This assignment is based on a video about the foreign minister of France, Jean-Yves Le Drian’s views on the current crises of both multilateralism and international cooperation, as well as the ongoing security crises, among others. He also goes on to answer questions about the US rejection of multilateralism, Catalonia, Brexit, the German elections, the strategic review, Iran and lastly, the role of France in terms of stopping jihadist expansion in some of the African countries that form the Sahel region.First of all, Le Drian considers himself to be a realist in foreign affairs, therefore he believes we are living in a critical time of tension and the growing problems in international relations is a worrying truth that concerns him.
Nowadays, the level of conflicts is incredibly high which has caused many security crises all over the world, especially the escalating modern terrorism. These conflicts, which sometimes begin as regional crisis, can have significant global effects, affecting the security of the citizens all over the world – not just in the place of origin – in some form or another.In addition, he claims the world is now astonishingly interdependent and even with globalization, there are commercial tensions too because cooperation between countries is becoming more difficult, mainly because some countries treat trade unevenly.He exclaims there has been a change and reorganization of the global or international balance of power, along with the security crises, economic tensions and conflictual strategies (in lands in which countries try to have supremacy and new disputed places like the deep sea, outer space or even cyberspace). Likewise, he indicates nowadays failures and surprises are the guideline for judging, calculating and deciding on what strategic actions to take.
Currently, there is instability in our world and in the international order because of the proliferating crises, competition being considered standard in the struggle for power where the rule of law is questioned and there is a rising unpredictability of the new world order. Furthermore the international regulatory institutions are being debilitated and there are attempts to withdraw from them because people are beginning to not conform to generally accepted standards. So for multilateralism to be legitimate and have positive results, everyone must accept what is established by law, have common trust, create collective solutions and allow cooperation to triumph. However, some countries, such as the US, have a complicated relationship with multilateralism and try to retreat from it regularly.In other words, because of the interdependence of our world, coordinated international action will fix the global challenges we are all facing today, meaning that a collective or multilateral approach is critical to end the world’s problems. Therefore, it is fundamental for the US, along with as many countries as possible, if not all, to effectively support the principles of international multilateralism and the multilateral commitment aims, in order discover solutions to all existing crises, especially security crises because of all the recent terrorist threats and attacks.Le Drian claims we need to “act towards stabilization, reconstruction, and reconciliation” in order to fight terrorism and maintain peace between states. This is why he thinks the G5 joint force authorized in April 2017 by the African Union Peace and Security Council to improve security along the borders they share and to fight against the terrorist groups of al-Qaeda in an improved cooperated way is great because it is the first time ever that these African states (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad) are determined to protect their countries security themselves.
Moreover, the foreign minister of France states that trust is the basis in international order because trust allows there to be dialogue between countries. So if a country has the wrong type of attitude or makes terrible decisions, it could be a threat to the security of countries. For example, that is why the JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear Deal was signed in Vienna in 2015 due to the intolerable and disapproving activities Iran executed (directly or by supported groups) involving nuclear weapons in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon or Yemen. It allows the International Atomic Energy Agency to access all Iranian nuclear facilities and for countries to pay attention to the strict commitments made by Iran.Likewise, the UN, whose three pillars are peace and security, humanitarian affairs and sustainable development, also plays an important role in our unstable world, as in many occasions it provides trust as well as productive solutions, such as peacekeeping operations.
Next, the foreign minister of France is asked various questions. The first of them is about the possibility for multilateralism to be successful with the US government rejecting it, as it withdrawn from the TPP, the UNESCO, the Paris climate agreement and is currently wanting to leave NAFTA, among other reasons. Le Drian replied with US needs to guarantee its full role as the first global power and take part in multilateralism because it is essential to have a multilateral relationship with the US in order to find solutions to the various types of crises. He also mentions the importance of American support in both the UN and fighting against Daesh to accomplish peace.Secondly, the following question is about the future of Europe, more precisely Brexit, the possibility or not of an independent Catalonia being allowed into the EU and the appearance of a new dynamic between Paris and Berlin.
