Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Thursday, March 25, 2004

French bashing
Written by: Beck

Most Americans have an instinctive disdain for the French. We engage in French bashing with reckless abandon. Even as PC as our culture has become, it seems France bashing has remained an island of allowable discrimination. And I love it. It's one of the last truly bipartisan pastimes Americans can enjoy together. Take the phrase "Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys." It was the Simpson's, whose creator/writer Matt Groening is a Democrat (he donated $2000 to the John Kerry campaign), that coined the famous meme to describe the French, while arch-conservative Jonah Goldberg has adopted it as one of his favorite phrases.

While no one really needs an explanation for this cross-Atlantic antipathy (especially not after French refusal to back the Iraq invasion, followed by the emergence of evidence of just how much French intermediaries, many of them closely connected to the French government, profited off of the oil-for-food program), still, if you ask the average American for an explanation of the origins of this animosity, the best most of them can come up with is that the French are generally disdainful, have rude waiters, and smell funny.

Well Gabriel Gonzales over at Winds of Change has written an extensive article explaining just why in hell it is Americans can't stand the French. Turns out, it's for some pretty good reasons. In his article Gonzales argues that France isn't just an ordinary nation pursuing its self interest, but rather, structural and cultural aspects of France lead to a systemicly confrontational stance with the United States, and frankly, the entire Anglosphere.

For starters, a bit that nicely summarizes French foreign policy:
Timmerman points out France's irresponsible dealings with Iraq, which included conditional oil contracts, huge infrastructure deals (construction, roads, utilities, etc.), as well as illegal weapons sales and perhaps even bribes under the UN oil-for-food regime. This was a major part of French policy to undermine the sanctions regime, which was an aspect of its broader policy of triangulating against the U.S. to promote its commercial and strategic interests, especially with corrupt regimes abandoned by the U.S. (Saddam, Iran, Sudan, Cuba...).
Gonzales goes on to argue that protecting these lucrative Iraq deals wasn't even the root cause of French interference in the UN Security Council against an Iraq invasion. Rather, it was part of a broader strategy of courting dictatorial regimes across the world in an attempt to build a bloc in opposition to America's sphere of influence.

He also points out that an American government could never get away with such overtly nefarious behavior. His explanation for why France's government has carte blanche from its citizens to pursue such goals was, in my opinion, the most telling point in the entire article.
What allows France to engage in such conduct much more freely than the U.S. is:

  1. A thoroughly corrupt business culture and state bureaucracy (that has a paranoid view of itself as being in a fierce Machiavellian competition with a U.S. business establishment presumed to be equally or more ruthless),

  2. The demonization of an imperialist United States as a distraction, and

  3. The passive support of its citizenry.
This last point - the passive support of the citizenry - is very important to understand: unlike the U.S., France has effectively no political or citizen control over its foreign policy, which is a purely executive function. This stems from the relationship of the citizen to the State: whereas state power is perceived as inherently dangerous by Americans in our historical tradition of skepticism towards official power, the French centralized state is glorified by its citizenry as the ultimate protector of citizen interests, rather than as a danger to them. As a result, the citizenry has little interest in the details, substance or moral dimension of foreign policy, which are fully delegated and blindly entrusted to this Collective Protector.
Essentially, the French have neither a concept of nor a concern for the frank and unashamed corrupt behavior of their government.
In the frigate bribes scandal, there is no public or media curiosity to speak of about which government officials were using bribes to procure these contracts and what they might of done. Who cares? The sole preoccupation is how much the state and thus the citizenry stands to lose in the lawsuit brought by Taiwan (currently the subject of French military intimidation, as mentioned). In the Executive Life matter, it took 6 months for the opposition even to raise any question about the propriety of the government using the public treasury to negotiate protection from criminal prosecution for Chirac's personal friend, the billionaire Francois Pinault.
Anyway, I highly recommend reading the article in its entire. It's lucid and well reasoned points make a strong case for why the US should not consider France an ally in any way, shape, or form. And now I leave you with a money quote:
I am not sure that "evil" is the right word, but France is, among Western powers, the closest one can get to a "rogue" state.

Contact The Author:

John Beck

Feedback Welcomed

Greatest Hits

The Complete United Nations Posts
Immoderate Moderates
Marketing Myopia
In defense of the Republic
UKIP in America
Playing Connect the Dots
A Point So Often Missed: The Presence of an Administered Rate
Reagan Remembrance
Dr. Wolfowitz, or How I Supported the Right War Waged in the Wrong Way for the Wrong Reasons
Divine Right of Kings and UN Mandates
A Fantastic Idea, If I Do Say So Myself
Why We Were Right to Liberate Iraq
The Crisis of Conservatism

Blogs Worth Bookmarking

Steal The Blinds
Poor Dudley's Almanac
Protein Wisdom
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
New Sisyphus
Jim Treacher
Ace of Spades
Captain's Quarters
Rambling's Journal
Neolibertarian Blog
LLP Group Blog
The Llama Butchers
The Castle Argghhh
The Politburo Diktat
The Dissident Frogman
In Search of Utopia
Aaron's cc:
You Know You Wanna
Classical Values
Clowning Glory
Vice Squad
Hit & Run
Link Mecca
The Corner
Power Line
Michelle Malkin
Mises Institute
marchand chronicles
Enlighten - New Jersey

More Top Reads

SlagleRock's Slaughterhouse
This Blog is Full of Crap
Who Tends the Fires
The Bleat
Outside the Beltway
Small Dead Animals
Kim du Toit
Tman in Tennessee
Hog On Ice
Pardon My English
Mr. Minority
Speed Of Thought
La Shawn Barber
Right Wing News
USS Clueless
Belmont Club
Shades of Gray
Seldom Sober
Roger L. Simon
Tacoma Blaze
A Small Victory
Murdoc Online
Iraq Elections Diatribe
Winds of Change
Enlighten - New Jersey
Random Fate
Riding Sun
The Daily File
Matt "The Man" Margolis
Bastard Sword
Roller Coaster of Hate

News Links

Blogger News Network
National Review Online
Tech Central Station
The Drudge Report
Reason Online
Mises Institute
The Weekly Standard
Front Page Magazine
Town Hall

Affiliations, Accolades, & Acknowledgements

The Neolibertarian Network


Image Hosted by
"More tallent than a million monkeys with typewriters."
--Glenn Reynolds

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Life, Liberty, Property Community

Reciprocal Blogrolling

Accidental Verbosity
Conservative Eyes
The Moderate Voice
Perpetual Three-Dot Column
Sudan Watch
Mystery Achievement
Le Sabot Post-Moderne
Comment Me No Comments
New Spew

Links That Amuse the Writers

Huffington's Toast
The IFOC News
Dave Barry's Blog
Drum Machine
Something Awful
Cox & Forkum
Exploding Dog


March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
August 2006
March 2007
May 2007
June 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
September 2008
November 2008
December 2008
March 2009
April 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009

The Elephant Graveyard

We Are Full of Shit
The Sicilian
The Diplomad
Insults Unpunished
Fear & Loathing in Iraq
Right Wingin-It
Serenity's Journal
Son of Nixon
Rachel Lucas


Site Design by Maystar
Ask not for whom the blog tolls...
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

Listed on Blogwise
Blogarama - The Blog Directory


Image Hosted by

Email Questions and Comments

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
eXTReMe Tracker