Why France and the US Don’t Get Along, Research Paper Example
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France and the US Revolutionary War
Despite its economic problems, France exploited the American Revolutionary War to destabilize Britain, its main enemy and competitor in European and world business. Sovereignty of the North American colonies would gravely injure Great Britain and originate the United States of America, a major power that could possibly have friendly relationship with France. However, the French administration was devastated by debt management, as far as aiding the United States in the war led to a financial disaster, which gave an instant chance for the forces that ruined the country’s social and political stability to be let loose. The case of the American Revolutionary War and the American Revolution became added to the list of the factors contributing to the revolution in France.
Though the idea of Republican thoughts to have been spread from France to the United States is widely used, there is sound evidence that the United States of America is the building stone of Republicanism. Republican concepts flourished in America while France moaned under an oppressive monarchy of Bourbons introducing private property and enforcing arbitrary measures. Undoubtedly, the French respected their Republican principles more by violence by performance and legitimacy.
World War I and World War II
United States in WWI
The United States was ill-equipped and unready to enter the First World War. When conflict broke out in Europe in 1914, President Wilson announced the neutrality of America. The situation on the Western Front grew worse with mutinies spreading throughout the French Armed Forces, increasing the fear of its collapse. In Great Britain, the German’s amplification of submarine war was so victorious that predictions anticipated Britain’s breakdown within a couple of months. However, “on April 6 1917, in response to the German policy of unrestricted U-boat warfare, America declared war on Germany” (The USA in WWI). Even though the American involvement in the conflict was significant, considerable numbers of American soldiers reached Europe only in 1918.
United States in WWII
The United States of America showed more effort in the Second World War. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, America declared war on Japan and three days later the United States turned out to be entirely absorbed by the Second World War. America’s participation in the Second World War was rapidly followed by an immense recruitment attempt. Nevertheless, the American participation was not influenced only by the comrade feelings towards France and Great Britain. The entrance into the conflict aided to revitalize the nation’s economy after the financial recession.
Post World War II Events
Although committed to the treaty of friendship signed between the Soviet Union and the government of France, the Stalin’s opinion regarding the contribution of France to the war affairs could not be changed. As a result France was excluded from the summit and played little role in the postwar control of Germany. However, according to the decision of the summit, France was still allotted a zone of occupation, primarily due to the Stalin’s interest of taking this territory out of the British and American hands. Stalin’s decision was based on the idea that France had opened the gate to the enemy, therefore, could not be granted a seat in the alliance having contributed less to the war cause.
The first war conference between the Allied powers was held in Morocco, in 1943. With Stalin unable to arrive at the meeting, Churchill and Roosevelt set foundation and direction for the rest of the conflict. The meeting was also the first occasion, when the two separate French leaders, de Gaulle and Giraud, were joined. De Gaulle at first refused to join the meeting and only after Churchill himself warned de Gaulle of the possibility to remove support from his French administration did de Gaulle agreed to arrive to Morocco.
Introducing a new currency
Roosevelt’s frequent rejections of France, particularly de Gaulle, including its exclusion from the Yalta Summit, forcing de Gaulle to get together in Casablanca, and planning to establish a new French currency without French agreement increased the separation.
US foreign policies towards France
“In the 1950s, bilateral frictions revolved around America’s refusal to support France’s efforts to protect its colonial interests, despite French claims–very similar to American claims in subsequent decades–that their global policies provided a foundation of world order and Western security” (Gordon). In Indochina, refusing to put American troops at risk, America let the final French garrison in the area to be destroyed, despite the fact that it offered considerable military support to the French for a couple of years. At Suez, the president of the United States openly resisted the French intervention and destabilized it through the exploitation of financial markets. The situation at Suez demonstrated a defining moment in the way France pictured its relations with America.
French veto power in the UN
Franklin D. Roosevelt made a significant compromise while creating the UN, which involved France. Roosevelt, who totally disbelieved the head of the Free French Charles de Gaulle, at last fell under the Soviet and British pressure for a French position in the Security Council, although France had not been a key helper during the Second World War having surrendered to Germany in the beginning of the conflict.
France-US conflicts post WWII
Eisenhower and French intervention at Suez
In 1956 Dwight Eisenhower was the president of the United States, thus he was concerned about the developing relations between Soviet Union and Egypt. Consequently, he refused to finance the building of the Aswan Dam, which led to the nationalization of Suez Canal. Major shareowners, like France and Great Britain, were promised reimbursements. Consequently, Britain and France decided to attack Egypt, for they feared Egypt was trying to cut off oil supplies to Europe. Eisenhower then criticized France for Egyptian invasion and with the help of United Nations made France, Britain, and Israel withdraw from Egypt. Thus France did not get any compensation for its share in the Suez Canal.
