French Beef

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Over at The American Enterprise, Jean-Francois Revel, author of the recent and interesting Anti-Americanism, fries his fellow Frenchies:

We French have had little to say against Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi, Kim Jong Il, Fidel Castro, Robert Mugabe, the imams of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or the bosses of China and Vietnam. We reserve our admonitions and our contempt and our attacks for the U.S., for Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and for Europeans like Margaret Thatcher, Silvio Berlusconi, and Tony Blair, because they are insufficiently hostile to capitalism. Our enemy is not the dictator but the free market economy.

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  1. This is what they call hyperbole.

  2. I don’t have anything to say, really, I just wanted to try to post before Jean Bart!

  3. It took forever to post…Damn!

  4. Ken Schultz,

    Sorry. 🙂

  5. Revel tends to make me laugh more than anything else; what else can one do in the face of such hyperbolic nonsense? Revel is something along the lines of America’s Coulter or that fat tub of lard people call a “documentarian.”

    Anyway, opinion polls have steadily stated that 65% to 70% of Frenchmen like, etc. Americans (this was even true during the height of the invasion last year). If France is seething with such hatred of America one would expect that not to be the case. I suppose the other example one could bring to the table is the that France has been copying portions of America’s commercial laws, from the UCC to bankruptcy states. For such hatred of American capitalism, that seems a rather odd thing to do.

  6. I really like the French people in general. I have some problems with the French government.

    Seems most French people like the American people, but have some problems with the American government.

    It’s all generalizations, but that’s the impression I have. It’s fair enough: let the governments squabble, the people will get along or not on their own.

  7. Eric,
    I think that’s true about most of the world. In fact, it’s less that foreigners dislike the American government, they just dislike American foreign policy.

  8. I for one admit that I hate the French. They smell, their cities are filty, they don’t have the courtesy to join the rest of the world and speak English. If I never have to go to Paris again, it will be too soon.

    I guess the climbing up by Switzerland is pretty good, though.

  9. Geez, it sounds pretty good to me. And it sounds as though le Bart is pissed off because Revel broke ranks.

  10. a sudden francophile,

    Do you have any evidence of your assertion? I’ve no issue withlegitimate, rationale criticism of France (there is much to criticize); but painting France is if it the spawn of satan is ludicrous (and is of the same ilk as comments on the left about Israel I might add). And Revel can “break ranks” all he wants to (like he hasn’t be a troll since the 1970s); I myself need not do so, as I do not belong to any “ranks” to break from.

  11. I dislike Chirac.

    Perhaps Jean Bart has more perspective on this than I, but it seemed to me that Chirac’s insistence on the U.S. receiving additional authorization from the U.N. to invade Iraq, even as Chirac himself blatently and unilaterally invaded the Ivory Coast, was…well, without resorting to hyperbole…at the time, that was pretty hard for this American to swallow.

    Last I heard, and I haven’t been following this closely, after invading the Ivory Coast (without even asking the Security Council) Chriac “negotiated” a cease-fire (at the point of a gun). Then he came to the Security Council and asked to have a U.N. force sent to the Ivory Coast to disarm the rebels and enforce his agreement. Remarkably, the Bush Administration assented. (I won’t dwell on the fact that 27% of the U.N. force, like all other U.N. peace keeping operations, is funded courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer because stuff like that makes me want to pull my hair out.)

    I don’t claim to have all the facts, and I know that the world of diplomacy doesn’t always play out in front of the cameras, but if Chirac intended to return Bush’s favor in the Security Council, he already would have done so, and there would already be a U.N. force in Iraq. So I’m assuming that Chirac won’t support us in the U.N., and I think that stinks.

    Do you agree Jean Bart?

    P.S. Just for the record, I was against the invasion of Iraq, and I’m no fan of the United Nations.

  12. Assertion? Hell, I’m only telling you what it sounds like to me. The first 65 words of that quote meshes with the impression I have received in news reports from and about France. The “because they are insufficiently hostile to capitalism” is Revel’s opinion – it could be true, but I don’t know. Then again, you could also say “because they are insufficiently appreciative of Jerry Lewis” or “because they dare serve red wine with fish”. Those first 65 words sound pretty much on target, though.

