United States President Barack Obama referred to
as “our oldest ally.” This statement is
true only if the time before the U.S. is counted, going back to the
declaration of independence of the several American states. In other words, France
may be “ America’s” oldest
ally, but not the oldest ally of the “ United States.”
As the President of the
United States, Obama can only speak for the U.S. when using
the word “our.” Presidents cannot speak
on behalf of the several States, even collectively, apart from their federal
union, the “ United States.”
is the oldest enemy of the U.S.,
as the two fought the “Quasi War” on the high seas from the late Eighteenth to
the early Nineteenth Century, which was the first foreign war in U.S.
history. In addition, some French forces
resisted the Anglo-American liberation of North Africa
from the Axis Powers in 1942 during the Second World War. By the reasoning of isolationists, then, the U.S.
and France, “have been fighting” for centuries.
Of course, their reasoning is faulty, as the U.S. and France have been allies
since before the Axis collaborators, who did not represent the majority of
French or the legitimate allied French government, disgraced themselves. The point is that Franco-American relations
have been complex and have changed over time.
Americans will always be grateful for French aid during the American Revolution, but the French have only recently been acting like good allies in the War on Terrorism. May they continue to act like allies, as it is in both their and our best interest.