Friday, September 15, 2006

The Franco-American Disconnect

This past Tuesday in one of my hurried moments I put up a link to Super Frenchie's post on Nicolas Sarkozy's recent interview with Le Monde and promised that I would soon post a piece, on Franco-American relations. Well, I still am. But, I just haven't had the time to do it yet. (Help me, platoon. I am a dying cockroach.)

You see, I have a significant number of French readers (probably about a third) and whatever post I put up, will most likely be subjected to some pretty close scrutiny (and I welcome it), so it won't pay to half-do it. What credibility I have (if any at all), will all be neutralized with one failing effort, if I foul this up.

But seriously, that's not the only reason that I want to get it right. I want to do it justice because, I see two countries that:

1. Have never been openly hostile to one and another.

2. Have never been in a war against each other.

3. Have been in three wars together as much needed and appreciated allies. (Once, as allies in the American Revolution; twice with Britain, to free the European continent of imperialist war machines.)

4. Have nitpicked each other to death over stuff that sometimes doesn't mean a thing, in between those instances of allied partnership.

The first three items I listed, I can understand quite well. America needs France, France needs America, and that can only mean that we need each other. But despite that bit of poignancy, somewhere in the midst of it all, there lies a certain disconnect that doesn't get explained adequately. And sometimes, when attempts are made to do so, the connection sometimes fails.

So because this is such a complex subject, I believe it will take more than one post. Therefore, I will need to look at this from some very different angles. I want to look at the similarities as well as, the differences. I want to attempt to explain and clarify some common misconceptions from the American point of view and want to give both my French and American (or any other nationality, for that matter) readers an opportunity to object, correct, clarify, and/or qualify whatever content I present and tell us all what their perspective is. I welcome the close examination and the comments.

If it goes well and looks to be enlightening, educational, and productive, I will probably make it a recurring series from time to time, when the time is right. Right now, I have enough to write three different posts from three different areas of focus. And from there, who knows? Maybe more will come as things gets going. I know that with the French elections coming up next year, there will be no shortage of material.

Another idea I have, is an occasional guest poster on the subject, from either side of the pond. If anyone is interested, let me know. If you have your own blog, you can post it to your blog and I will link to it; if you don't have one, I can post it here for you (whatever floats your boat is okay with me).

So anyway, now that I have turned an intended piece of informational housekeeping into a shameless piece of self-promotion, I will say that I hope to have part one of "The Franco-American Disconnect" up and running, by the weekend. In the meantime while I am waiting to complete the first post, I may throw up a few "off-the-cuff" posts like I am accustomed to doing, when I am pressed for time (which is almost always, anymore).

But most importantly, as always, thanks for reading PYY.


superfrenchie said...

We'll be reading (and nitpicking... ;) )

A.C. said...

I'd also be interested in hearing Super Frenchie's take on AQ's recent announcement they were joining forces with GSPC to wreak havoc, despite their best efforts to not offend.

But I realize it's not really in context with your post, per se.

superfrenchie said...

a.c.: //I'd also be interested in hearing Super Frenchie's take on AQ's recent announcement they were joining forces with GSPC to wreak havoc, despite their best efforts to not offend.//

You would have to expand on what you mean.

France has been aggressively fighting terrorism since 1995 (Paris metro bombings, 8 dead, 80 injured), recently convicted the authors of the Eiffel Tower airplane plot, has forbidden wearing the veil in public schools for the last 2 years, had 4,000 soldiers in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom (second largest contingent after the US), still has about 2,000 soldiers over there, is sending 2,000 troops to Lebanon including Leclerc tanks (the most powerful armor ever deployed by a U.N. peacekeeping force) in addition to the 1,700 that it already has offshore over there, is currently commanding that force, and is the sponsor or co-sponsor of pretty much every resolution against Iran or Syria in the last 3 years.

What exactly are those "best efforts not to offend"?

(Don't tell me Iraq, we're talking AQ and islamic terrorism)

You may be confusing with the UK (google Rachid Ramda to see how the UK tried to appease the Islamists for 10 years, until they finally had to cough him up after they were attacked last year)

LASunsett said...


//We'll be reading (and nitpicking... ;) )//

If I were sure of nothing else in the world, I would be damned sure that you will. ;)

LASunsett said...


//I'd also be interested in hearing Super Frenchie's take on AQ's recent announcement they were joining forces with GSPC to wreak havoc, despite their best efforts to not offend.//

Here is his post on this very subject.

Read the comments, if you have the time. There are many. Some are quite humorous, some are informative, others can be a bit choleric. But overall, it will give you feel of the situation.

A.C. said...

LA, thanks. Read most of Frenchie's comments section. I'd like to propose the following--IF the report from the Weekly Standard was correct about GSPC terrorists training at Salmon Pak, which was supposedly confirmed by US govt officials, then France should have had reason in helping us remove Saddam based on their age-old battle with GIS/GSPC.

Based on the above it would appear the OFFP and Total oil interests in Iraq weighed heavier on Chirac's decision.

Another less inflamatory reason AQ might have announced their alignment with GSPC involves that NATO force you speak of. The commanders on the ground have been calling for more troops, and this could be a threat to pressure France into ignoring the call.