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One Can Always Depend Upon the French

Aside from sending millions of dollars in aid to Haiti, the U.S. has deployed thousands of troops to restore safety, accepted thousands of refugees into its own borders and, critically, established the rapid and competent leadership which keeps airports open, facilitates international logistics and allows massive relief efforts to execute.

In another world, this would be recognized as the behavior of a great and noble nation exhibiting compassion and courage in the face of tragedy. U.S. troops have already died while attempting to quell mob violence and national appeals for ever-greater aid increase by the day. America has shown the sort of leadership and selfless-sacrifice befitting the kingdom of heaven.

France, of course, will have none of it. Though international aid groups devoted to humanitarian assistance have expressed complete satisfaction with America's administration of relief efforts, the French, in full temper-tantrum mode because one of their flights carrying aid was prioritized below a U.S. flight carrying peace-keeping forces, has accused the U.S. of "occupying" Haiti.

Note that such language is not arbitrary. Haiti has been occupied by both the French and U.S. during the last century, so the accusation is intended to aggravate old wounds and incite resentment and suspicion among the Haitians (potentially exposing U.S. soldiers and aid workers to greater risk of violence).

Further, this is the sort of slander which European news outlets find irresistible. Rather than commending the U.S. and offering our example as a model of international charity and partnership, European news media is fostering resentment toward the U.S. by portraying America as an arrogant, bully nation hampering European aid efforts simply because we can.

When one ponders European prejudices against America, it would be prudent to remember the efforts of nations like France and episodes such as this. Nations, like people, possess a sort of character - America's character has been exhibited by our response to Haiti, and France's character has been exhibited by its response to America. 

UPDATE: "EU plays down talk of Haiti rift with US."

Categories > Foreign Affairs

Discussions - 3 Comments

Lately, when I read your posts, Justin, I bemoan the fact that there is not simply a "like" button at the bottom as there is on Facebook. You leave nothing else to say. Anyway, I "LIKE" . . . very much.

Julie, your compliments are not only the most gracious and welcome which I receive, but also the most unique and endearing! Thank you. Your kind sentiment is fully reciprocated.

"Nations, like people, possess a sort of character - America's character has been exhibited by our response to Haiti, and France's character has been exhibited by its response to America."

Yes, nations possess a sort of character, and apparently those characters are simplistic, one-dimensional, and black-and-white - and assessments of them tend to be self-serving in the extreme.

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