Zkpilot From New Zealand, joined Mar 2006, 4749 posts, RR: 10 Reply 2, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 3231 times:
Whilst the USA is in deep sh*t, France isn't exactly in great shape itself....
hmmm let me see... riots in France every few months about one thing or another, a rapidly aging population, large national debt, out of control immigration particularly from Africa causing all sorts of integration issues (a cause of many of the beforementioned riots), ageing nuclear reactors, etc
JGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 5, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3099 times:
I don't suppose any of you posters have bothered to read what he actually said. He makes a valid point - the US' reputation abroad has been very badly damaged by the Bush presidency, and it will take some real spadework from whoever is next to get it back. He also expresses doubt that it will ever reach the same level of respect and admiration that it had before. That's a debatable point, but he might not be entirely wrong. The world is a different place now - the world may have been happy before with the US as sole superpower, but after Bush the world seems to prefer the notion of a multipolar world, where no one country has all the power. Rightly or wrongly, that's how it is. The other "poles" are not exactly paragons of virtue either - Russia, China - so as a European I'd be pleased to see the EU step up as a fourth "pole" to balance things out. As a multi-cultural community of established, fairly prosperous, broadly peaceful and above all free democracies, we have an example to set to the world, if nothing else.
NAV20 From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 9760 posts, RR: 37 Reply 7, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3063 times:
"I think the magic is over," Kouchner told the International Herald Tribune. "It will never be as it was before."
"He added that, although it will take time, the new president will have “many means to re-establish the image” of a country whose reputation is suffering."
This'll just prove (to anyone who didn't already know) how bloody old I am. But I began visiting France as a schoolboy in 1958, and was surprised (and offended) by the hostility I often encountered as soon as I began speaking with what they thought was an English accent; even though my French was reasonably good in those days. Later, I found that that hostility was nothing compared to the hostility that American visitors had to put up with at that time.
It soon dawned on me why the French were so uptight - they resented the fact that they had surrendered within a few weeks of the hard part of WW2 beginning, and therefore strongly disliked the British, who had (illogically, from a Frenchman's viewpoint) gone on fighting; and the Americans, who had provided a lot of the 'horsepower' necessary to liberate France and the rest of Occupied Europe. After a while France just became, for me, the unwelcoming place that I had to traverse to reach sensible, welcoming countries like Belgium, Holland, and Germany.
Later on I married a girl who loved France and had some happier times visiting it - especially in the South of France. I really thought, by say the 1980s, that the French resentment about WW2 had faded into history. But now, with this report, here it is again.
Couldn't understand the throwback to the 1950s at first - until I looked M. Kouchner up.
"Bernard Kouchner (born November 1, 1939 in Avignon) is a French politician, diplomat, and doctor. He is co-founder of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Doctors of the World. He is currently the French minister of Foreign and European Affairs in the right-wing Fillon government, although he was considered in the past to be a leftist politician."
So the bugger's even older than I am, and was brought up in the aftermath of WW2, just as I was. Don't worry about him, guys - he was brought up to hate the 'Anglo-Saxons,' and above all the Americans, because of France's shameful surrender way back in 1940. I'd be very surprised if he's in any way typical of the majority of French people today.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
JGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 8, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3056 times:
Quoting AGM100 (Reply 6): I guess our reputation would be better if Saddam was still in power
Or perhaps if you'd addressed the real villains of the piece, the house of Saud. But I forgot, they're bbq-buddies from back in Crawford. Silly me.
Iraq was a side-show, nothing more. Yes Saddam was a bastard, but he'd been a bastard for at least 20 years, but at least back in the beginning he was YOUR bastard against the Axis-Of-Even-More-Evil, Iran. O tempora, o mores.
Are you even remotely surprised that the world has grown somewhat cynical regarding who the US regards as "enemies of freedom" ?
What planet have you been on AGM. The guy is right. This president has so damaged our reputation that whomever is President will have a hard time restoring our good name. And this Minister may be right-we may never be seen as we once were. Bush has simply done everything wrong on the foreign policy front, and left our good name in tatters, and our reputation damaged for decades.
Maybe you should STFU, and start living in the real world.
Quoting AGM100 (Reply 6): I guess our reputation would be better if Saddam was still in power .... oh well maybe he is right after all.
I thought the war in Iraq was about WMD? Remember those-that was THE REASON, wasn't it? But I guess we have the right to overthrow any leader, vile as he was, simply because we can, right AGM?
And, guess what? Knowing what we know now, that Saddam's WMD program was only a figment of his imagination, we would have been better off not going in there-5000 young Americans would still be alive; our foreign policy wouldn't be the laughingstock of the world; our president wouldn't have an approval rating of 30%. Seems to me, we'd have been WAY better off had we never gone on this damn fool of an adventure.
But go blame the French. That makes you feel better.
Quoting NAV20 (Reply 7): Don't worry about him, guys - he was brought up to hate the 'Anglo-Saxons,' and above all the Americans
I would suggest going a little beyond wikipedia to determine what his stances are and who the guy is. I believe you have misjudged him. I have been living in France for quite some time and, as pictured by the journalist of the IHT, Kouchner is one of the strongest supporters of the US in France (4th paragraph).
Francoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3525 posts, RR: 11 Reply 12, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2993 times:
Oh, great, another article about the French on Fox news...
