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USA-France tensions

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Lady Luthien, Mar 21, 2004.

  1. Lady Luthien Gems: 6/31
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    Hey everyone, I haven't been around this forum very long but I understand the conversations around here tend to be pretty heated, so please understand this just my personal opinion on the information I have. If you believe that this information is in any way incorrect, please inform me of your vision of things.

    The thing is: I live in Paris and have been to the USA once in february 2000, so I have a very limited vision of the state of mind of the american population.
    Anyway, recently France has experienced a disgusting surge of anti-americanism which is linked as much to current events as to a more ancestral feeling (France does have a background of wounded pride that goes back to World War I).
    This anti-americanism is tangible in all medias both public and private and has led to a point where a large portion of the population considers all americans as either complete morons or bastards...
    The frightening thing is that this state of mind is coupled with an account (that I hope is completely biased) of the American vox populi stating that the political weight of the European Union is insignificant when compared to the United States.
    I just wish to know whether this statement is correct or not, and if an anti-French spirit (as we are led to believe) does exist in the USA.
    If that is the case, I can only say that the occidental world has once again split into two sides of an Iron Curtain, with each side leading an active propaganda against the other...
    This unfortunate turn of events leads me to a final question: can this mutual animosity possibly be some kind of organised scheme (surely, this new kind of propaganda must lead somewhere..)?

    Anyway, I thank you in advance for clarifying my point of view...
     
  2. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I assume that you have read the existing thread about America being the same as the Rest of Europe so I won't repeat the enlightening debate that has ensued there.

    I would just say that it is quite dangerous to attribute the opinions of the outspoken few as being representative of the rest of the population.
     
  3. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Just as there are a very loud and vitriolic anti-American group on the European far left scale there is a very loud and agressive *very* anti-French group in the US. France seems to have taken the brunt of what that group sees as a betrayal by Europe led by France.

    The rest of the populations in both the US and Europe just mildly dislikes each others as can be seen here. ;)
     
  4. Iago Gems: 24/31
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    from here

    Of course, you do not wear orange on St. Patricks day. My opinion hasn't changed, as I've already stated in many threads, there is something already embeded in most anglo-saxon countries that makes France the target in cases like this. One wouldn't make the Irish-German-Dutch-Norwegian-Danish-Italian motherland a target in the way one would make one out of the French. Laches may be have been right, the Amis (hint, ejsmith) don't think too much about the French, but if they do, I think in some strange Agincourt derivative.
     
  5. Spellbound

    Spellbound Fleur de Mystique Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    You have got to be kidding! What "cases like this"?? I think you've twisted my words a bit -- there was no "targeting" implied in my post. Where I come from (the northeastern part of the US), on St. Patties Day, the Irish always wore green and the French always wore orange. There was nothing insulting about it.

    And, again, I don't understand all of this "my country doesn't like yours, nya, nya, nya" .... rhetoric. From my perspective and from where I live now (western US), I've seen no negative sentiment here for France or for any other European country, for that matter.
     
  6. Grey Magistrate Gems: 14/31
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    As maybe the most right-wing and pro-French American on these boards - vive la France! - I must say that I am deeply concerned about the current state of US-France relations. I agree with Harbourboy that the great majority of both our countries still like each other, despite decades of cross-Atlantic sniping - France is still the #1 tourist destination for Americans (last time I checked), and the French pour billions of euros to buy American products. I think Colin Powell said it best, paraphrased: "The US and France have spent the last two centuries in marriage counseling."

    But the real concern is the political angle. Is there an "organised scheme" behind this mutual animosity, as you ask, Lady Luthien? I don't think so. But high-level elements on both sides are finding real political value in tapping into latent stereotypes and widening pre-existing divisions. Look at the Spanish elections - there was a true current of anger against the Americans for dragging Spain deeper into the war on terror, and the Socialists were the best-positioned to tap into that fury. Despite the ideological overlap between Bush and Chirac, the French government has strong popular backing for opposing American positions. And it was easier for Bush and Blair to sell their UN loss by blaming it on French intransigence. You report "a disgusting surge of anti-americanism", and I'll echo that by apologizing for the atrocious anti-French positions of many of my fellow right-wingers.