French nuclear power and De Gaulle
General De Gaulle was the president of the French Fifth Republic in 1960s. In the year 1960, France acquired a nuclear weapon, becoming the fourth country with nuclear arsenal. After Kennedy’s assassination U.S. reinforced the integration of NATO with the doctrine of graduated response, which was not accepted by De Gaulle. Therefore, in 1966 France withdrew from integrated military organization, but remained in the Atlantic Council. Thus, French did not want to further assist NATO in their military actions, which was a strong blow on their fighting efficiency.
U.S. positions in Vietnam
In 1945, President Truman approved France to resume its colonial authority in Indochina and Vietnam in particular. However, France did not succeed in establishing their rule, because they faced a war for independence. United States was aiding France in its struggle in Vietnam, for it was afraid of the communism spread. After another defeat of French troops at Dienbienphu, the Congress demanded France to declare independency of Indochina, which they would not do. Therefore, U.S. did not sign the Geneva agreement and invaded Vietnam, thus not letting France to gain its authority.
U.S. foreign policy with Russia
The United States and Russia has always maintained tension tense relationships, especially in the terms of foreign policy. It draws back to the emergence of Soviet Union and communism, for United States was strongly opposing the development of communism, like in the Vietnam War. Currently, the U.S. has pushed hard for political and economic changes in Russia, when Russia stands up at what they perceive as interference in internal affairs. The United States has invited couple former Soviet countries to NATO, to form potential Russian opposition. Moreover, both of them clashed on how to arrange the final status of Kosovo and how to handle Iran’s efforts to gain nuclear power. Another conflict of U.S. and Russian foreign relations was depicted in the conflict in Georgia.
U.S. and UN conflict over Iraq
The conflict between United States and United Nations over Iraq arouse in 2002 and 2003. U.S. President George Bush claimed that Iraq, in the face of Saddam Hussein, had not accomplished its responsibilities, which emerged after the end of the Gulf War, to give up all the weapons of mass destruction and reject their use in the future. However, it was not proved by International Atomic Energy Agency that Iraq was still developing any kind of such weapons. United States neglected this fact, claiming that it was not a responsibility of UN to prove the disarmament of Iraq, but Iraq itself. Thus, in 2002, Iraq was given a chance to co-operate in disarmament by UN Security Council, which adopted the Resolution 1441 that gave Iraq a few months to respond. Consequently, in three months U.S. invaded Iraq and overthrew Hussein’s regime, claiming that this action was granted by Resolution 1441, since Iraq did not comply. On the other hand, France, Russia, and Germany stated that Resolution 1441 did not approve military actions against Iraq. French President Chirac claimed: “My position is that, regardless of the circumstances, France will vote “no” because she considers this evening that there are no grounds for waging war in order to achieve the goal we have set ourselves, i.e. to disarm Iraq.”(TV interview) On the other hand, Senator McCain stated that it was essential for the United States to provide extensive support to the Iraq government, thus he disagreed to withdraw U.S. troops from the country.
French power switch after WWII
After the economic crisis that occurred in France in 1930s, it lost much of its former international positions, thus their power plummeted as the word markets. However, it was still considered to be a powerful country. Furthermore, President Roosevelt was sure that WWII will remove France from the world stage of big powers, thus leaving Great Britain, USSR, and U.S. the last European world powers. As a result, Roosevelt opposed to General De Gaul gaining power right after the end of war, thus making it impossible for France to achieve former heights.
U.S. Unilateral Action
United States was accused to take Unilateral Action on Iraq, for Bush’s administration solely decided on the military actions in the country. However, French government, in the face of French President Jacques Chirac, claimed that U.S. is not authorized to unilaterally decide on Iraq, for this should be discussed by the United Nations Security Council. Consequently, United States was still implementing its policy in Iraq.
Vastly different foreign policy approaches
Both United States and France have different foreign policy approaches. It was clearly reflected in their attitude towards Iraq conflict. France was definitely opposing the American-led war in Iraq, thus criticizing the government for arrogance of the decision. Moreover, France opposed the war in Iran, but implemented rough sanctions against that country. On the other hand, United States relied on their military force, inclination for unilateral policy, and contempt for international opinion.
