France ‘Prepares for War’ and Threatens European Security Architecture

Lucas Leiroz, Strategic Culture Foundation, March 22, 2024 —

Macron’s failed attempt to become a “European leader” could lead the continent to an all-out war, Lucas Leiroz writes.

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France continues to take steps towards militarization and escalating tensions with Russia. Amid discussions about whether or not to send French troops to Ukrainian territory, officials in Paris have made controversial statements about a supposed “preparation for war”, leading many analysts to believe that relations between France and Russia are close to a point-of-no-return — which could obviously have catastrophic consequences for the European continent and the entire world.

In a recent statement, Pierre Schill, commander of the French Army, stated that his troops are in combat readiness, capable of engaging in war at any time — if necessary. He believes that today’s France is severely threatened. In this sense, the country must be prepared to go to war against states that pose a danger to Paris.

At the same time, the government’s official speech continues to become increasingly aggressive towards the Russian Federation. French President Emmanuel Macron has advanced plans to increase his country’s interventionism in the Ukrainian conflict — and continues to refuse to rule out the hypothesis of direct intervention by French troops on the battlefield. In practice, France is simply advancing a plan that would certainly lead to direct war against Russia, which obviously means a high-risk global situation considering France’s NATO membership.

More than that, Russian intelligence recently discovered that around two thousand French soldiers are mobilized to be sent to Ukraine at any time. They are believed to be deployed in critical regions such as Odessa and the northern border, where the West fears the Russians will consolidate positions. Although it denies the information set out in the Russian report, the French government remains publicly willing to, “if necessary”, send troops to Ukraine, which is why tensions remain high.

Interestingly, the head of Ukrainian diplomacy, Dmitry Kuleba, stated that Russia misunderstood French plans. According to him, Macron ’s real intention is not to enter directly into the conflict, but only, “if necessary”, to allocate French instructors on Ukrainian soil so that they can train Kiev’s troops on the ground. In a scenario of military escalation and with logistical difficulties for Ukraine, some believe that this would be the best way to continue the current cooperation projects and training of Kiev’s forces by the West.

However, it is necessary to remember that at no point did Macron suggest that he was actually planning a mere sending of instructors. In his statements, the president actually said that he did not rule out the possibility of direct intervention in the war, making it clear that Paris could send troops to fight on the Ukrainian front line in the future. Furthermore, even if Macron said this incorrectly and his intention is only to send military trainers, this does not change the fact that Paris would, in practice, be going to war against Russia.

Western troops on Ukrainian soil are and will always be legitimate targets for Russian military forces. More than that, they are priority targets, as Moscow understands that these adversaries are the true strategists behind Ukrainian crimes. Several Western troops have already died in Ukraine — some of them acting as mercenaries, others as instructors or decision-makers. However, so far there is no official presence of these troops, which somehow still keeps tensions reasonably controlled.

From the moment a NATO country starts sending regular soldiers to Ukraine, even for mere instructional purposes, the crisis will escalate to an extremely serious, possibly irreversible, level. The official presence of Western troops in Ukraine would be a point of no return in ties between NATO and Russia, leading to an open WWIII — the consequences of which could be catastrophic.

There is also the risk that France and Europeans will simply be “abandoned” in this process. So far, the US, which is the leading country in NATO, has not shown any interest in direct intervention. For Washington, the most profitable scenario is the involvement of proxy agents in attritional conflicts that “wear down” Russia, without openly involving American troops. In this sense, it is very likely that, if France engages in an open war with Russia, there will be no direct American support for Paris and its European allies — after all, NATO’s collective defense obligations are not applicable when an alliance country begins hostilities against another state.

Indeed, Macron is acting in a totally risky and irresponsible way. In his selfish attempt to gain “leadership” among Europeans, the French president is leading the entire continent into an unprecedented security crisis.

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