If France decides to join the United States in a strike against Syria, it would be the first time American and French forces have conducted a joint military operation since the Siege of Yorktown at the end of the American Revolutionary War.
France and the U.S. have had their famous disagreements over military action, most notably the Iraq war and France’s decision to leave Afghanistan before NATO and U.S. troops planned their drawdown. The two countries have also had some near-misses on joint operations. For example, in 1954, U.S. forces proposed an operation that would have saved French forces in the Battle of Dein Bien Phu against Communist militants in Vietnam. American planes would have taken off from bases in the Philippines. But the political risks of getting involved in the fight were too much for President Eisenhower, and he nixed the operation, called Operation Vulture.
Indeed, the United States and France have been allies in different conflicts throughout history. But the two nations have not gone after a target alone together since the War of Independence. And it just so happens to have been at the final decisive victory at Yorktown, Va.
France came to the side of the Americans during the Revolutionary War following the colonials’ victory at Saratoga. The French, attempting to become the military power of Europe over Britain, signed the Treaty of Alliance in 1778, ushered through by Benjamin Franklin.
The French navy became a vital asset to the Americans in the fight against the British toward the end of the Revolution. Under the leadership of Comte de Grasse, the French defeated a British fleet in the Battle of the Chesapeake in 1781, giving Franco-Anglo ground forces an advantage going into the Siege of Yorktown.
Those forces, after uniting in New York City during the summer of 1781, headed down to Virginia and met the British for battle at Yorktown. The Americans, led by Gen. George Washington, and the French, led by Comte de Rochambeau, totaling near 19,000 troops, overcame the 9,000 British soldiers.
Following the battle, the British surrendered to American and French forces. Lord Cornwallis, the British commander, famously “became ill” and did not attend the surrender ceremony, handing the task to one of his aides. The Treaty of Paris came two years later in 1783, ending the Revolutionary War.
And, interestingly, this was the last joint operation between these two peoples, although the United States and France have conducted several joint military practice operations in recent years.
What We're Following See More »
Following their meeting, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, briefly addressed the media, with Peña Nieto subtly rebuking Trump's rhetoric. While he spoke respectfully about Trump, Peña Nieto did not back down, saying that free trade has proved effective and that illegal immigration into America from the south has decreased over the last ten years while the flow of people and drugs into Mexico has increased. Additionally, he stressed that Mexicans in America are "honest" and "deserve respect." Trump responded, calling some Mexicans "tremendous people" while saying others are "beyond reproach." Trump laid out five important issues, including the end of illegal immigration and the ability for either country to build a wall or border. However, Trump said he did not discuss who would pay for the wall.
A divided Supreme Court "refused Wednesday to reinstate North Carolina’s voter identification requirement and keep just 10 days of early in-person voting. The court rejected a request by Gov. Pat McCrory and other state officials to delay a lower court ruling that found the state law was tainted by racial discrimination."
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said Monday he'd now be willing to hold a hearing on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in a lame-duck session of Congress. While he said he wouldn't push for it, he said if "Hillary Clinton wins the White House, and a majority of senators convinced him to do so," he would soften his previous opposition.