According to Extrareference.com, France has established itself as a leader in Europe since modern times and, during the twentieth century, has been able to secure the limelight in the most important international organizations. By virtue of its role in the United Nations (where it holds one of the five permanent seats on the Security Council), the G8, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and NATO, is today facing a challenging phase in the party game of international politics. Proponent of the ideal of a united Europe since it took shape, Paris in many ways struggles to remain on the podium of the leaders and risks being temporarily contained in the rear, together with the other (economically less virtuous) countries of the Mediterranean. In 2015, the deficit / GDP ratio once again remained above 3%, the public debt continues to grow and the economic recovery is struggling to take off. François Hollande, president of the country since 2012, is subject to a dramatic decline in support which he has tried to recover by flexing his muscles in foreign policy through military missions in Africa and interventions in the Middle East, thus aiming to maintain the hegemony of France where it is still present the possibility of claiming it. This has been amply demonstrated in recent years, when Nicolas Sarkozy’s activism during the Libyan crisis of 2011 was followed in 2013 by the massive intervention of the French army in Mali to stop the advance of Islamist rebels, the mission in Central African Republic launched in the same year, and logistical and military support to Kurdish militants in Iraq in 2014.
In its former colonies, Paris still has the opportunity to play as a protagonist, but on the domestic front it seems to resign itself to conducting a purely managerial policy, despite numerous sectors of business and public opinion in general calling for a more courageous and radical approach. Hoping to lessen the rigor imposed by Germany, Hollande has also momentarily abandoned the traditional Franco-German axis to focus on an unusual triangle, with Madrid and Rome as other vertices, which in any case presents itself with little room for maneuver. The marginality of the French role in Europe and the bearish games of its president also risk turning out to be counterproductive for the defense of the single currency, today more threatened than ever by the rise of Eurosceptics,
Overseas Paris maintains its usual relations with the United States, even stronger following the reintegration of French power into the joint NATO command(after the exit desired by Charles de Gaulle in 1966) and to the political line adopted during the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy. In recent years, however, attention has also been pushed towards the Far East, focusing more and more on the continent today the heart of the world economy and the center of the most significant geopolitical tensions. France is expanding its range of action towards the East, in an attempt to improve its trade balance and to grab a share of Chinese investments directed in Europe and disputed between different powers, Germany and the United Kingdom in the front row. However, to a greater extent than Berlin is doing, French diplomacy has strengthened cooperation with Asian countries also on security matters, particularly with Japan. Even arms sales to the region have increased dramatically, risking serious economic and political implications. Like other European countries, France has in any case avoided taking a position on the many open territorial issues concerning the Asian region but, unlike other member states of theEu, finds itself increasingly tied to the fate of some of its main protagonists.
The boom in the arms market
The defense market is a historically developed sector with a strong presence in France, with some of the largest multinationals operating globally in all major military sectors, including Dassault (aeronautics), Dcns (navy), Thales (electronics and weapons read), Nexter (land vehicles). In recent years, however, the arms business has experienced a real exploit, leading France to establish itself in 2013 and 2014 as the third largest arms exporter in the world, second only to the United States and Russia. In a country heavily hit by the economic crisis, the arms industry has opened up room for recovery, reaching a sales value of 8 billion euros in 2014 and generating, in the first months of 2015 alone, around 30,000 new jobs. The main trading partners are Morocco, China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and India, in a ranking that is always ready for change according to the large commissions that are assigned. A boom of the industry which certainly did not fail to raise some criticism from anti-militarists and human rights activists, given the poor record of defense of human rights in countries such as Saudi Arabia and China. Furthermore, the sale of arms has often been criticized because it is seen as one of the main destabilizing factors in the Middle East. To give an idea of the short circuit between the arms business and international politics, just think that France is the main European exporter of arms to Saudi Arabia, a country hostile to the Syrian government of Bashar al Assad and engaged in a sort of war by proxy with Iran for the fall of the Damascus regime. However, the radicalization of the conflict in Syria has led the French government to intervene directly with aerial bombardments against the Islamic State.