United States and French Relationship Essay

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United States and French Relationship

Freedom fries and Chanel boycotts should not be dismissed as isolated and juvenile posturing on the part of the American people. Rather, the visceral reaction to French reluctance to follow the Bush administration into Iraq should be addressed as a substantive and not simply cosmetic distrust Americans share of the French.

Kantian country
In France, the “renegade cowboy” George W. Bush is anathema to a country more comfortable with shades of gray than the black and white lenses with which the United States views the world. The US and France rarely see eye to eye on cultural and political issues simply because we do not share the same world view.

American eyes view the “outside” a bit
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Foreign policy is now a Rorschach test of US/French relations. The French explain that military might is not the answer for Iraq while we in the US hear “We want the US to fail”. The Americans say “We don’t want the Iraqis to be Americans, we want to liberate them”, the French hear “We want the Iraqis to be drinking Coca-Cola, worshipping our God, and submitting to our political power.”

Even in our politically correct culture, it is still okay to hate the French. They hate us, so we hate them. The Economist reports that while two years ago 79% of Americans had a favorable view of France that number is down to 33% this year (June 4 2004). Why?

Qui sont les francais?

• Vain and superficial

The American view of France has remained remarkably stable – and negative. Grandparents refer to les francais as frogs, middle-age parents think of the French as spineless, and our generation imagines the stereotypical signs of Frenchness: berets, brie, and Bordeaux.

Indeed, the French are an elegant breed. While most Americans prefer jeans and Birkenstocks, our French counterparts are known for their pashmina scarves, their politesse, and a certain sophistication oft viewed as fussiness to practical américains. But the material often reflects the intangible and Americans

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