    I suspect that if Kerry is elected this November, we'll discover that the trans-Atlantic problems aren't so much anti-Bush but anti-hyperpower. A Kerry administration would still preside over the most powerful military, economy, culture, and society, with the EU and Japan still struggling to recover from years of slow growth. Europe would no more submit to a careful Kerry than a bold Bush, any more than the oh-so-multilateralist Clinton deigned to get official permission for his interventions in Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and the Sudan. And no Western country has more to fear from an American hyperpower than France.

    Anyway, that's just my pessimistic opinion. Take it for whatever it's worth.

    Oh, and Spellbound - my mom always had us dress in orange for St. Patrick's Day, too. Couldnae tell ye why...
     
  7. Lady Luthien Gems: 6/31
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    Spellbound, that's good to know!


    As for John Kerry mentioned by the Grey Magistrate; I must say that from the info we get here, France would just LOVE to see him elected.
    You see, it's nothing personal, it's just that, apparently: he has a cousin living in Normandy!
    Appart from that, I heard my geography teacher mention something about Kerry being a "much saner individual" than Bush and a president that would be able to put "America back into place"!
    I've always hated that Le Pen voting b****...
     
  8. Iago Gems: 24/31
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    If this truly is so on the east-coast. Then I must say that is really astonishing to me. Any idea how that tradition came about ?

    Bah, on the side, I stand still to my opinion that it's embeded at some point. They could have been similarly furious about the Germans. Yet seems to me the Germans have had less fired on them. As for Inner-European dislike, I think it's save to say, no one beats the Germans. Anti-Germanism has some tradition. What always stunned me, was, why is there no Anti-Canadism ?

    Anyone seen that BBC series allies at war ?

    That of course is same view as I have. I'm under the impression, talking about French Fries was more important then talking about reasons for going somewhere with bombers at some time. He, he, why go somewhere looking for WMD when you know there are no WMD ? Can't say that, so let's talk about Anne Frank, the cheese-eating surrender monkey.

    [ March 21, 2004, 22:00: Message edited by: Iago ]
     
  9. Neriana Gems: 6/31
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    Hm, where I grew up, everyone wore green on St. Patty's day unless they wanted to be constantly pinched. There wasn't a large Irish population there, either.

    I have never heard any American in the real world say anything against the French. The whole "Freedom Fries" thing was treated as an embarrassment and a joke. From what I've read about France, it seems to be more of an anti-Bush thing than actual hatred. Maybe Europeans are slightly prejudiced against a certain idea of America, and maybe Americans are slightly prejudiced against a certain idea of France. But I think we all know that we're just people who can get drunk and have a good time together :D .
     
  10. Spellbound

    Spellbound Fleur de Mystique Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Iago -- no idea how that came about. It just was. If you were French you wore orange; if you were Irish you wore green. (Though lots of people wore green even if they weren't Irish.) You also have to understand the neighborhood makeup of New England -- particularly the Boston to New York corridor. It's very clannish, built on ethnic neighborhoods -- and all the immigrating nationalities were pretty proud of where they came from. There were distinct Irish/Italian/English/French/Jewish/Polish/German/Portuguese, etc. areas -- all next to each other, each with their own customs, ethnic restaurants (that was the BEST part :D ) and languages. For instance we lived near the Italian and French neighborhoods -- if you went into the older parts of those areas, you rarely heard English spoken, or if you did, it was heavily accented. I loved growing up in a place like that, being exposed to all sorts of different ways and customs.

    When the French wore orange on St. Pats Day, they were saying "we're proud to be French". When other people wore orange on that day, they were simply stating "we're not Irish". It became kind of a symbolic color for all the non-Irish groups. Anywho...it all was kind of fun. :D
     
  11. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    How to put this without sounding elitist...

    Well, I'll just say it. People in America may think poorly of the French spirit, but that presupposes that we think about you at all. Not to sound like the stereo-typical, ego-maniacal American, but when it comes to France, most people in the U.S. don't care at all.

