Cambodia: Outcome of the Phone Conversation between His Excellency PRAK Sokhonn, Deputy Prime Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, with Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister to Foreign Affairs and Minister for Woman of Australia (08.10.2021)

Malaysia: Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Announcement by Australia, United Kingdom and the United States on Enhanced Trilateral Security Partnership – AUKUS (19.09.2021)

Opinion: Stoltenberg got to prove his worth now

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has a massive hurdle to pass over. As French President Emmanuel Macron and the French government is reacting to a secretive alliance agreement between United States of America, United Kingdom and Australia (AUSUK).

This agreement or alliance is not only shaping the military alignment in Indo-Pacific sphere, but in Europe as well. The Biden Administration has with this thrown more shade and fire on a fickle organization. Which was already bickering and had lot of internal strife’s.

It is not like NATO has been running smoothly in the Trump era. No, it has been raised havoc and Trump has caused diplomatic furore over his actions. However, Biden is causing even more damage by selling sub-marines and making strategic agreements without considering close allies. This is not a wise move. The United Kingdom has been a running mate of Washington D.C. since the time of Tony Blair. So, it isn’t new on that front and post-Brexit this is just showing their own way.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has a huge burden on his hands. Not only clean up the mess left behind from Afghanistan and other missions associated with NATO. Now he also has a diplomatic task of epic proportions. He has to sit-down and discuss with all the allies. Stoltenberg has to appease the French, meet with Biden and zoom-call Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Because, this has to be settled.

NATO will pay a price for this. The levels of distrust the French feels might goes to others as well. Just like the Turkish are closing the waters of the Greeks in the Mediterranean. The Turks have blocked a Maltese vessel from doing it’s scientific mission in Greek waters. Therefore, Stoltenberg doesn’t only have Macron and the French to appease.

An alliance like NATO builds it’s structure on trust and protocol. This was not only business of military industries of the French, but of their pride as a sovereign within an alliance. They were promised and this wasn’t kept. While the NATO members haven’t talked or been upfront about things. That hurts the pride of Paris and surely they will feel betrayed by their allies. USA and UK might not care, but do they really want more friends anyway?

Stoltenberg has to be clever. He got to be wise and hopefully he got good council at NATO. Since these troubling times will not be easy on him. He has to stand stall until the end of his office in September 2022. Stoltenberg has had the office in 2014 and he thought the idiotic times Trump would be bad enough. However, this will be his biggest personal challenge.

As the Secretary General he has to be strong, confident and humble meeting these Head of State. Stoltenberg needs to confine and find time to build trust. He needs reassurance and security on behalf of the alliance. While trying to forge relations between Macron, Biden, Johnson and Morrison. These has to appeased and feel the vibe. That will not be easy. Yes, Stoltenberg is a seasoned politician and has touched upon trouble before.

Nevertheless, this will be a huge operation. It cannot be saved by speeches or poetic statements. No, this is mending wounds and healing relations between allies. That will not be easy. Especially, when the French says it could even ditch the whole alliance. This is why Stoltenberg have to show character and do it quick.

If NATO is still going to matter. Stoltenberg have to prove it and he got to show courage. He needs to go to Paris, Washington D.C., London and Canberra. Stoltenberg needs to show his whole skill-set of diplomacy and political game of compromise.

This will not be easy. Stoltenberg has to pass over this mountain with a proper compass or a map. He needs to follow streams, use his gut-feeling and follow the lights on the horizon. There will be no second chances and he got deliver. NATO depends on it….

Stoltenberg has to prove it’s validity and it’s value. While building trust…. that’s huge task and it’s his to bear. He got to carry it and resolve the matter. That is an unforgiving mission, but that’s what he signed up for when he accepted the office. Peace.

President Macron neo-colonial perspective on Africa came to the surface at the G-20!

The supposed centrist and progressive French President Emmanuel Macron, he newly elected President who we’re to be a fresh air. Aren’t apparently so, not if he believes what he said this week during the G-20 Summit in Hamburg. It is a disgrace of a modern European President to reflect this sort of sentiment. Especially, since this wasn’t said by some rascals associated with Marine Le Pen or Geert Wilders, but actually out of Macrons own mouth. It is time to erase the saint-hood and the prestigious placing among the hopeful leaders. Because when he says these words, it hurts, and it proves that the French still feels superior towards the African Nations and their people. Macron clearly feels so when explaining himself and addressing development on the continent. The words in italic are proving his sentiments. Just take a look at a badly translated Press Conference on the 8th July 2017!

