I’ve spent ages trying to learn French, only managed to remember; ‘je ne parle pas Francis, je parlez vous Anglaise tre bien.’
Which is a polite way to ask a Frenchman to speak English, and I’ve probably spelled it wrong too.
But it’s something that we, as the Anglosphere, must learn to do.
Because too often in our strategic considerations, the allies have forgotten to.
Even Canada, with it’s bilingual traditions, has neglected to consider the interests, hopes and aspirations of our French brothers and sisters.
It’s a fallacy to think a nation where so many from our shores went to die wouldn’t regard us in all but the closest of terms.
Yet, still, like a stubborn anglo-celtic, we persist in neglecting France.
It’s a strategic blunder of collosal scale, for by doing so we are far weaker, yet all we need do is ask.
Because the time has nearly come when we need all the allies we can muster.
Paris, if asked, will answer the call.
France is nothing if not democratic, the modern day birthplace of liberty.
If you want to learn how to protest, go to Paris.
Freedom is her existential motive, which can’t be faulted.
Unless you’re an authoritarian dictator, or an extremist, these are values we should all believe in.
But too often, fear overcomes our tepid legislators and we’re met with laws designed to frighten us, stifle our voices and make us compliant.
France is there to remind us that freedom is sacrosanct.
So what are our common interests?
Pretty much everything.
Like their English speaking allies, France supports the liberal internationalist order that is currently under siege by a belligerent Russia and expansionist Beijing.
It helped build it.
In Syria and Iraq, President Macron has committed French forces in support of the US.
So too have the British.
In the South China Sea, the French Navy continues to defy Beijing with freedom of navigation operations.
And in North Africa, France has committed thousands of troops to deal with Islamic extremism.
Without us even asking, Paris is already committed and has already engaged.
So the question is, how can we work together to defend the free world in the face of these existential threats?
It’s simple, with France standing shoulder to shoulder, the allies are an unstoppable military industrial outfit that can defeat any enemy it faces. which at present is Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China.
Firstly, it’s important to both walk a fine line on Syria and seek a detente of sorts with Moscow.
Peace and a political solution to the conflict should be red lines for Paris, London and Washington.
It should be a nonnegotiable.
Failing that, a joint allied air campaign to neutralise Assad’s air force and sideline Russia should be actively considered.
Macron has already indicated he’d support one, so it’s a wonder what we’re waiting for?
France has the largest army in Europe, a formidable navy and a lethal air force.
It has also recently committed to increasing it’s defence budget by 40 per cent.
On the key issues troubling our capitals, Paris is already on board.
So let’s embrace the French, vive la France as they say, because once again it’s crunch time in the world.
The west needs to stop Russia and Iran from taking control of the Middle East, and China needs to be stopped from annexing international territory in the Pacific.
Neither of these issues can be dealt with by the anglosphere alone, it’s time London, Washington, Ottawa, Canberra and Wellington picked up the phone to Paris for a change.
What’s the bet that, without hesitation, whatever the plan, France is already on board.
It’s her liberal international order under threat as much as it is ours, so let’s defend it together.
Before the Syrian civil war turns into a regional conflict and China feels so emboldened by it’s military build up it does something stupid.
But we need to act soon, this inaction is getting us nowhere.
Freedom has a language, it’s French.
Let’s speak it.