  13. Ah, that should be “mesh”, not “meshes”.

  14. Ken Schultz,

    You can dislike Chirac all you desire. I am no great lover of him myself (as I’ve written here repeatedly). I much anticipate his departure from French politics in 2007 (him, and his whole corrupt generation of politicians on the right and the left).

    Chirac occupied portions Cote d’Ivorie in light of a treaty France has with that country; it wasn’t quite as illigetimate as many think it was.

    “Last I heard, and I haven’t been following this closely, after invading the Ivory Coast (without even asking the Security Council) Chriac “negotiated” a cease-fire (at the point of a gun).”

    Well, I think this was a good thing really; there was much potential for another Rwanda, and that was the last thing France wanted another of.

    “Then he came to the Security Council and asked to have a U.N. force sent to the Ivory Coast to disarm the rebels and enforce his agreement.”

    Well, most of the troops there remain French troops; and they’ve done well in keeping the peace (though recent political murders by the government have upset this somewhat).

    “I don’t claim to have all the facts, and I know that the world of diplomacy doesn’t always play out in front of the cameras, but if Chirac intended to return Bush’s favor in the Security Council, he already would have done so, and there would already be a U.N. force in Iraq. So I’m assuming that Chirac won’t support us in the U.N., and I think that stinks.”

    That’s really a legitimate criticism, and I don’t have any retort to it.

  15. a sudden francophile,

    “Assertion?”

    Yes, its an assertion. Please, don’t be Clintonesque. You made an assertion; now I expect you to demonstrate it. Either that or retract it.

    Also, let me suggest that you know very little of France, and certainly not enough judge the merits of his claims.

  16. a sudden francophile,

    I also think that it should be noted that your one criticism of my comments when examined has nothing to do with my comments but is in essence a lot of conjecture concerning my emotional state.

  17. Woo-hoo! Slip off the gloves there, JB. One, no, I asserted nothing – I only said that Revel’s statement sounds pretty good to me. Now if you mean the statement that you seem pissed off by his breaking ranks (with an admittedly non-existent unified French front of insufferable anti-Americanism), then I’ll take your word for it that it’s not true, but it wasn’t an outrageous assumption to make.

    Two, do I know as much as you do about your native land? Of course not. I think I know more than the average American, but that may not be saying much. What I do know from years of print, television and radio media suggests that there is more than a grain of truth in the first part of Revel’s statement. Despite my lack of expert knowledge of France and things French, I do reserve the right to make a judgment based on that small bit of knowledge extant, though.

  18. I like French bread.
    Does that count?

  19. JB,

    “…you know very little of France, and certainly not enough …”

    you know what, there are a lot of Americans who know very little of many things (including their own history) but that doesn’t stop them from criticizing everything!

    (p.s. this is not a defense of criticizing France – just an observation)

    p.p.s. – I have a lot of second hand info (from friends and co-workers who visited France for business and pleasure) about French people in general – not the stereotypical arrogant folks, but good guys. The problem then must be the government/pols

  20. French people do not hate Americans, they hate Shannon Love. At least one of them does.

  21. Hmm, what’s the French for “boot licker”?

  22. Jean B.,

    I am amazed. Admitting that France may have behaved less than honorably diplomatically.

    As long as we are on a roll here – what do you think about the fact that Bush has spoken up for the people of Iran and so far at least overtly the French government has been silent. I do note some positive moves re: Iran by France but France has not yet put its weight behind the people of Iran.

    Did I mention that George Bush has? Did I mention that Bush is now in a position to support the Iranian people militarily if that seems wise? You know if you look at it from a political and military standpoint the fall of the current Iranian government would create an arc of self government in the Middle East.

    With Iran as the lynch pin.

  23. Gary,

    There is better and then there is worse. We are dealing with humans here not angels.

  24. We reserve our admonitions and our contempt and our attacks for the U.S., for Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and for Europeans like Margaret Thatcher, Silvio Berlusconi, and Tony Blair, because they are insufficiently hostile to capitalism. Our enemy is not the dictator but the free market economy.

    Bush? Blair? Geez, just how hostile to capitalism do they have to be to satisfy these Frenchies?

    I mean; who do these Frechies think they are? Neo-cons?

