Ah, France, the land of the Gauls — the land of perpetual gall.
This past weekend, French President Emanuelle Macron publicly chastised American President Donald Trump at an international ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Macron took care to redefine, as has the American left, the term nationalism. Macron argued that patriotism and nationalism are opposites, notwithstanding that in English they are synonyms. Macron described nationalism as evil, patriotism as good.
Especially coming from a France whose anger in a stunningly quick lost war against Germany in the 1870s led it to facilitate WWI. Americans bailed them out; we lost only 117K doughboys.
Especially coming from a France that demanded ridiculous reparations from Germany that led to the rise of Hitler, the Axis power and another 406K American deaths when we bailed them out again. Hitler conquered mighty France in just six weeks.
Especially from a France that got tossed from Vietnam in the 1950s, leading America to back the wrong side, thus leading to another 56K American deaths in our own Vietnamese war.
Especially from a France who pulled its troops out of NATO in 1966, threw out Americans stationed in France, but stayed on as a quasi-member of NATO in the face of an ongoing and serious threat from the Soviet Union’s Warsaw Pact thru 1990. A Soviet Union that came about in the wake of the worldwide chaos caused by France’s WWI. Plus, America kept paying most of NATO’s invoices.
Especially from a France that, once free of the Soviet threat, led the development of the European Union as a proposed economic competitor to the United States — but that has instead led to little more than French and German workers subsidizing the fiscally feckless European nations that line the Mediterranean Sea.
Of course, Macron — in his fit of pique at an American president who refuses to kowtow to our “betters” in Europe — proposed the EU start-up its own multi-national military force as a counter to America, Russia, and China. It must be hard for diplomats around the world to stifle their laughter.
If being an American nationalist in the eyes of Macron means that France begins pulling its weight in NATO, we need more nationalists on our side of the pond. A question worth considering is why did it take a Donald Trump to bring this about? Perhaps because Trump isn’t polluted by being a lifelong politician — and instead sees that being an American patriot sometimes means one must be what Macron considers an evil nationalist. A nationalist who is not cowed by the gall of the Gauls.