Taking the lead in the conflict in Libya has paid off politically for President Sarkozy. Many French now see him as a dashing champion of freedom.In France, it’s considered a question of honor to defend human rights and democracy — militarily, if need be. Even the opposition lends its support. NATO has meanwhile officially assumed command of the Libya mission, but Nicolas Sarkozy is skilled at playing that down and underlining his own role. He has also distanced himself from the Germans and pacifism. France is trying to reassert its historical influence in North Africa.
The recent events in Libya and Ivory coast have given France a chance to flex its influence in the region explicitly. The actions from the French point of view signify to the region and to the rest of the world for that matter; that France still does matters when it comes having a say in African affairs even though China’s influence has grown rapidly of the past few years.