Opponents of Aid to Ukraine Should Watch Franklin

Here’s the plot-line: A world superpower, led by a ruler-for-life who does not tolerate dissent, invades a young sovereign nation, which at one time had been part of the superpower, with a large military force in order to restore the young nation to its sphere of influence. The young nation seeks the aid of another superpower in the world in order to fight off the invading force and to assert its claim to independence and freedom. This very well could describe the situation today among Ukraine, Russia, and the United States, but that’s also the scenario that unfolded 250 years ago when the United States proclaimed its independence from England and needed military assistance from France in order to fight back against the might of the British Empire. The new Apple TV+ series, Franklin, chronicles the effort by Benjamin Franklin (who is played superbly by Michael Douglas) to enlist the aid of France in our fight against King George, who invaded America with a vastly-superior army and navy to squash our quest for freedom and democracy. The Americans lacked everything — uniforms, muskets, artillery, ships — that they needed to fight off the British. Without Franklin’s diplomacy that persuaded the French to provide America with the means to defend itself, we never could have won the Revolutionary War, which lasted a long eight years from the firing of the first shots at Concord in April, 1775, to the Treaty of Paris in September, 1783. Prior to the French government formally declaring its alliance with the United States, French citizens who sympathized with the Americans, most notably the Marquis de Lafayette, defied their country’s official policy and fought with the Americans, providing both moral support to our army and highlighting the justice of our cause to everyone around the world. Those who oppose our aid to Ukraine (which Congress finally approved after a delay of six months) in order to help the Ukrainians repel the barbarous invasion by Vladimir Putin would do well to watch the Franklin mini-series on Apple TV+. They would be reminded that the lesson of history is plain: Freedom isn’t free and, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, tyranny anywhere is tyranny everywhere.

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