Thursday, June 26, 2003

Steven Den Beste notes that any debt we may owe to France from the American Revolution has long been paid, after both World Wars. I've noticed many people talking about this supposed debt we owe France, usually in response to someone talking about the debt they owe us from WWII. It's usually accompanied by a snide comment, as in "You don't know much about history, do you? If it wasn't for France, we would be a part of the UK!"

I've actually never expected France to show much, if any, gratitude for our actions in WWII. That war ended more than 20 years before I was born, and in fact before the vast majority of either country's populations were born. It's been almost 60 years from France's liberation, and people just don't think that way. This line of reasoning is, of course, even stronger with regard to a 200+ year old 'debt'.

What makes the case for any US debt to France completely nonsensical, however, is related to another point Den Beste raised in a later post . Any debt we may owe is to the French monarchy, not to the heirs of it's opponents. If you want to talk about debts from the American Revolution, there is actually a far stronger case to be made that it is the French Republic who owes the US.

Our revolution was their inspiration, we began the series of revolutions which swept away the old monarchies.

We provided the proof that other forms of government, which gave power to a much broader range of people, were viable.

We weakened the French Monarchy by draining soldiers and funds.

I just don't understand why anyone would believe that we owe France anything. The closest equivalent I can think of (and it's really not that close), is to say that Communist China owes Russia for the support Mao received from the USSR.

Anyway, this talk of historical debts is really much ado about nothing. As I stated earlier, I don't expect anyone from either country to let this history influence them much one way or another. What I DO expect, is for someone who claims to be an ally to act like one. And if they fail to do so, then I will modify my actions accordingly. When a country's actions contradict their words, I know which to give credence to.

France is no ally of ours, and they are fast approaching enemy status as far as I am concerned.