Not only does Hollande have the overwhelming support of his country for the war, but that support is strongest among left-leaning voters at 77 percent -- compared with 62 percent support from the right.
A more interesting narrative can be found on the French Foreign Affairs Ministry's website: "Mali's exports to France (focused on gold, cotton and cattle) do not exceed 10 million (euros)/year on average for the last five years and were down in 2010 (5.8 million euros). ... Today, France is no longer the number one foreign investor in Mali, as a result of higher investments from South Africa (mining and agribusiness), Morocco (banks and telecom), and Libya (hotels and an agricultural project in the north of the 'Office du Niger' zone)."
It looks like there's a primo opportunity for France to move up that list.
France's military intervention in Mali isn't just a blow against terrorism. France is also jockeying for position for future opportunities. Hollande hasn't been talking about the economic benefits of a successful military intervention, but he doesn't need to. As with Libya, the humanitarian optics are overwhelming enough.
This is where Obama can learn a lesson for his administration's efforts in places such as Syria, where he's clearly struggling to get a foothold.
Is Hollande sending French intelligence into Mali's northern region to train, fund and leverage al-Qaeda-linked terrorist rebels to fight the oppressors? Is he hiding behind the locals while trying to convince the leaders of surrounding nations that France isn't really present in the region? Is he trying to inorganically stoke the flames of humanitarian conflict to gain worldwide sympathy for his cause?
The answer to all of these questions is clearly "no." The support Hollande has generated is proof that with proper strategizing, framing and planning, one really doesn't need to lie and manipulate to go to war.
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