Niger has huge deposits of uranium, and the largest uranium miner is Areva, a sprawling French energy conglomerate, in which the French government has a major interest. To what degree was France's dramatic intervention driven by France's own economic interests?
The disfavor for intervention among American politicians and the public is understandable and a good restraint. But occasionally making a stand against atrocity and extremism, particularly when it's in danger of spreading, is a worthy goal for a great power. Mali just might be the place.
The risks of France's vague, open-ended venture -- which the U.S. has already indicated it will support -- are already being debated. What I find particularly ironic is that the country that has probably most to gain from the intervention is China.