What is the Geopolitical Future of France?

  • France has lost the leadership role in Europe and continues to be in the shadow of Germany and Angela Merkel's personal agenda.
  • Charles de Gaulle was the last president who showed determination and France was able to call the shots in the global arena.
  • As it stands, unless something drastically changes, France will continue to be a follower within the EU and be submissive to the German political line.

French President Emanuel Macron has not been a strong leader. France is experiencing a negative pattern and the next election will be held in 2022. France reached its zenith in global influence in 1812. Napoleon Bonaparte became the Emperor of France in 1804. The title was created for Napoleon to preserve the appearance of the French Republic and show that after the French Revolution, the feudal system was abandoned and a nation state was created.

The First French Empire (Napoleonic Empire) was the largest power in continental Europe during the early 19th century. Fast forward to current times and France has lost the leadership role in Europe and continues to be in the shadow of Germany and Angela Merkel’s personal agenda.

Charles de Gaulle was the last president who showed determination and France was able to call the shots in the global arena. De Gaulle was a French army officer and statesman who led the French Resistance against Nazi Germany in World War II and chaired the Provisional Government of the French Republic from 1944 to 1946 in order to reestablish democracy in France.

In 1965, de Gaulle forced the US to exchange dollar paper currency for gold at the official exchange rate, crashing the US gold dollar equivalent. The domino effect after this transaction caused the “Nixon shock,” in turn forcing a series of economic measures undertaken by US President Richard Nixon in 1971. It also ended the use of the gold standard in the US.

Chart Source: moneymaven.io

Since de Gaulle, France has not had a notable strong leader and France has not able to gain a leadership position within the European Union (EU).

Nicolas Sarkozy tried to assert the French position by proposing to expand the EU to include North Africa. That would give France better access to Africa’s natural resources. Unfortunately for France it was a colossal failure. Libya, for example, is embroiled in civil war even now.

Over the past century, France lost its influence in the Middle East, including Syria, and its former African colonies are mostly a failure. France is a shadow of its former might as an Empire.

Even as the EU has been expanding to include former Soviet block countries in the east, the economy of France has experienced decline. Actually, EU expansion has caused more problems and created more financial baggage. The only beneficiary of the expansion is NATO and the US from a defense prospective. Nothing truly for France. Macron recently suggested that NATO should have less influence in EU affairs.

Expansion with eastern Europe has inserting their national issues into the EU, including corruption, the constant requirement of funds injections and the flooding of western Europe with cheap labor under the Schengen visa program– all of which has hurt the French economy. A Schengen visa is a short stay visa allowing its holder to circulate in the Schengen area (EU). In hindsight, NATO is the biggest obstacle to France gaining a leadership position in the EU. Yet, without NATO, France couldn’t defend itself against Russia. Sanctions against Russia were necessary, but they effected France’ economy, due to restrictions on trade, etc.

France has been trying for at least a decade to take the leadership reigns from Germany. However, it is experiencing internal turmoil, including Yellow Vest protests and rising support for populist leader Marine Le Pen.

Macron has been embroiled in conflict with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, especially since Turkey purchased the S-400 anti-aircraft weapon system developed by Russia.

The possibility of increasing trade conflict with the US if President Donald Trump is reelected in 2020 will adversely affect France. For now the US is mostly focused on the trade war with China.

Brexit too has been an issue since the parameters surrounding it will be detrimental for France.

As it stands, unless something drastically changes, France will continue to be a follower within the EU and be submissive to the German political line.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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