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But the two men also pointed out that French military forces are taking the lead in areas such as Mali.

“French and African Union forces — with U.S. logistical and information support — have pushed back al Qaeda-linked insurgents,” they wrote.

While the early days of the Iraq War may have left Americans with the impression that France was retreating from military intervention, analysts say that interpretation was overblown.

“The French have always been diplomatically active. They’ve always been a country that leans forward and, relative to other European countries, is willing to use force. If you ask them, they would say they were against Iraq because it was stupid, not because they’re against war,” said Jeremy Shapiro, a visiting fellow in the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution and a former State Department adviser for European affairs.