Well, you would be amazed Buddha how different perceptions are in France for whatever reason. I was just speaking with two of my French friends and they were just as vociferous about the following points:
The CIA trained and armed and funded Osama bin Laden so the “chickens came home to roost on 911.”
The US sells weapons to everyone, why can’t we?
The French have the right to sell weapons to China since the US is as well.
They both strongly disagreed that France was “in bed” with Saddam and that corruption was behind the French move in the UN.
Both were very emphatic about the culture exceptionelle.
I repeatedly pointed out that we did not arm or fund or train Osama but to no avail. I offered them sites to check this info out but they were not interested.
I pointed out that France was one of the key countries arming Saddam and that we were not, but they were not interested. I pointed to very curious contract signed between French politicians and Saddam’s Iraq. No interest.
I pointed out that I could show them information on who America sells arms to and under what conditions and that not one of those nations is a threat to France or French interests and that French arms sales especially to China would seriously threaten us (again to no avail). Ditto for its relationships with many of these Middle Eastern “regimes.”
And I asked why the French culture is immune to merging and mixing with any other culture including the American one since it has so frequently borrowed from Poland (Chopin) and America (Jospephine Baker) and the jitterbug which is the DANCE of all of French social functions. Nope. Not interested.
Final conclusion: Bush is an idiot. America is far worse than France about selling weapons and has a disgusting foreign policy based on pure profit motives. The culture for the most part is shit, Americans are stupid and fat and we should listen to them more because they are more deserving of world leadership than we are.
Naturally, we got no where and both sides had to agree to disagree, but I found it fascinating how much so many French people actually believe without proof the kind of crap that they were espousing. They could not raise one fact or cite one source to counter me but these things are things that “everybody knows.” I said fine. I don’t, prove it to me. Couldn’t and wouldn’t.
This leads me to believe that our trouble with France is very severe indeed. I should point out that neither of these two Frenchmen were Parisian otherwise I would have written it down to partisan interests affected by life in the French capital.
I really do not have the faintest idea what we can do about France and the French. I fear that this could be a long and divisive relationship and that it is set to get worse before it gets better if ever it does.
But the one point that I would cite as “chickens coming home to roost” is that
a. the US government does not adequate fund public relations efforts to get our message directly to the people of Europe or any other region for that matter. We assume somehow that everyone naturally knows that are motives are good and when the media of other countries gets going, we are painted with a very different brush. You think the media in the US is biased with 90% voting far left. This would be center right politics in France. You should see what the true journalistic slant is in countries like France and we are not faring well. When Le Figaro is the closest thing to defending America and its interests there is in France, imagine how we fare with Le Monde and such. We should be doing the same thing in America for that matter. Why is it that our best universities are churning out students whose heroes are Noam Chomsky and Che Guevera and not Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. When the proof of who has done more good is given to them, they still do not care. This is brainwashing and it’s high time we countered it everywhere. Unreformed communists and Marxists dominate our universities and that is why even in America, half the electorate probably sees no logical problems with Michael Moore’s movie or Noam Chomsky’s 911. They are not taught to think criticially and see the other side’s motives because they have only been given one side and that is the Leftist view.
b. We have never before “punished” countries like France for posturing and opposing America on the world stage. We have laughed it off like well posturing pretending it did not really matter when they have been able to gain great influence at our expense. We must challenge and fight them with everything that we have in our arsenal. The French government’s interests are not in sync with ours nor would I say that they are in line with what is best for the world. They are good for France only and they see no problem with that. Ergo, we must fight much harder to shut them out and shut them up. The Russians and Chinese manipulate the French beautifully, we can and should do the same. They will respect us for it. For the rest of the world, we can have a different foreign policy based more on ideals, but with the French, they get what they give and we will give it to them in double doses. It is just that simple.
So no reason to hate France or the French, but every reason to realign our foreign policy goals with the necessity of countering their daily attacks and we must win over the French people to what we are doing by going over the heads of the French government and media leaders to broadcast our side of the story. If we do not, how can we possibly expect them to understand where we are coming from? If they only hear the negatives (like in the Soviet days and in Islamofascist countries today) how in the world can they be expected to like us or our policies when they get the poisonous drip drip drip of biased media coverage attacking our every aim, goal, policy and existence?
My two friends found it incredible that I could have such opposing views and while I did not even come close to changing their minds at least I held my own and they realize that not everyone who supports Bush and his policies is some fat-cat oil company executive of some fat trailer-trash bleached blonde named Shawna who don’t know a thing about politics but eats at McDonald’s, drinks Budweiser and votes for Bush cuz he’s one of us.
Get ready for some hard work. There is a long long long road ahead. Now, if you will excuse me, I am off to McDonald’s to grab a Big Mac and some of those disgusting American french fries with a super sized Diet Coke. Increible!