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24.10.2013 Author: Vladimir Odintsov

France and USA: Good Old Frienemies?

surveillance-chandelier-1-500x333 (1)The latest events show that despite all the steps that Paris took in order to satisfy all the demands of the “Big Brother” and pledge its allegiance to it’s long-time “ally”, Washington keeps on treating France and its people with a certain amount of indulgence and condescension. While Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande were hoping to get a privileged position among the US satellites, it’s now obvious that France is regarded to be nothing more than a puppet by the arrogant policy makers in the White House. There’s not a glimpse of trust towards the French leaders to be found anywhere in Washington.

And seemed to be working well for a while, once Jacques Chirac took the office back in 1995, Paris became the most favored ally of the U.S. Chrirac really tried to rearrange the bilateral relationships but at the same time he made an attempt at preserving the heritage of Charles de Gaulle. But after a number of talks with the U.S. top officials he had to sacrifice the better part of this heritage. France started to participate in the NATO activities more and more often. Once this transformation started, Paris was eager to support the U.S. military interventions in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, the ambitious of the Great French state were all but forgotten.

His successor Nicolas Sarkozy made pretty much everything he could to get France involved in the anti-Gaddafi military campaign in Lybia. Even though he made it for his own profit this fact doesn’t change anything.

Finally, Francois Hollande was so eager to please Washington that he decided to derail all the international laws by denying the Bolivian FAB-001 carrying 80th President of Bolivia Evo Morales on board entry into French airspace. To please its western “friends” even further Francois Hollande decided to embark on the trip of blaming Bashar al-Assad for alleged usage of chemical weapons (with no evidence to back up those claims whatsoever). Later on on August 31 Paris reported to the U.S. authorities that it’s ready to strike Syria. All the French air forces were raised on alert, but the White House didn’t even bother to inform its old-time ally that a change of plans occurred. So France found itself in a rather delicate position.

The latest scandal with the U.S. secret services spying on most any French citizen (french officials included) despite all the privacy laws and regulations that are treated very seriously in Europe is yet another prove of the disregarding attitude the U.S. have towards France and its people.

You may call the American-French relationships a classical case of “frenemies”case since they have always had too many bumps and contraventions. Those countries have never been actual friends or actual enemies, but at the same time they have always been allies. Today the future of these relationships remains unclear and uncertain.

It’s for the French people to decide what should they do in this situation -should they urge their leaders to return to the Charles de Gaulle policy of independence from the United States or should they continue to exercise their unconditional support of Washington. And should the proud words of  “La Marseillaise” the French National Anthem remain mere words or they would remind the French about the proud traditions of their ancestors.

Vladimir Odintsov, political commentator, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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