    To be honest, the height of the anti-French movement occurred occurred over a year ago, when the UN vote to use force in Iraq failed. Many people opposed the French stance at that point, because most people in the U.S. honestly believed that Iraq had WMD and posed an immediate threat to U.S. safety. Since then, most people have backed off those feelings (for obvious reasons) and have similarly backed off having any ill-feelings towards the French. The typical thinking among Americans is that France is just one country within the EU, and unless we're talking about a UN vote, they really aren't important enough singularly to worry about. (That's the part that's going to sound elitist, and I apologize, but that's the way most Americans feel.)
     
  12. Iago Gems: 24/31
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    Aha. Well, yes, that seems reasonable to me. I've heard that it came to many clashes of the different immigrant groups at the beginning of the last century and the century before that. So, yes, I see a good reason for different ethnical groups to try to differ from eachother.

    Well, to me, it is astonishing how many things about France appeared. I think the normal state of things you'd excpect that France would be a non-issue all the time and if not, only a small issue. I think it was something like a marketing campaign to divide attention. Yet even if the UN-vote was a clear French mistake (or maybe not, as it seems to me, that the kings and queens of the biggie nations meet behind closed doors, where the decide what's up and what's to be done, so maybe essential facts may be not known to me). Still think there was some fertile soil to get it going.
     
  13. Neriana Gems: 6/31
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    Generalization time.

    As much as Americans think about France (which is rarely at most), they tend to resent it a bit. I think Americans have the conception that the French as a group are a bunch of elite snobs who hate Americans. We hate being disliked, and we don't understand why anyone wouldn't like us.

    Plus, the French surrendered to Germany in WWII. We feel bad for other, weaker countries that were forced to surrender, but France was big and there's a conception over here that their army just turned tail and ran and that their government welcomed the Nazis. We admire the French Resistance, but the Allies had to rescue France, and that doesn't sit well with American attitudes on self-reliance. (Remember, Americans are taught VERY little history.) So now, we rescued, or at least played a huge part in rescuing, the French in WWII, and they still scorn us.

    This resentment is generally very deeply buried. But it's not founded on hating the French per se; rather, Americans hate that the French hate us, and have for a long time.

    (Just in case, I'll say that none of this applies to me personally.)
     
  14. Sprite Gems: 15/31
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    Wearing orange on St. Patrick's Day is a political statement promoting British and Protestant superiority over the Irish. I am astonished to learn that Franco-Americans, who are usually Catholic, do so. How could any self-respecting person of French origin pass up the opportunity to annoy the British?

    The French surrendered in World War II because the male population had been so decimated by World War I that the population consisted almost entirely of women, children and elderly men. But those women and old men acquitted themselves very well in the Resistance.

    I have encountered a lot more American contempt for the French than vice-versa. Every time I cross the American border I am treated like **** when they see from my passport that I am French. Although in the last trip I tucked my marriage certificate in my passport to show that I am married to an American and that seems to have made a difference. My French friends are pretty frightened of the current US administration, but not nearly as much as my American friends are. The French say nasty things about McDonalds and Coke, but they buy them anyway. The worst I've ever heard from a Frenchman on the subject of Americans in general is that they are all frigid prudes and terrible in bed as a result of their country being founded by Puritans. But this proved to be incorrect.

    America and France are, I think, the only two countries in the world where it is routinely believed that "this is the greatest country in the world". It's not surprising there is tension - at least one of them must be wrong.
     
  15. Spellbound

    Spellbound Fleur de Mystique Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Neriana -- Generalizations?? Indeed -- but whose?

    Normally, I would say, speak for yourself, but since you're NOT....who are you speaking for then?

    I certainly never found that to be the case either here or in France. I spent a month or so in Paris and never received anything but a warm reception and extended friendship.

    ??? I'm not sure what you're referring to here. If you mean Americans don't receive very much history preparation in school, I beg to differ with you. I was a history major in high school, with a choice of MANY history classes to take as electives. I also majored in history and literature in college, before changing over to business.

