After the Mali situation became aggravated, quite a number of researchers focused on the conflict’s geopolitical and ethnic aspects, whereas the military side was largely neglected. However, the French operation offers a significant example of the European Union’s self-sustained armed interference in Third World political processes.
In 2003 the EU executed a peacemaking mission in Congo, and it is still involved in Afghanistan. Both operations are widely believed to be failures, putting the ability of West European countries to act on an independent military policy in absence of support from the U.S.A., NATO’s “driving engine”, into question. Executed by French armed forces with limited outside assistance, the Mali operation presents an exception.