Europe French foreign policy
The Bamako effect
Will France’s intervention in Mali make Francois Hollande popular at home?
Bienvenue, Papa Hollande!
“Vive la France!” read one home-made placard; “Merci Papa Hollande!” declared another. The spontaneous outpouring of gratitude on the streets of Bamako and Timbuktu, during Francois Hollande’s lightning one-day visit to Mali on February 2nd, was part of a storybook sequence that the unpopular French president could only have dreamed of. It was, he gushed, “the most important day in my political life”. Two days later, Joe Biden, the American vice-president, stood beside Mr Hollande in Paris and applauded his “decisiveness” and “the incredible competence and capability” ofFrance’s military forces. For a politician whom members of his own party compared variously to a marshmallow, a woodland strawberry and a caramel pudding, this was bliss indeed.
一个自制的标栏上写着“法兰西万岁！”，而另一个则标着“奥朗德爸爸，谢谢你”的字样。2月2日，奥朗德在对马里（Mali）为期一天的闪电访问期间，在巴马科（Bamako）和廷巴克图（Timbuktu）， 像这样自发张贴的感激标语随处可见。此般戏剧性的发展恐怕是这位人气不佳的总统都难以预料。奥朗德不断的重复道，“在我的政治生涯中，今天是至关重要的一天”。两天之前，美国副总统乔·拜登（Joe Biden）在巴黎与奥朗德会见的时候，就称赞他在管理法国军队上的“果断”和“令人难以置信的能力和才干”。相比于被自己党内同僚评价为软弱无能（棉花糖，树莓和焦糖布丁是法国人给奥朗德的绰号，暗指其软弱，并非赞扬），美国副总统的评价真算得上是赞美了。
Under the Fifth Republic, a French president is expected to act at once as a kind of monarch (solemnity, distance) and an active executive (decisiveness, authority). This is a tricky mix, and for the right, Charles de Gaulle has long served as the ideal. For the left, it is Francois Mitterrand, the only other Socialist president. Ever since he decided to run for election, Mr Hollande has become an adept Mitterrand mimic, in gesticulation, pace and tone of voice. Yet it takes more than physical imitation to earn authority. Before France’s Mali operation he struggled to overcome a reputation for consensus-seeking and fudge.
在法兰西第五共和国，总统曾被期许拥有国王般(庄严，距离感)的威严及强有力的执行能力(果断、权威) 。这是一个棘手的混合，戴高乐（Charles de Gaulle）作为法国右翼政党总统，曾长期执政并被视为榜样性的法国总统。而对法国左翼政党来说，榜样便是密特朗（Mitterrand）了，社会党另一位总统的总统。自从奥朗德决定参加竞选，无论是从手势节奏还是语调上，他俨然已经熟练成为另一个密特朗了。然而想获得权威，不仅仅是表面上的模仿。在法国对马里问题的处理上，他努力摆脱先前人云亦云，逃避责任的名声。
Now, the military intervention is prompting a reassessment. The decision to dispatch fighter jets and attack helicopters to blast advancing jihadists was taken quickly and pragmatically. It was bold, with the French enjoying little allied help. “His image has changed” and he has “dispelled doubts about his authority,” says Zaki Laidi at Sciences-Po university.
Might such uncharacteristic boldness abroad translate into the same at home? In some ways, the French decision over Maliwas not difficult: Mr Hollande judged that he had no choice. As Jean-Yves Le Drian, the defence minister, put it, “there was a spectacular acceleration” of the jihadists towards Bamako the day before the French strikes began: “if nobody had intervened, Bamako would have fallen two or three days later”. Mr Hollande did not have to take on a war-weary or doubting public opinion, or hostile political opposition.
奥朗德此般大胆举措，在法国国内是否能一如国外般受到认可？在某些方面，法国所作出的在马里的决定并不难：因为奥朗德认为，除此之外他别无选择。正如国防部长Jean-Yves Le Drian当圣战者直指巴马科，但法国依旧按兵不动时说的那样“事态演变的太快了。如果再没有人干预，巴马科在2-3天内绝对会被攻占。”因为奥朗德先生不需要面对厌战、质疑的公众意见或者持敌对态度的反对党。
A greater test is whether Mr Hollande is bold enough to take on his own constituencies with domestic reform. He has begun to implement some measures to improve competitiveness, including a softening of labour-market regulation, which does not appeal naturally to the left. Yet these have been offset by crowd-pleasing tax increases on the rich and on companies, and a reluctance to cut public spending. Given that the public sector supplies many of his deputies and voters, upcoming attempts to reform pensions and the civil service will be a better test of his willingness to take risks.
Even less clear is whether a more authoritative image will transform Mr Hollande’s poor poll ratings. The link is not automatic. Nicolas Sarkozy, his predecessor, got no ratings jump from the war in Libya. For Mr Hollande, much depends on whether things go horribly wrong in Mali; for the moment, the French have had only one soldier killed. So far the polling evidence is mixed. One recent survey suggested that Mr Hollande’s low ratings have barely moved. A poll in Paris-Match, a weekly, showed a six-point jump in his popularity, to 43%—but a mere 37% applauded his economic policy.
现在还不是很清楚的是，是否还有更权威的形象将改变奥朗德可怜的民调支持率。两者并非必然相关的。前任法国总统尼古拉·萨科齐（Nicolas Sarkozy）,他的前任没有从利比亚战争中得到民意支持率上升的好处。对于奥朗德来说，更多的是取决于马里事态究竟会不会向恐怖、恶劣的方向发展；目前，法国人也只有一个士兵站亡。到目前为止，调查证据是喜忧参半。最近的一个调查显示，奥朗德的低支持率几乎没有任何变动。《巴黎竞赛》（Paris- Match）周刊的一项民意调查显示，奥朗德的支持率激增6个百分点，达到43%。但是其中只有37%赞扬他的经济政策。翻译：周颖