    Um...WWII was over 50 years ago. I dare say that most of us are not harboring deeply rooted hatred towards the French for supposedly "hating us" today. :rolleyes: We give the world a whole lot more reasons to hate the US every day, without having to conjure up reasons 50 years old.
     
  16. Neriana Gems: 6/31
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    I can generalize about people other than myself because I have perceptions.

    "Deeply buried" and "deeply rooted" are two totally different phrases in this instance. "Buried" means "under the surface and usually not an issue." "Rooted" means "strong and difficult to get rid of". I did not say "deeply rooted", I said "deeply BURIED".

    And Spellbound, you had a major in HIGH SCHOOL?!
    I have suspected before that you grew up somewhere totally strange, and now I'm certain of it. I have never in my life seen a high school that offered any solid history curriculum whatsoever. I took honors history courses in high school, which meant exactly 2 years of history: one American, one "world". Where did you go, the biggest private school in Boston or something? Even so, you mention that the courses were electives, not requirements. We had various shop courses as electives in my high school, but we didn't all graduate knowing how to work a buzzsaw.

    I majored in history in college, so I know what happened in WWII better than most Americans, though it's still not my strong suit. Most colleges don't require a history class for non-history majors; when they do, that class is necessarily broad and usually focuses on America. Spellbound, I would love to live in whatever small corridor you do, with all your highly educated, open-minded neighbors, but it is not representative of America as a whole.

    I do not think the French were cowards, or anything like that, but I didn't think a disquisition on WWII was called for :rolleyes: . That war does play a very large part in America's myth of itself. The myth: it was a just war, one in which we fought the good fight, beat the bad guys, and saved our "parent" countries from tyranny. That is what we keep going back to. I won't argue over whether sixty years is a long time; the point is, that war is still vitally important to the American consciousness.
     
  17. Spellbound

    Spellbound Fleur de Mystique Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Neriana -- I find your post rude and highly insulting.


    Who are you to say this?? You know NOTHING about where I grew up and, frankly, it's none of your business.


    Another of your generalizations it appears. :rolleyes: Please, don't even begin to make assumptions about where I live and who my friends and neighbors are -- you haven't a clue.

    And since you have decided to make this into a personal attack, I can tell you you are right about one thing. I am highly educated. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Economics and Marketing, an MBA in Economics and Statistics and a Ph.D. in Systems and Statistics. When I was in high school and college, I made it my business to learn all I could about the subjects that interested me. And, yes, even in high school we had electives -- choices about what classes to take. You make it sound like being "highly educated" is an oddity in this country...it isn't. So many people hold Bachelor's degrees now that the Masters has taken over as the degree "to have". I think Americans are smarter than you perceive.

    For the future, I would appreciate it if you would stick to the issues of the topic. I don't appreciate your comments directed to me regarding where I grew up or the type of place I live now. I find them rude and offensive. It stops here.
     
  18. Neriana Gems: 6/31
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    Spellbound, it's my business where you grew up when you keep bringing up your personal life as proof. You can't put it out there and then not expect a response. And I never attacked you personally. I said that where you grew up did not seem to be representative of America in general. I have never heard of an American high school with a major. I certainly would never insult you for being highly educated; again, I have no idea where you got that from.

    What does a Bachelor's Degree mean in the broad scheme of things? That depends on what the degree is in. I went to two very different colleges, public and private. The only people who knew anything, or were forced to learn anything, of importance about history were history majors. Having a Bachelor's degree in physics or business or engineering doesn't mean a person knows anything about anything outside of physics or business or engineering.
     
  19. Spellbound

    Spellbound Fleur de Mystique Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Wrong.... it's NOT your business to insult someone regarding their personal life -- not on these boards anyways. If I want to use a personal instance to defend my point, that's my right. It doesn't give you the right to malign it -- and you clearly did. Topic closed.

    PM me if you want to discuss this further. It should be kept off the boards.
     
  20. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    [​IMG] Exactly, let's get back to the topic. Appropriate warning for Neriana pending.
     
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