There are the official reasons: tremolous, caring, even romantic. And then there are real ones, less attractive, but, often, revealing. Let me be clear: Sarkozy really believes that it is right, indeed incumbent, to help the Libyan people. And the impetus with which he has drawn the West, reluctant to the intervention, reflects his determined character and his values, liberals, that the legacy of a family fled from Hungary accentuates and sublimes. This is, indeed, the war of Sarkozy. But motivated not only by the nobility of purpose, but by political, economic and strategic calculations as well.
Those political are clear. Next year France will be called to the polls to elect the president and Sarkozy is in a disastrous situation. If they voted today, he would be passed by both the Socialist Strauss-Kahn and Marine Le Pen. The problem is that his unpopularity is not ephemeral, but rooted in the consciousness of voters. In these situations, as the spin doctors know, to get consensus it is necessary to create a new frame or a new perception of the President by the public. That Sarkozy, alone(or almost), could convince the international community to take up arms against Gaddafi, it makes him appearing in a different light, thus a plausible candidate again. Brilliant operation, which - polls in hand - for now is succeeding.
Brilliant, but not exhaustive. The second reason is strategic. France, former colonial power, still wield a considerable influence over many areas of North Africa and over the black one and was taken by surprise by the riots in Tunisia and Egypt, during which it has been very prudent with Mubarak and especially with Ben Ali, on the assumption that the old paradigm was still valid, or rather the friendship with authoritarian regimes in exchange for their loyalty strategy. And, Obama instead, who supported the riots in Tunis and Cairo, marked a turning point: to defende the interests of the West we do not have, necessarily, to endorse the old corrupt regimes, but - with care - to support the emerging lay opposition, thus preventing riots by Islamic fundamentalists.
Supporting the rebels, Mr Sarkozy wants to compensate for the liabilities shown in Egypt and Tunisia and offeres - equal to the U.S. - as a reference for any new democratic movements in Francophone Africa.
The third reason is economic. Libya has privileged relations with Italy, but in case of fall of Gaddafi, the gratitude of the rebels can only be very generous, turning over restoring the balance in favor of Paris. New Libya means new contracts for the exploitation of oil and gas, new contracts for the reconstruction of the country. It means, for Élysée, to extend its zone of influence. Have a look at the map: Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia are already francophone. With Libya the most part of North Africa would come under the umbrella of French. Among the applauses of the world.
Translated from: Il Giornale