World News: New Caledonia, a Game of Greats in the Pacific

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As one of the most remote territories of overseas France, New Caledonia and its retention in the Republic represented a major economic, strategic and diplomatic challenge for France engaged in an increasingly aggressive globalization.

By deciding to remain in the lap of the French Republic and thus turn their backs on independence, the fruit of a process initiated in 1988 by the Matignon Accords, the New Caledonian people have, somewhere, given France a breath of fresh air after the Cancellation by the Australian Government of the order for several submarines in favor of an alliance with the United States and Great Britain.

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There are several reasons for the feeling of success felt by the President of the Republic. First of all, the ability for the Metropolis to preserve, even if it was one of the most distant spaces from it, the integrity of the territory in an area, the South Pacific, the object of multiple desires, both strategic and economic.

Strategic because New Caledonia, the natural crossroads between the South Pacific and the Asia-Pacific coast, supported by China and Japan, has for many years been a target of the nearby Middle Kingdom, interested in economic reasons, by the island's nickel resources.

Added Value and Vested Interests

Precious and coveted metal, used in the manufacture of many electronic components, nickel represents to date the heart of the New Caledonian economy(New Caledonia is the fifth largest producer of Nickel in the world with 220,000 tons in 2019) and its main attraction far ahead of tourism.

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Thus, keeping New Caledonia as part of the national territory allows France to occupy not only an economic area with high added value but also strategic in the face of the Chinese ogre who was only waiting for the independence of the island to begin to establish its networks there.

Using the weakness of the targeted states, China aspired, as is the case on the African continent, to deploy through satellite companies, to control the production of nickel, a land-grabbing form ( ) industrial which would have allowed Beijing to no longer depend on powers ancillary to the regard of its raw material needs.

Another factor of satisfaction generated by this no to independence, the ability of France to show its allies but nevertheless commercial competitors that France knows how to assert its interests even in areas where, a priority does not nourish particular ambitions.

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Diplomatic Ambitions and the Seizure of War

However, by reaffirming its regional presence through the decision of the New Caledonian people, France confirms its diplomatic ambitions for peace, namely to play a role in regulating trade in the area in question, effectively fighting the idea of leaving the peaceful space to the Chinese and North Americans alone.

More than a victory of the Republic, in any case presented as it, it is above all a diplomatic success by proxy that France has just won. A strategic and economic victory, even industrial, the maintenance of New Caledonia in the Republic is also akin to a form of war in the competition between the major economic powers of the world for the control of raw materials, especially in the post-pandemic period when a plethora of essential elements are missing.

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In the end, the no to the independence of New Caledonia, a tiny territory of the southern hemisphere, confirms this paradox of economic globalization, described by Edward Lorenz in 1972, in a maxim that has remained famous: Can the flapping of the wings of a butterfly in Brazil cause a tornado in Texas?  Where New Caledonia, by remaining French, manages to redistribute the geopolitical cards of the Pacific region.


Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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