Sunday, November 21, 2004
Straining at the Bits
Strain....some of American-French strain goes back to the 1700s. But here is a summary of the post-WWII French-American relations. Something we should consider in our foreign policy in the future.
Did French-American relations become strained because of Iraq? Hardly. In World War II, some of the first combat Americans faced in the European war was against French troops fighting for the Vichy regime in North Africa. In 1956, the U.S. found itself on the opposite side from France (and Britain) during the Suez crisis. In 1966, France removed itself from the military arm of NATO, meaning that France has not been a military ally of the United States for nearly 40 years. In 1980, French President Valery Giscard d’Estang infuriated Jimmy Carter when he met secretly with Soviet dictator Leonid Brezhnev to discuss ways around Carter’s post-Afghanistan anti-Soviet toughness. In 1986, American pilots on their way to bomb Libya in retaliation for a terrorist attack were put at risk when France refused to allow them to fly over French territory. Throughout the 1990s, French leaders portrayed the European Union as a conscious counterweight to America. In 1999, France opposed Bill Clinton’s war in Kosovo.