The foreign minister of France replied saying Catalonia would not be approved by the EU and that the Catalonia situation is a problem that belongs to Spain. With regards to Brexit, Le Drian said that it is a decision that the British public has chosen that we must all respect even if we do not agree with it and the EU must establish good relations with the UK in the nearby future. Discussions and arrangements regarding Brexit are still going on and the minister of France believes that despite everything, there will be an enduring alliance and communication between the French and the British. Lastly, referring to the dynamic between Paris and Berlin, Le Drian claimed there is an increasing populism in Germany (which has been shown in the German elections) as there was in France, because it seems that Europe wants to protects its citizens but most importantly its interests. However, he claims many were delighted with Emmanuel Macron’s election because he publically said that he is focussed on Europe and built his campaign on Europe, which can be politically considered to be bold. His campaign worked because France understood that why lies ahead corresponds to both multilateralism and cooperation -in Europe and globally- in order to make nations better and more powerful together. Therefore the future should not be withdrawals -which would lead to devastation -, because withdrawal means nationalism, which would escalate to conflict.The third question asked is about what the US needs to comprehend about the strategic review.
For this, the person who drafted the document actually answers saying it is a collective piece work and that the conclusions are similar to what Le Drian has already mentioned. He goes on to say that we should focus on the prevention of crises in this transitional period, which means having a global and integrated approach between the diverse elements (development, diplomacy, security and military action). In fact, he declares this is the agenda of both the UN secretary-general and the EU.
Lastly, finishes by saying it is indeed a seriously hard challenge, but unless we want anarchy, it is the only direction to follow. The fourth question is about what the acceptable nature of an Iranian presence and action in the regions of Iraq, Syria, Yemen or Lebanon should be. Le Drian replies saying the main problem or the first issue with Iran is the nuclear issue, as the major challenge in security is nuclear proliferation, as well as chemical proliferation. This is why the Vienna Agreement took place, to prevent Iran from having access to modern nuclear power. In addition, the foreign minister of France makes it very clear that before and after the agreement was signed, France was the country that demanded the most in accordance to the guarantees as France believed the agreement to be robust. The second issue with Iran is the territorial dimension in the conflicts the country is participating in and the fact that the country’s extending in the Middle Eastern region, which does not help the rest of the countries achieve a solution for the Syrian crisis. Finally, he believes we need to always be demanding with Iran on both of these issues but we also need to respect the agreement that was signed, meaning France has to remain stable in every possible aspect. However, if Iran were to not obey its agreement, there would be serious consequences.
And eventually, the fifth and final question is about what the role of France should be in terms of halting jihadist expansion in Francophone Africa and what the role of the U.S. should be and how the countries are working together. The foreign minister of France begins by saying the Sahel region, more precisely in Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad and Mauritania, is a delicate region, with some states not being totally well-organized and where there is radical extremism developing and all sorts of trafficking. As a matter of fact, proof of the growing radical extremism is that in 2013, Islamist groups attempted to take over and transform Mali into an Islamist state.
As a result, France was requested – with the American support – by the government in Mali to intervene and stop the Islamist groups. However terrorism was spreading to other countries and even with their extended military action and Barkhane, the military operation responsible for fighting terrorism, was not sufficient because limited terrorist groups were carrying out less traditional – but equally as catastrophic – organized terrorist attacks.Nevertheless, the joint force created by these African countries themselves is a huge opportunity and exciting step forward to be committed to guard their own security. As a consequence, France provides support to the forces of these African countries, as the French believe they need to make sure this African Union turns out victorious, so that in the future other African countries can take the same initiative because otherwise any other attempt like this in any other part of Africa would fail.
Therefore Le Drian believes the US should also give their full support and hope a positive outcome will come out of all of this.All in all, for international stability, there needs to be multilateralism and there needs to be trust between all nations as it allows them to be genuine, faithful and work peacefully together in both their agreements and disagreements. More importantly, we must always have in mind that crises that have started in one country have affected others, meaning all countries are affected in one way or another, making it vital for collaboration to lead us to the answers of all international challenges.