US – French cooperation
US and French military alliance in Kosovo
During military campaign in Kosovo there was certain disagreement between the US and French officials. Though both countries formed an alliance, France did not share politics of USA towards the regime of Slobodan Milosevic. According to the Washington Post, both England and USA approved warplanes attacks, while France remained skeptic about it. “France’s veto power was one of the unwritten codicils to Operation Plan 10601, the military blueprint for Operation Allied Force” (Priest)
Berlin and Cuban Missile Crisis in 1950s and 1960s
Being in NATO during 1950s France tried to expand its military force. In fact, during the times of Berlin crisis French government decided to limit geographical military coverage of NATO. General de Gaulle has ordered to withdraw French fleet from the command of NATO. Secondly, US nuclear weapons could no longer be located on the territory of the country. This was primarily made to show French military power. “The Berlin crisis in 1961 and then the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 provided General de Gaulle with an opportunity to assure President Kennedy that, in the event of war, France would fight alongside the USA.” (France and the world). Such politics, along with official meetings and agreements, has shown that France wants independence in its military actions.
Euromissile debate in the 1980´s
French government refused to participate in intermediate-range nuclear forces talks in Switzerland, which was a result of NATO’s attempts to upgrade INF. Francois Mitterrand rejected neutral ideas of German political parties to deploy ground-launched missiles. However, USA was interested in upgrading nuclear forces, as there was a threat to country’s security.
Bosnia and Yugoslavian War in the 1990´s
Both United States and France supported creation of new independent countries and tried to maintain peace in Yugoslavian area. For instance, the war ended by signing Dayton Peace record in France, on December 14, 1995. USA actively participated in restoration of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Several Serb leaders were accused by both the US and French tribunals. Though both countries had practically the same view on Bosnia and Yugoslavian War, US officials wanted to use military force on Serbs. In its turn, France was interested in the safety of peacekeepers and, therefore, supported diplomatic solutions of after-war matters.
Effects of increasing globalization
It is not a secret that USA is a strong supporter of globalization because it may benefit both the country itself and the economic conditions in the world. US officials are fighting for the new markets and trying to expand the existing ones. One the one hand, this will increase country’s wealth. On the other, poorer countries will have an opportunity to improve their economies. France had somewhat controversial politics towards globalization. However, after G8 summit in 2003, Franco-American relations were improved. With 34 companies operating worldwide, France held the second place (after the USA) in the list of the most developed countries.
France rejoining NATO military alliance
A new trend in development of good relations between France and USA is connected with the plans of French government to rejoin NATO military alliance. “Today, some analysts believe that chances of Paris rejoining NATO’s military wing are better than they have been for years. ” (Bryant) Some critics oppose this statement as France has severely opposed US intervention to Iraq. Nonetheless, the position of military forces in Europe remains unclear, until France decides either to rejoin or separate from NATO.
Obama & Sarkozy
Presidents Obama and Sarkozy have already discussed such issues as carrying peace to the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iraq, and military campaigns. In the press conference on June 25, 2008, both leaders emphasized the importance of collaboration and partnership of two countries. Obama stated that in development of security of US national borders country needs strong allies.
Biden At Munich
On the 45th Munich Conference on Security policy held on February 7, 2009, US officials highly welcomed the decision of France to cooperate fully with NATO structures. “In a recent discussion with President Sarkozy, President Obama underscored his strong support for France’s full participation in NATO, should France wish it.” (US Department of State) Both parties have expressed their willingness to build strong alliance.
The USA in WWI. 6 June 2009. < http://clevelode-battletours.com/Cantigny.aspx>.
Bryant, L. 2007. France Considers Rejoining NATO’s Military Wing. June 6, 2009. <http:/ /www.voanews.com/english/archive/2007-09/2007-09-24-voa9.cfmCFID=220596810&CFTOKEN=60402352&jsessionid=8830c0b48396c106a44639771b5849633b44>.
“Excerpts of TV interview by President Chirac to TF1 and France2.” 6 June, 2009. <http://www.david-morrison.org.uk/other-documents/chirac-20030310.htm >.
France and the world. 2009. De Gaulle and NATO. June 6, 2009. <http:/ /www.charles-de-gaulle.org/article.php3?id_article=181>.
Gordon, Philip H. The French Position. 15 Sep. 2000. 6 June 2009. <http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2751/is_2000_Fall/ai_65576873/pg_2/?tag=content;col1>.
Priest, D. 1999. France played skeptic on Kosovo attacks. Washington Post. June 6, 2009 <http:/ /www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/daily/sept99/airwar20.htm>.
US Department of State. 2009. Remarks by Biden at 45th Munich Conference on Security Policy. June 6, 2009. <http:/ /www.america.gov/st/texttransenglish/2009/February/20090209110808xjsnommis0.9254267.html>.
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