Thursday, July 4, 2019

In Defense of Diplomacy with Despots

A great article, although I would never categorize Louis XVI as a despot. If he had been an actual despot, he would have stopped the French Revolution by force. From The National Review:
Without French assistance to the colonies during the American Revolution, the British would surely have won. From the French government’s decision to arm the rebels with shipments of Charleville muskets to the decisive intervention of the French navy at Yorktown, the American Revolution was to an undeniable extent a proxy war between two rival European monarchies. Regardless of how one characterizes this assistance, though, it was the result of the personal diplomacy of Benjamin Franklin at the court of Louis XVI. 
There is a certain tension to the notion that a newly formed republic made up almost entirely of Protestants that had just declared independence from a limited constitutional parliamentary monarchy would send its leading diplomatic figure to the capital of an absolute Catholic monarch to beg for assistance, but such was and such is the nature of international politics. Had it not been for Franklin’s willingness to engage with a government whose values were at odds with the one he hoped to form, there would have been no French recognition of the United States in 1777, no French fleet in 1781, and no United States today. (Read more.)

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