How Strained Are France-U.S. Relations?

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June 5 (Bloomberg) –- American University of Paris Professor Hall Gardner discusses the politics of business and the strained relations between France and the U.S. over their stands on Russia. He speaks to Anna Edwards on Bloomberg Television’s “Countdown.” (Source: Bloomberg)


Thank you very much for joining us.

Give us your assessment then on how strained relationships are at the moment.

We have given a number of examples from the business world where those tensions have flared up.

How bad are tensions between france and the u.s.? i would say the biggest issue between the two right now in the military standpoint is the sale of the amphibious warship to russia.

This came a few years ago where the french selling an advanced amphibious warship that could have been used in the russia-georgia war, for example.

Even though russians promised this will be deployed in the far east, chances are it could be redeployed in the black sea in the near future.

The u.s. has attempted to pressure the french not to go on with the sale and also even the u.s. congress has asked nato to pay france for the warships in order to prevent them from being delivered to russia.

Were we have seen tensions stained between the two countries in the past, professor, in particular, i'm thinking over the iraq war.

Give us some historical context then on the level of tension that we're seeing across the atlantic here?

I think the iraq war was the biggest statement by france and germany too against u.s. intervention in iraq, but even the russia/georgia war where before that france and germany combined the opposed a membership action plan for georgia, i think that upset the americans, who wanted for the most part a membership action plan and that was another franco/german combination that combined against american interests in expanding nato.

Another issue is the fact that europe in general was about 30% dependent on russian gas and oil and that makes the europeans less -- more reluctant to engage in sanctions against russia in the current crimean crisis.

President obama of course as we said is going to be meeting with president hollande.

He is also going to be attending the 70-year commemoration events surrounding 70 years since the d-day landings during the second world war.

Of course president putin will be there as well.

A lot of speculation and talk about whether there will be some informal conversation between the two.

Are you expecting any progress in the relations between these two countries as a result of these meetings?

Well, i would hope -- the irony is at least temporary suspended russia from the g-7 but yet they all want to meet with putin anyway.

These separate meetings -- they could see what putin said to each one of them and then determine what kind of policy can be determined.

Putin made positive steps that he wants to meet with president obama.

Putin is going to be suffering from these sanctions.

There is already $50 billion to $70 billion in capital flight.

There are already moves to expand energy production in the u.s. so they can meet european demand.

Europe can look to countries like qatar, libya, algeria for natural gas in order to get itself less dependent on russian gas.

Putin has to come up with something in order to prevent his economy from further collapsing and further -- it is already going into a slight downfall and chances are that it will continue on if sanctions become stronger.

Of course professor, the 70-year commemorations around d-day, they take us back to a time where russia and the u.s. were on the same side.

Do you think these events commemorating 70 years since d-day will do anything to decrease or increase tensions around ukraine?

Does that long lens of history help at all?

It is quite ironic, because both sides on the ukraine, the ukraines are calling the russians fascists and the russians are calling the ukrainian fascists.

If you go back to that time period, where the nazis entered the ukraine, they first welcomed them and then once the nazis took control, they said they wanted to nazis out and joined forces with the soviets.

That narrative has to be looked at carefully.

There are groups which have at least historic tice fascism or at least claim that.

Now on the other hand, russia has been seen as an oppressor in the ukraine and therefore this is fueling ukrainian demands for independence and a greater independence for moscow.

Now on the relationship between france and the united states, that was -- -- roosevelt never trusted de gaulle.

He thoukt he could be a dictator and -- thought he could be a dictator and did not want to liberate paris as soon as de gaulle did.

If you go back to history, you can bring up more dirt that will cause more frigs.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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