So Do France and the U.S. Really Have Such a Special Relationship?

Daily Mail (London), August 31, 2013 | Go to article overview

So Do France and the U.S. Really Have Such a Special Relationship?


Byline: From Tom Leonard in New York

Publisher Notice: AN ARTICLE in Saturday's paper said that General De Gaulle and his Free French troops refused to take part in the Normandy landings during the Second World War. In fact Free French combatants were among the Allied forces on D -Day.

THERE are historical allies and there are strong allies, and John Kerry may have confused the two yesterday when he hailed France as America's oldest friend.

It was supposed to be a calculated snub to Britain, of course.

With a few exceptions, in the past 100 years it's become a rule of thumb that America no longer goes to war without Britain at its side.

So the UK's failure to follow the US into action over Syria inevitably stung in Washington, prompting Mr Kerry to cosy up to France.

But in reality Americans tend to mistrust the French even more than the British do. Famously, Americans refer to them as 'cheese-eating surrender monkeys'. And Frenchspeaking Mr Kerry was mocked for his Francophilia during the 2004 presidential race.

The relationship had started well. French troops and ships under the Marquis de Lafayette provided crucial help during America's war of independence from Britain.

Links were strengthened by Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, who lived in Paris as US ambassador.

But the friendship crumpled when Napoleon took power and resented America's treatymaking with Britain. By 1798 a state of undeclared war existed

between the two former allies. …

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