  25. Sorry Jean Bart, this isn’t hyperbole. Revel is being far too nice to the anti-American chorus, whose transparently silly arguments cannot cover up their lust for power and money at the expense of any principle they ever claimed to have.

  26. just wondering,

    No, we share a house and an office upstairs.

  27. Ron,

    His arguments aren’t about “anti-Americans,” they are about French people.

    M. Simon,

    “I am amazed. Admitting that France may have behaved less than honorably diplomatically.”

    Honor and diplomacy have nothing in common; you should know that from America’s actions over the years.

    “As long as we are on a roll here – what do you think about the fact that Bush has spoken up for the people of Iran…”

    Yes, his children are so blessed in his sight. You can keep your colonial mind-set.

    “I do note some positive moves re: Iran by France but France has not yet put its weight behind the people of Iran.”

    Certainly it has, in the way of opening trade, by way of the nuclear inspections (and thus thwarting Bush’s moronic attempts to create more hostility in the region), etc.

    “Did I mention that Bush is now in a position to support the Iranian people militarily if that seems wise?”

    Yes, invading another middle eastern country is within the power of the US now. *LOL* America is in the weakest position today than it has been in years; perhaps even decades.

    “There is better and then there is worse. We are dealing with humans here not angels.”

    Quit making excuses; either stop supporting any oppressive regimes, or quit acting like a sanctimonious bastard.

  28. ‘Quit making excuses; either stop supporting any oppressive regimes, or quit acting like a sanctimonious bastard.”

    Too bad France doesn’t live by these words. Why should only the US be lambasted for this?

  29. Yeah, those French, focusing most of their negative attention on the most powerful nation in the history of mankind. What a bunch of weasels!

    As for these “free markets” that they’re so opposed to, I’m not sure where they’d find any to oppose. Oh, wait–that’s the “free market” as promoted by Reagan and Thatcher (snicker).

  30. Wait a minute – Gunnels and JB are the same person?

    The mysteries of the Internet are unfathomable….

  31. American foreign policy sucks compared to how the rest of the world does it.

    I mean the rest of the world elects Sudan to the Human Rights Comission and America walks out. What kind of diplomacy is that?

  32. a sudden francophile,

    “One, no, I asserted nothing – I only said that Revel’s statement sounds pretty good to me.”

    “And it sounds as though le Bart is pissed off because Revel broke ranks.”

    That’s an assertion.

    “Now if you mean the statement that you seem pissed off by his breaking ranks (with an admittedly non-existent unified French front of insufferable anti-Americanism), then I’ll take your word for it that it’s not true, but it wasn’t an outrageous assumption to make.”

    *chuckle* Sure it was an outrageous assumption; you don’t even know who I am, yet you are making judgments about my temperment and my motives for my statements?

    “Despite my lack of expert knowledge of France and things French, I do reserve the right to make a judgment based on that small bit of knowledge extant, though.”

    Anyone who makes overarching judgments based on small amounts of information can generally be described as a fool.

    M. Simon,

    America’s choice would of course be Pakistan or Egypt or Saudi Arabia; those pillars of freedom and liberty.

  33. lindenen,

    Revel’s point of course was that only France was being lambasted, and that the US is some perfect, spotless country. I should think that in light of recent torture events in Iraq that Americans would slightly more humble.

  34. Jean Bart: What is your opinion of the French engaging in joint naval manoevers with China off the coast of Taiwan in an obvious attempt at intimidation on the eve of a Taiwanese election? Are you cool with that?

  35. J.B.: Hyperbolic? Not really, when you consider that Revel is really talking about the French intelligentsia.

    By the way, anyone remember the movie Barcelona? It had an image describing anti-Americanism: A consular official says that America is like a big ant farm for the rest of the world, except that most people can’t see inside the an farm themselves and need journalists and intellectuals to look inside for them. The only problem is, European journalists and intellectuals tend to hate ants.

    As far as it being U.S. “foreign policy” that is the real cause of European dislike of America, this is nonsense that’s been repeated so often it has taken on the patina of Revelation. People who bring up U.S. “foreign policy” as the real problem are usually referring to the Israel-Palestine dispute, or refusing to acknowledge the fact that the most powerful military and economic power on the planet can’t avoid taking sides sometimes.

  36. cool and very informative blog

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