According to Chirac’s former Prime Minister, the hard line made popular by Manuel Valls (the current Prime Minister), the Socialist Party and the opposition is a mistake.
It’s an opinion that goes against the grain. But it is salutary. Dominique de Villepin, invited as guest on French radio on Sunday, challenged the idea of “being at war”, a phrase widely used by Manuel Walls, the Socialist Party and the main opposition party in the aftermath of Friday evening’s terrorist attacks.
“A war is when two countries and two armies confront each other”, explains Dominique de Villepin, “which is not the case of the terrorists who struck Paris and the city’s football stadium”
“The fact that the terrorists had used Kalachinovs, grenades, a certain amount of weapons, does not constitute an army recognised within the framework of a nation state. In this particular case, we have a group of extremists, a totalitarian party”
The nature of the enemy is not the only argument used by Dominique de Villepin to refute the idea of being at war. “I do not want to play the enemy’s game”, he adds, warning against the consequences of this idea. A “trap” according to him:
“What are the consequences of this idea? The first is to exonerate the terrorists who tell themselves ‘We attack, we are soldiers’. The second is that we legitimise the fact that they are at war, that they have military objectives and that they want to seize our territory, our positions”
The fact that “a bunch of fanatical murderers declare war on you is no reason to fall into their trap of military escalation”. Especially when these murderers “want to divide us and push our country into a civil war”.
The former Foreign Minister, who in 2003 opposed the war in Iraq, asks that we learn the lesson of Western military intervention in the Middle East.
“These attacks are largely linked to an historical process that has intensified with military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere all of which have further enflamed the crisis. Let’s learn from this experience: things have only got worse over the last 10 years – things are worse in Libya, in Afghanistan and in Iraq”
“What sense is there is in a total war?” Dominique de Villepin asks again, warning:
“We are going to go all the way to destroy a terrorist group. As a result, that group could well spread the conflict even wider, because we will turn a proportion of Middle Eastern public opinion against us”
According to the former Foreign Minister “It’s not a case of fighting a war over there. This policy of waging a ‘war’ against terrorism is not the right one”
In September of 2014, Dominique de Villepin had made similar statements in response to François Hollande’s speech made at the UN General Assembly. On a French television show, he stated: “Let’s be aware that to a large extent we ourselves created ISIS. We have trapped ourselves in a vicious circle”.
He then went on to add: “There is not a single example that proves the contrary, everything we know about this type of war, waged for decades, has led to failure, especially since Afghanistan”.
Article translated from French
This original author was Michel Soudais