Saturday, November 14, 2015

Clarification about France as “America’s” Oldest Ally

United States President Barack Obama referred to France 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.”

In fact, France 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.

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