I do not share that kind of reasoning. There were several envelopes that were given. Either we change the target with the addition of billions. We have been deciding to help Africa for decades and we did. If it were that simple, you would have noticed it. The Marshall Plan is a plan for material reconstruction, in countries that had their equilibrium and stability. The challenge of Africa, it is totally different, much deeper and civilization today. What are the problems in Africa? “He asked” (…) “It is through rigorous governance, fighting corruption, a struggle for good governance, successful demographic transition. In countries that still have 7 childbirths per woman, you can spend billions of euros, you do not stabilize anything. The plan of this transformation that we must conduct together must take into account the African specificities by and with African Heads of State. It is a plan that must take into account our own commitments on all the projects I have just mentioned, better associate public and private; And it must sometimes be more regional and even national. That is the method that has been adopted and that is what we do wherever we are engaged. I will have the opportunity next week to come back in much more detail” (Macron, 08.07.2017).

It seems like he knows and understands the African experience, that he can precisely blame the mothers of Africa for the bad demographics. That he can say the failed planned parenthood is the problem. Because, the French has no interfering in the African affairs with their armies, with their control through their Central Bank and Central African Franc (CFA), and also their ideals of a Francafrique. Dr. Lansine Kaba said these words a few years ago and they still ring in my ear!

Francafrique involves a complex web of relations that have made France a major player in the affairs of many African countries and even of the African Union. Through the networks of this largely “opaque conglomerate”, France, a founding member of the UN Security Council and the World Bank, can boast a significant global influence that extends far beyond the French-speaking states. The term Francafrique suggests several facts and ideas, ranging from the politics of cordial exchange and cooperation to that of covert actions and violent military intervention that the French have been known for perpetrating in different parts of Africa since the 1960s” (…) “It involves an effective style of diplomacy that is not necessarily staffed with well-seasoned accredited diplomats, but energetic and daring doers. Francafrique builds relations that rely on close personal connections woven between the French leadership (the president and his close aides) and individual African leaders who depended on French assistance and security forces. Francafrique excelled in channelling funds to electoral campaigns of some prominent French politicians too” (Al Jazeera, 2013).

Than you have the WikiLeaks cable leaked from 2009, that even speaks volume of the way Macron views Africa as well: “Gompertz admitted that France’s Africa policy does have problems, most notably, that France continues to focus most of its efforts on its former colonies, even though they are not necessarily the most strategically important. Gompertz hopes to push for a stronger engagement with Anglophone and Lusaphone Africa. (Note: GOF officials frequently cite Nigeria, Angola, and South Africa as three of France’s key emerging partners in Africa. Gompertz was departing the same afternoon for Morocco and South Africa. End note.) Similarly, too much of France’s political and cooperation resources in Africa are designed to reinforce its partnerships within the international “Francophonie” organization. Gompertz cited the example of Burundi, where English is replacing French as the most popular foreign language, but he said this is understandable given Burundi’s important trade links in the East African Community. At the same time, he related that while he was Ambassador to Ethiopia, there was a strong demand for French language teachers, but France was not responsive in helping meet this need” (WikiLeaks, 2009).

So when Macron claims the missing envelopes and development, for various reasons, that he can understand. Even his own former Ambassador to Ethiopia Stephane Gompertz saying the projects was more for political gain and French own interest in Africa. Therefore, that the French President says what he says about the envelopes are bit disgusting. Knowingly the only intent the French has in Africa, isn’t directly developing the continent, but to extend their power there. Than he later claims the demographic and planned parenthood issues is behind it all. When the French interference and misuse of funds to keep their friendly leaders at bay. Clearly, are the program the French run under their Francafrique project.

So, when a French President should know what the French has known. That the French can spend billions and envelopes a not see development. When the interests are more of Paris, than of Dakar or Bamako, even the shores of Tunis. Usually if the Fancafrique are more for the gain of its own than the ones in need. More for the Paris elite or the friendly leaders instead of development. Therefore, it is an own created monster of French influenced based on patronage and clientele served from Paris. Macron must know this as the Ivorian and other leaders have nice houses on the boulevards of Paris. These are made of the patronage created by the French.

It is therefore, disgusting, that he blames the African woman and their parenthood for the lacking development. When lots of French own influence on the continent is for personal gain and for patronage. Not for development itself. To overlook this, is to forget the French acts and also superior belief in themselves. That is why Macron said what he said. The belief and understanding of grand strength. That they are one of the greatest civilizations on planet earth.

President Macron words: “In countries that still have 7 childbirths per woman, you can spend billions of euros, you do not stabilize anything”. Macron need some sense and need to step-up from his Le Pen ways. He need to fix his mind and should rethink French strategy on African soil, before talking about stabilization. Parts of the problems still on the continent is the problems left behind from the French. That they have never left wealth, but left behind petty dictators who spends fortune on Champs Elysee! Peace.

Reference:

Al Jazeera – ‘Q&A: France’s connections in Africa’ (15.08.2013) link: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2013/08/201381584025929212.html

WikiLeaks – ‘”FRANCAFRIQUE” — MFA DISPUTES REPORTS ON A RETURN TO BUSINESS AS USUAL’ (19.11.2009) link: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09PARIS1534_a.html