Warnings about French civil war are empty threats

By: Rachel Marsden

PARIS — I have lived in France for the past 13 years, and talk of a potential civil war over discontent with the country’s societal balkanization and resulting degradation has been prevalent for at least that long. Despite new warnings about possible domestic conflict from current and former French military officers, it’s highly unlikely.

The French political class hit the roof late last month when about 1,200 current and former members of the military, including about 20 generals, published an open letter to President Emmanuel Macron and the French government in the right-wing news magazine Valeurs Actuelles. The letter warned of the potentially deleterious consequences of historical revisionism, which supposedly could further divide French society, and a growing Islamization leading to “detachment of multiple plots of the nation for transformation into territories subject to dogmas contrary to our constitution.”

If nothing is done, the letter warns, there will be “an explosion and the intervention of our active-duty comrades in a perilous mission of protecting our civilizational values and safeguarding our compatriots on the national territory.”

French Defense Minister Florence Parly asked the army to impose sanctions on the active-duty troops who violated their “duty of confidentiality.” The military responded by doubling down.

On May 9, active-duty officers published yet another open letter in the same magazine, this time withholding their names and calling on others to sign the letter online. As of Monday, more than 211,000 signatories had been added to the letter, which reads, in part: “All our elders, those who made our country what it is, who designed its territory, defended its culture, gave or received orders in its language, did they fight to let France become a failed state that replaces [Macron’s] increasingly obvious powerlessness with a brutal tyranny against those who still want to warn about it?”

There’s a link between the French military’s interventions on behalf of NATO and the migration policy that has culturally reshaped France. We’re told these military missions are humanitarian necessities — typically to dislodge a strongman accused by Western leaders of mistreating his own people. Ten years ago, for example, France and Britain led the charge to remove Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from power, turning that country into a chaotic mess and prompting massive migrant waves into France and the rest of Europe.

Meanwhile, in Chad, President Idriss Déby died mysteriously last month, and his son simply took power — yet France couldn’t care less about democracy there. It just may have something to do with the fact that Chad’s military is used as a proxy army for French and NATO interests in Africa.

A French parliamentary report published in 2015 identified at least 60 French military operations in Africa since 1960. The influx of migration from Africa into France during that same period suggests that those military interventions did little to foster stability.

France is now paying the price for its interventionist strategy and for blindly following NATO on its misguided military adventures. The French military would be better off protesting this root cause of the problem, although it wouldn’t do anything to lessen the impact of this longstanding interventionist policy on the fabric of French society.

But to assume that France is ripe for civil war is a stretch. French citizens are indeed fed up with rampant insecurity and cultural fractures, but it’s been a slow boil. And if the COVID-19 pandemic has proven anything, it’s that when push comes to shove, no one here is really going to stand up for their own rights. The French government is on the cusp of following the European Union into a harmonized vaccine passport policy that would force citizens to disclose personal, private medical information in order to travel and participate in activities involving large numbers of people. The reaction of the French populace to this creeping authoritarianism and curtailment of their basic freedoms has been total complacency.

What on earth makes the French military think that these same citizens are going to get up off their chaise lounges to fight some kind of civil war when they can’t even be bothered to fight for the right to go about their daily lives without being asked to show papers?

So bonne chance with your civil war pipedreams, mes amis. You’re going to need it.