Voici le compte compte-rendu par le Irish Times de ma conférence au cercle interallié du lundi 24 février 2020, intitulée » Peut-on encore compter sur nos alliés américains ? »
On a weekday evening, members of the French establishment queued to enter the Cercle Interallié, one of the most exclusive clubs in Paris, to hear Renaud Girard, an editorial writer for the conservative daily Le Figaro, address the question: “Can we still count on our US allies?”
There was standing room only in the upstairs salon, which was replete with tapestries, crystal chandeliers and gilt mouldings. France’s alliance with the US dates back to their respective 18th-century revolutions, but like all great love affairs it has had its ups and downs. Now the French observe the presidency of Donald J Trump with a mixture of fascination and revulsion.
Americans have short memories. The French forget nothing. Girard began with an image of American doughboys who had just saved France, in the garden outside, at the end of the first World War. “In our minds, the alliance with the US dates from this period,” he said.
“The Americans have been, are and will remain our friends.”
But a formal alliance was something different. Girard recounted Trump’s abrupt abandonment of the US’s Syrian Kurdish allies last October, after the Kurds lost 11,000 men and women fighting Islamic State. “Trump said the Kurds hadn’t participated in the 1944 Normandy landings. We already knew that.” The audience groaned.
It wasn’t the first time the US left allies in the lurch, Girard continued, referencing desperate Vietnamese scrambling onto a helicopter atop the US embassy in Saigon in 1975. The US abandonment of South Vietnam led to “the fall of Phnom Penh, the Cambodian genocide, the Communist takeover and the boat people”, he added.
History repeating itself
History kept repeating itself. Domestic policy dictated US foreign policy. The Americans believed their laws trumped (!) international law. The US Congress failed to ratify the Treaty of Versailles that ended the first World War. As a result, the US refused to stop German rearmament in the 1930s and France lacked the courage to go it alone on the issue.