I might seem obviously biased, but I agree with Flacon84. The image of the US in the world is shot.
Kouchner does not mention anything about economic situation, or the state of the diplomatic situation between the US and France. He is merely stating the evident result of 8 years of mostly misguided foreign affairs policy of the Bush government (surely the majority of US citizens on here would agree?).
I know any thread the French on here will generally result in a rally of voices against the 'cheese eating surrender monkeys', as Jeremy Clarkson affectionately calls us, but then I wonder: Why are so many people offended by what a relatively small European country, about a third the size of Texas and an economy hardly more prolific than that of California, have to say about them?
No 'they' don't, on the contrary, 'they' hope that America's influence and relevance in international affairs will be restored and that it's diplomacy gets back on track as it is and will remain a primordial player on the global scene. In my opinion, the result of the masquerade of a foreign policy is what has divided the western world instead of speaking of one voice against the rising influence of 'objectable' un-democratic hard-lined governments such as Iran, Syria and many others who happen to be on neutral terms with or get the favors of Russia and China.
edit: d#mn UBB code...
[Edited 2008-03-14 07:27:08]
Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
I think that Navs reaction is a bit of the Entente not so cordiale. I was in the UK at that time too and I do not remember any of that feeling - must have been different in the deep south. I can see why some are reaching for the gun to shoot the messenger, or the chain to flush his ideas down the gurgler. Alas the time for this sort of thing has not, as yet arrived:
"He then carefully couched this statement by noting that, in general, "we have to talk with our enemies," and that Fatah, which controls the West Bank, "always said they were in favor" of unity talks with Hamas. But after Hamas routed Fatah forces from Gaza in June, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, has refused to deal with Hamas, which he accused of committing a coup. Kouchner, of the Socialist left in France, stirred controversy when he accepted the offer from President Nicolas Sarkozy, leader of the Gaullist center-right, to join his government last May.
But he conceded that practicing the new diplomacy - which he defined as being action that is more practical, multifaceted and realistic than mere protocol calls and visits - "is very difficult, and very time-consuming." "
Eventually, we will all have to move past the catch cry of "we will not negotiate with terrorists" when all the world knows that we will and we have to, and of course a new administration might be willing to concede that diplomacy is time consuming.
It is not the right place for the blinkered vision of the neo-cons and "efforts" of the dilettantes.
Thanks, Jonathan-I - you're probably half-right. Or even more than half; I did fly off the handle a bit.
What got me though was his pessimism in suggesting that it will take a long time for the USA to redeem itself. There are people in the USA who say that it should maybe be less of a republic and more of a democracy - and I tend to agree with them, Americans often pay a high price for a system that hands very wide powers to a president who (given even reasonable luck) can exercise them 'without let or hindrance' for the next eight years.
But that system has the advantage that when things DO change, those 'very wide powers' ensure that they can change quickly. Heaven knows which of the three current presidential contenders will finish up being sworn in next January, but one thing we know already is that they are all a damn sight more intelligent than the idiot Dubya. So we can all be reasonably confident that US foreign policy will be a lot more sensible and constructive from January 2008 on.
And the other thing to remember is the sheer energy of the United States, the speed with which any such changes can be implemented. That's one of the advantages of a republic, as opposed to a true democracy. My favourite quote on that subject is probably Churchill's 1941 recollection of the words of Sir Edward Grey, the night after Pearl Harbor:-
"Silly people - and there were many, not only in enemy countries - might discount the force of the United States. Some said they were soft, others that they would never be united. They would fool around at a distance. They would never come to grips. They would never stand blood-letting. Their democracy and system of recurrent elections would paralyze their war effort. They would be just a vague blur on the horizon to friend or foe. Now we should see the weakness of this numerous but remote, wealthy, and talkative people. But I had studied the American Civil War, fought out to the last desperate inch. American blood flowed in my veins. I thought of a remark which Edward Grey had made to me more than thirty years before‹that the United States is like "a gigantic boiler. Once the fire is lighted under it there is no limit to the power it can generate."
Klaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21346 posts, RR: 54 Reply 23, posted (5 years 9 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 2841 times:
Quoting Dougloid (Reply 16): And you speak for the rest of the world and know what they're thinking?
The former - no.
The latter - yes.
It is not a secret at all for those who keep their eyes and ears open.
I cannot recommend you enough to acquaint yourself with the Pew Global Attitudes Project, which regularly conducts worldwide surveys, with the attitudes towards the USA and their policies featuring prominently:
And the more detailed suveys clearly show that it has nothing to do with "anti-americanism" springing up for no particular reason; The resentment of the US policies is clearly rooted in the policies and attitudes of the Bush administration. The USA as such is generally held in significantly higher regard but the Bush administration has managed to severely tarnish the previously rather positive image of the country.
Regarding Kouchner's statement, I must agree up to a point - the USA had established itself as the legitimate and thus uncontested leader of the free world during and after WWII.
The Bush administration has managed to destroy that legitimacy in the eyes of the world; And as a consequence the exceptional position the USA once enjoyed will most probably not be recoverable after it had been abused to the extent we've seen.
The world has changed. And unfortunately 9-11 as a chance for worldwide unity in a common purpose has been thrown away for the illusion of absolute global domination without any accountability.
Extremely unfortunate, and the reason why the USA will probably never again enjoy the almost unconditional support they once had.