The RAF is using two transport aircraft to assist the French in moving troops to Mali to fight insurgents. We are assured by the government that no UK ground troops will be involved, although it has subsequently became clear that some RAF ground crew will be deployed to facilitate the flights. Thus the escalation of our involvement begins; the ground crews will need accommodation and supplies, then they will need defending against the insurgents, and then as "attack is the best means of defence" combat troops could be deployed.
Now, it happens that I believe that the French are doing the right thing, they are. after all, the ex-colonial power, and have some moral responsibility in the area. But why should we get involved as this will only give the extremists further cause to hate this country? Haven't we learnt anything from our involvement in Afghanistan? How long will it be before we are bringing back the bodies of British Servicemen from Mali as well as Afghanistan?
One might also ask why the French didn't ask the US for assistance. Soon after Obama was originally elected he made it clear the the "special relationship" with Britain was no longer important and that he considered the French to be his main ally in Europe. Surely the US would rush to assist their best friend, especially as it would help to hold back the cause of militant Islamism.
I also wonder what help we would get from the French if push becomes shove over the Falklands - would they be prepared to assist us with any naval vessels?