The world is undergoing profound changes, and only through collective action, can we address global security, migration, and protect the rights of the weak. Rather than promoting the Westphalia understanding of sovereignty, that legitimise the right of the strong to massacre the weak, we can and should only promote impartial justice, dialogue, collaboration and multilateralism in solving crucial global problems. These words echo French President Emmanuel Macron’s argument at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday September 25.
But by claiming that France denounces unilateral action and the strong arm twisting the weak, Macron revealed his raw hypocritical nature, which by the way you can only get from the French or British. Talking on the Palestinian issue, Macron told the UN General Assembly “What can resolve the crisis between Israel and Palestine [is] not unilateral initiatives, nor trampling on the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to legitimate peace”. He choked Trump’s arrogant attack on Iran, asserting, “What will bring a real solution to the situation in Iran and what has already stabilised it? The law of the strongest? Pressure from only one side? No!”
In the case of Cameroon, the French government under Macron has supported the same practices it has denounced Trump for. France has provided military equipment and personnel to help Biya crush Anglophone grievances in the South West and North West regions. In a sense, legitimizing Biya’s law of the strongest.
That is not all. Macron chiding Trump’s white nationalist policies, argued “in the face of certain nationalism, using sovereignty as a way to attacking others won’t be successful.” But Macron sent Biya an invitation to attend a Business Forum in November 2018, after several evidence from the credible human rights groups such as Amnesty International that Biya is using sovereignty to authorize the killings of thousands of Anglophones.
As Macron himself pointed out “If courage is lacking in the defense of fundamental principles, international order becomes fragile [;] this [will] lead, as we have already seen twice, to global war.” This is exactly what is unravelling in Cameroon. France and US are turning a blind eye to government and secessionists atrocities in Cameroon. France continues to ignore Biya’s abuse of fundamental principles like right to justice, natural human rights, and right to peaceful assembly. The effect, the rising insecurity in Cameroon is becoming a threat to the central African region, and also leading to mass migration and displacement.
What baffled me about the intensity of Macron’s hypocrisy is his claim that France supports those fighting for humanity and children’s right to education. “We shall support those working for peace and humanity,” he said and then continued, “The idea, here at the end of the day, is allowing thousands of children to go to school”. Biya’s government atrocious actions in Anglophone Cameroon, as well as secessionist fighters desire to use children as “the butter in the bread” does not promote peace or pave the way for children to go back to school. Yet Macron is supporting Biya and has failed to take any sound action against both Biya’s regime and the secessionists. He has also failed to address the issue of secessionists harbouring in Europe and authorizing human right abuses in Cameroon. In fact, his action demonstrates Macron’s political hypocrisy at its best.
France has the ability to push the Cameroonian government to stop the massacre in the Anglophone region. It can also force the government to engage in dialogue and end the Anglophone crisis, as well as influence secessionists to get on the dialogue table with the government. Macron has failed to use this power, because to France like to Trump, it is all about putting French interest first.