About France, and other good suggestions for worst alliances

My post on “America’s Worst Allies” stirred up a considerable response. Sadly, none of it was from Le Monde or the French embassy (or Citronelle or my local Renault dealership), complaining that I was being too hard on the French. That was half the fun of doing the whole thing. (Which is a way of ...

588615_090211_metro2.jpg
588615_090211_metro2.jpg

My post on "America's Worst Allies" stirred up a considerable response.

Sadly, none of it was from Le Monde or the French embassy (or Citronelle or my local Renault dealership), complaining that I was being too hard on the French. That was half the fun of doing the whole thing. (Which is a way of saying, as I thought I did in the piece, that I do not consider the chronic dysfunctionality of the U.S.-French relationship to be anything on a par with the other truly disastrous failed alliances that I cited. It was, as one observant reader noted, a tweak.)

My post on “America’s Worst Allies” stirred up a considerable response.

Sadly, none of it was from Le Monde or the French embassy (or Citronelle or my local Renault dealership), complaining that I was being too hard on the French. That was half the fun of doing the whole thing. (Which is a way of saying, as I thought I did in the piece, that I do not consider the chronic dysfunctionality of the U.S.-French relationship to be anything on a par with the other truly disastrous failed alliances that I cited. It was, as one observant reader noted, a tweak.)

There were many good suggestions about bad alliances, the best of the being Saudi Arabia. I should have included them in the main list. But part of the reason I ended up tweaking France was I started feeling a little bad that most of the relationships were in the Middle East. That said, it is striking to look at my list and your suggestions and to see just how many of the worst relationships America has are with the countries in that region. No wonder things are so difficult for us there.

Pedro Simões

David Rothkopf is visiting professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His latest book is The Great Questions of Tomorrow. He has been a longtime contributor to Foreign Policy and was CEO and editor of the FP Group from 2012 to May 2017. Twitter: @djrothkopf
Tag: France

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.