earlier withdrawn on its own terms, after the patriotic coup and before the junta’s predictable demand, it could have partially reshaped perceptions in its favor. Instead, the decision was made to remain in Niger, most likely because France thought ECOWAS would invade.
After all, with Paris unwilling to act alone to return Bazoum to power, it wouldn’t make sense for France to stay. Doing so these past few weeks signalled that a plan was in place: the junta would rescind its demand or be ousted, if only by a pro-French faction in another coup. None of that materialized, nor did ECOWAS’ invasion.
Here’s how America took advantage of its NATO partner’s regional setbacks. By adapting to multipolar trends across the Sahel, Washington replaced Paris’s security role in Niger. This in turn incorporated two US bases into the Sahelian Alliance founded a few days later between that country, Burkina Faso, and Mali.
The quid pro quo appears to have been that the US would foil France’s envisaged ECOWAS invasion if the junta let it keep those bases.
Up to this point, France still hoped the US would order ECOWAS to invade Niger and save its own bases there, which its policymakers assumed would happen since the US fears Russian influence and terrorist attacks surging after the coup. What they didn’t foresee was that the US would cut a deal behind their back to replace their country’s traditional security role as part of its flexible adaptation to the region’s multipolar trends …
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- In fairness to Kissinger – not that I’m inclined to play fair with mass murderers – his most famous quote is almost always stripped of context. He was warning his nominal boss – a Richard Nixon soon to receive a “Get well from Watergate” card from Uganda’s Idi Amin – that if the US puppet in “South Vietnam”, President Thieu, was thrown under a bus the way his predecessor Diem had been, the world would conclude that “to be an enemy of the USA is dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal”.
- ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) needed its most powerful player, Nigeria, onboard for any invasion of Niger. The former’s President Bola Tinubu supported such a move but faced stiff domestic opposition when his political capital was low. (It still is.) A taster can be found here.