France has been a central actor in human protection, yet the existing literature has too often focused on Anglo-Saxon states or states that are wary of its development. In order to address this gap, this book provides an original and much-needed account of France’s relationship to human protection since the 1980s. It analyses a ‘tale of two norms’ using an innovative theoretical framework: The first is ‘France’s domestic norm of human protection’, and the second is the dominant international principle or norm of human protection at the time (chiefly humanitarian intervention in the 1990s and the responsibility to protect (R2P) in the 2000s). Through this ‘tale of two norms’, and also thanks to interviews with key actors such as Gareth Evans and Bernard Kouchner and analysis of fourteen case studies, the book reshapes our understanding of the development and influence of key principles and norms of human protection. It also corrects prevailing assumptions about France’s foreign policy and allows us to anticipate its future foreign policy more accurately. Last but not least, by showing how important it is to pay more attention to the interplay between domestic and international norms and building an innovative framework that can be used beyond the analysis of France and human protection, the book makes a key contribution to the literature on norms and International Relations theory more generally. The book is therefore an essential read for anyone interested in human protection, peace studies, France, foreign policy analysis, International Relations and norm diffusion.
The chapter investigates whether, how and why France continued to play a central role in human protection in the second half of the 1990s and whether its conception and practice of human protection impacted – and was impacted by – humanitarian intervention and the increasing international contestation it face. In order to do this, it investigates the norm contestation faced by humanitarian intervention – and more specifically, the role played by France in deepening this contestation – along with the challenges faced by France during its participation to United Nations interventions undertaken for humanitarian purposes. It argues that despite this challenging context, the various executives did not promote a normative rollback, and emphasises the role played by France’s domestic norm of human protection. It then explains that in order to fulfil France’s perceived duty to protect without endangering its rank, and to address some domestic and international constraints, however, France’s practice of human protection evolved considerably and contributed greatly to the reinforcement of the global trend of delegating humanitarian intervention to multilateral organisations and adopting more robust strategies in the field. The last section illustrates these changes by continuing the case study of France’s involvement in former Yugoslavia and, more specifically, by focusing on its interventions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.
This chapter investigates France’s relationship to R2P in the post-Libya era, and more specifically during Hollande’s presidency (May 2012 – May 2017). It argues that Hollande and his various executives were strong promoters of the international norm normatively, diplomatically and militarily. However, it also explains that France’s strong involvement was not always beneficial. It then investigates the reasons behind this strong support. It argues that it can partly be explained by the fact that R2P was beginning to be internalised by France to a certain extent, but explains that this internalisation did not mean that the domestic norm became obsolete, as it remained very influential during Hollande’s presidency. Finally, the chapter reflects on the shift in France’s strategy to intervene for humanitarian purposes. It argues that despite a strong unilateral presence in Africa, it would be mistaken to argue that a return to Françafrique or a shift away from multilateralism was taking place.
The chapter provides an overview of the innovative framework promoted by the book to analyse the historical interplay between France’s domestic norm of human and the international norm of human protection at the time. The framework builds on the respective work of Finnemore and Sikkink (1998) and Acharya (2004, 2011, 2013, 2015) and is defined by four key stages: entrepreneurship, localisation, subsidiarity and internalisation. Because norms are not static, these stages are likely to recur as the international context evolves and/or new forms of contestation emerge, but the framework put forward can be used to analyse these developments. Before exploring it in more depth, the chapter first investigates some of the key factors that have influenced France’s conception of, and contribution to, human protection over the years. It concludes by emphasising the theoretical contributions made by the book.
This chapter investigates France’s conception and contribution to human protection from 1987 to 1993. It first discusses the emergence of France’s domestic norm of human protection. It then analyses the extent of the role played by France in the emergence of humanitarian intervention and argues that France was a norm entrepreneur between 1987 and 1991 before helping to consolidate the international principle through its practice from 1992. Finally, it investigates the French involvement in Bosnia and Herzegovina – France’s main intervention at the time – in order to illustrate the evolution of France’s conception and contribution to human protection during that period.
This chapter investigates France’s relationship to R2P after it was endorsed by the international community in 2005. It discusses France’s progressive role of norm consolidator, while also analysing how and why France at times endangered the international principle. It also argues that even though there is evidence that R2P began to restrain when and how France could intervene to protect, the influence of the international principle remained limited. In contrast, the domestic norm remained influential and led France to intervene to protect beyond cases defined by the United Nations Security Council as R2P situations, in a way that aimed to fulfil France’s perceived duty while promoting its rank.
France and the emergence of the responsibility to protect (2000–2004)
This chapter investigates whether France played a role in the emergence of the responsibility to protect and whether the international concept impacted it in any way. It explains that even though Chirac’s various executives continued to promote the importance of human protection, and in particular the idea that because of its history, values and rank, France had a special role to play, France did not take part in the emergence of R2P. The chapter argues that France was excluded from the discussions on R2P after the international community deemed its conception and practice of human protection to be controversial and outdated. It then analyses France’s ongoing commitment to human protection despite its exclusion from the negotiating table. During the lead-up to the Iraq war, France showed that it was willing to to defend its conception of human protection and that its voice still mattered. Additionally, Chirac’s various executives remained committed to intervene militarily for humanitarian purposes and thus continued to contribute to shaping the way the international community practised human protection.