Was President Obama's administration correct to refer to France as The U.S.'s oldest ally?  And does this not contrast with references to "New" and "Old" Europe made under his predecessor's term of office?

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France stood with the colonies during the American Revolution, so, in that context, he is correct.

I am in complete agreement there, even if French support took some time to materialise.  But I was also thinking about the conflicts which preceded the Revolution, which were used by the British as a justification for raising taxation in the North American Colonies.  And I find it interesting that there was a lot of positive support in the UK for the fledgling democracy.  

Your independence was established by the Treaty of Paris in 1783.  One of the reasons why the war was fought was the principle of no taxation without representation.  My home city of Manchester, which was the second city in the UK by 1800, had to wait until 1832 it was given representation in Parliament.  It also had to endure much suffering and repression in the years following the Napoleonic wars, most notably the Peterloo Massacre.

I shouldn't be in this discussion.  While, on the whole, I approve of the American fight for freedom, I hate the French revolution which brought out the bestiality of the mob rule.

I also have reservations about democracy and elections. Swift pointed out the shortcomings of elections that are "bought". He asked why a man would want to run for office in the first place. Was he doing it for the rewards that were sure to follow? In this country we have lobbies to bribe elected officials, and wealthy contributors who control the amount of money that is spent to get a man into office in the first place.  The whole process is venal. All of our politicians are wealthy men.

Americans don't always regard France as a good friend to this country.  They do think of the UK as their most loyal ally.

I should stay away from political discussions--my views are very unpopular in today's circumstances. But I had to second everything I. J. Said.

The U.S.Is completely self serving in whomever it declares an ally, old or new. The elites will dump any country that doesn't toe the U.S. Line.

"America's oldest ally," today; "Boycott French fries," yesterday.

Jed, you picked up on exactly what I meant to convey when I said he was right to call France our oldest ally, "in that context." That could change tomorrow if they disagree with us, as seems to be the norm in American foreign policy.

Yes, France is our oldest ally because of its help in the revolution, as Dana stated. But since, the U.K. has been our closest ally, especially manifested in NATO, SEATO and ANZUS from post WWII. But let us not also forget our neighbor to the north, Canada, a Commonwealth member who poses a special relationship if for no other reason than shared history, culture and geographic proximity. An assault on one would be considered an assault on the other, though each might--especially us here in the U,S,A, as with Viet Nam--might stray off the mutually beneficial course from time to time. And here we go again with this Syria B.S. God help us.

Amen both to Canada and the Syria problem.

Or maybe France is our earliest but not oldest ally. We're their ally. Not so sure they're ours. The relationship seems capricious.

France capricious... ha ha.

I've been doing a lot of research lately on the draft dodger community in Canada during the Vietnam war. And right away I learned that the term, "draft dodger," isn't very popular. War resister is preferred, I think. Anyway, it's a situation that shows (or showed) how countries can remain allies while not agreeing on everything. Canada never had a peacetime draft (and even conscription in WWII was a divisive issue) so Americans coming here weren't asked about their draft status at the border. It does seem like a topic that hasn't been written about too much and is still very emotional for a lot people.

So, I'll use it in a book and forget any US sales (Dan, this may belong in your 'Why we write,' thread - definitely not for fortune, ha ha).

I think we agree, John, but one dodges the draft for any number of reasons, resisting the war just one of them. Some folks just didn't want their lives disrupted by a war in a place they never heard of, especially since the survival of the nation wasn't even a remote issue. The war was not the kind to test the patriotism of the citizenry, anyway. It was all about our country's subscription to the Kenan approach to stopping the "domino effect" of spreading communism, adopted after WWII by Truman, something many folks still disagree about. The only reason we became engaged, even could have become engaged, in Viet Nam was that our government was a creator and signer of the SEATO, which required member nations to come to the aid of any of its member nations requesting assistance when threatened by an adversarial force, foreign or domestic, re the Viet Cong & NVA. 

As a former marine who served during the time in the Far East, though not in VN, I have never felt any animosity toward any citizen who refused to serve in Viet Nam or to surrender to the draft during the period. I figured my decision was on me, not someone else. (Jane Fonda might be another thing). My favorite political science professor spent the entire war in Montreal and was not a criminal nor less an American than I. And after service, when in college on the G.I. Bill, a younger student, 19, who was in my English class, refused his draft notice and had the strength of his convictions to stand before a federal judge in Norfolk and accept a sentence of five years(served 15 months) rather than serve with the possibility of going to Viet Nam. That took courage.

Ironically, I and a buddy had drinks one night in Yokohama with an American(U.S.A.) who was an arms trader dealing with a Canadian firm for the sale of American-produced armaments to the North Vietnamese, all legal in all three countries. Now that was an eye opener.


Don't forget the phony Gulf of Tonkin Incident and Resolution which were used to deceive Congress and the US people into backing what turned out to be the greatest military defeat in American History.

And here we go again.



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