"Boycott France and Its companies," You Say! Why?
By Michael R. Losey, SPHR, CAE
Boycott France and its companies" you say! Why?
I am not French or a protester. I support the troops and our efforts in Iraq. But, without the French we would speak that funny "English" and paying a "tea tax."
After our Declaration of Independence and when our new nation sent our first ambassadors to Europe only France welcomed Ambassadors Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Adams and it was there that they lived for almost 10 years.
General Cornwallis was defeated, leading to a negotiated peace between the United States and England, after the French joined in our effort for freedom and assisted greatly with their navy when we had no navy.
When Napoleon needed cash, he gave us a great "friends and family" discount when we purchased the Louisiana Territory from France.
And let us not forget who gave the United States one of our most prized and visible symbols of freedom -- the Statue of Liberty.
In the first two years of World War I (1914-1916) the French lost hundreds of thousands of men and other casualties before we showed-up to lend them a hand in 1916.
The French took it on the chin again in World War II given their strategic and geographical proximity to Germany and Italy. The UK withdrew to its island barrier of defense and was not able to allocate scarce resources to the French defense, especially air power. The French nation was occupied, sometimes with terrible consequences. The French resisted the German occupation and did so for a longer period than we were even in the war.
The French, not the English, helped lead the Common Market concept and moved to allow old enemies, Germany and Italy, to join with Luxemburg, Belgium, the Netherlands and France to create in 1957 what has now grown to be the great democratic and economic model called the European Union.
The French fought a long fight in Vietnam before us. Then we fought there too. We shared in defeat.
Since 9/11 the French have helped us greatly in the fight on terrorism.
For the most part there are very few countries that share the values of freedom and enjoy such a longstanding relationship with the United States as France.
France was not the only nation that failed to support the United States at the United Nations. Germany and Russia also did not support the invasion of Iraq, and it was not because they wanted to capture an opportunity to get "back at the U.S." They too value and owe much to the United States. That makes their lack of support hurt even more and their dissent more loudly heard.
I don't hear anyone suggesting they are going to burn their Mercedes or Chrysler (which is now German-owned) in protest.
So let's be balanced. Only then can we build for tomorrow.
Michael R. Losey, SPHR, CAE, is a consultant, speaker and retired as president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article has been submitted for publication to a number of local newspapers.
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