RETHINKING OUR POSITION ON FRANCE...

Mar 15th, 2003, 08:01 AM
  #1  
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RETHINKING OUR POSITION ON FRANCE...


There seems to be no shortage on how many (American) tourists feel about France. A certain faction on this board will defend the French position regardless of logic. Up till recently I've been pretty supportive and I still feel that anyone should travel to anywhere they want. However, a little objective research is causing me to rethink my position.

Each passing day seems to offer more evidence of France’s clandestine business relationship with the strong-arm regime of Sadaam Hussein in Iraq.

Although France was a contributor to the unanimous passing of U.N. Resolution 1441, it seems that the Chirac government has been doing literally BILLIONS of dollars in trade in spite of the international community’s “strict” sanctions.

This of course puts a new, albeit unflattering, light on France’s anti-war posturing, taking it from the illusion of some sort of high-minded humanitarian stance to a decidedly lowbrow, power-of-the-almighty-Euro, lets-make-a-deal genre. There is the also underlying contention that, by continuing to do business with Iraq, France is selfishly buying its own security from terrorism. Chirac is, apparently, the master of duplicity.
By 1982, Iraq accounted for 40 per cent of all France’s arms sales. Mirage fighters, Exocet missiles and armored vehicles included.
While the French now claim to want to give the UN weapons inspectors more time, there is no mention of the fact that they abstained when it came to setting up the harsher inspection policy in 1999.
It is no secret to the global neighborhood that a 1997 pact with Sadaam sets up an unholy alliance for future oil sales to France, Russia, and China. Furthermore Iraq is admittedly in debt to Russia for what works out to be about 9 billion (U. S.) dollars and to France for at least 6 billion. Then there is the business about the French selling components to build a nuclear reactor to Iran a while back.

Francophiles say that a boycott of French products would be nothing more than a hollow gesture and would prove nothing. However, taking note of the fact that the American deficit in relation to France was about 9 billion dollars at last count (America spent 9 billion more in trade with France than what France bought/traded from the U. S.) then of course a boycott might make very good economic sense indeed and, at the same time, be extremely effective. While some think of a boycott as simply no longer buying French food and wine, others point out that the U. S. is one of France’s biggest clients for their aerospace equipment production, which amounts to 1/3 of that nation’s income.

FOX Network’s Dick Morris said (3-11-03) that IF France indeed veto’s the latest Allied resolution that, rather than simply boycotting French products, the real protest would be for American travelers to take France off of their itinerary. France is the number one destination for American travelers and accounts for billions of dollars of revenue directly from the pocket of Americans into the pockets of the French.

Those who decry America’s stand on Sadaam’s regime as simply an economic consideration and those who have been carrying signs saying “no blood for oil,” will have to find a new poster boy for their cause as Chirac is now definitely tainted and damaged goods.

Do the French people support Chirac? Hard to say, since generally (if not unbelievably) 20% or so still vote a communist ticket. By contrast, at or over 20% recently voted for Jean-Marie Le Pen, a neo-fascist. That leaves barely half of potential French voters to decide between Jacques and his next electoral opponent, hardly a resounding majority. The French apparently need to decide which side of the fence they’re on before irreparable damage is done in the relationships with the rest of the “free” world.
DiAblo is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 08:09 AM
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So you are basically saying don't go to countries that don't agree with the American stance? You all don't rule the world you know.
LissaJ is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 08:17 AM
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Of course we do...you drink Coca Cola, wear Levis, watch American movies, listen to American music, drive Fords and love Pizza Hut, Burger King, McDonalds, visit Euro disneyland and that pales imitation of a beer..Budweiser is the fastest growing beer in Europe! (tongue in cheek here!)

And btw a boycott of French travel is growing!

Just remember the French have always been there when they need you!

US
uncle_sam is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 08:22 AM
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My wife and I truly enjoy Paris and the Loire Valley. But I can tell you we will not give any of my tourist money to them for a long time to come.

DiAblo hit the nail on the head, Chirac only wants to protect the illegal trade he and France have been running with Iraq and try to prove that he is a newly crowned leader of Europe and the world. Guess what, he and France are not.

I can't wait for Bush to call him out and make him veto us, so we can see him for the fraud he is.
yea_yea_yea is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 08:25 AM
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Very well done DiAblo.
Cancelled my trip to France back in early February.
armand is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 08:35 AM
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It's always wonderful to argue motives, since they can't be proven. Regarding Iraq, there is legitimate debate over the best method to handle that situation. France is not an ally of Saddam Hussein and it is tiresome to see attempts to cast things in that light or to imply them. Should we have boycotted Canada because they haven't supported our long-standing and wrong-headed policy on Cuba? Did it make sense to give China most favored nation trading status in light of their record on human rights, Tibet, etc.? Foreign policies of all nations are filled with duplicity and protection of various parochial interests. In addition, they are often voiced in the direction of specific constituencies. It seems to me that too many people are saying that other people and nations are entitled to their opinions, but only so long as they agree with their own. The United Nations is not a world governing body; it is simply a political body that gives a good indication of how certain policies are playing in the international community. When you ask questions, you must be willing to listen to the answers and when you want agreement you must be able to make a clear and convincing case. That could still happen with respect to the U.S. position on Iraq, but it clearly has not happened yet.
Flyboy is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 09:34 AM
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Very well spoken, Flyboy, a heartfelt, intelligent, and sincere reply. On many points I agree. America’s policy with Cuba has been and still is outlandish, but that’s a nearly 50-year-old (albeit still pertinent) case. Giving China “most favored nation status” is a cruel and ugly joke. There is no argument that many nations disagree on many issues.

But I am not discoursing on “motives,” at all and must’ve made my conclusions unclear. I am basing my opinion on actions.

Without refrencing back to other “ancient history,” figures (Stalin, Kruschev, and their ilk) it is rare to find the duplicity of an “ally” such as were CURRENTLY (as in, “right now”) with France. The wolf in sheep’s clothing ploy has rarely been so obvious as the scenario playing out AS WE SPEAK with Chirac. For him to present himself as a voice of reason and compassion is really nothing short of ludicrous and if France’s trade position with Iraq doesn’t constitute an alliance I’d be hard pressed to know what does.

LisaJ seems to have deliberately mis-read or mis-interpreted my post, not unusual on this site as there is an almost rabidly blind devotion to all thing French on Foders, based in part I think on sentimental images created in old American films and in cheap romance novels. I have been to France and have enjoyed the country, the culture, and the history immeasurably. I was planning a trip for fall and may or may not go, depending of course on how all this plays out. Up till this point I have never had any feelings against France or, for that matter, the French government.

But unfortunately Chirac seems determined to be the new DeGaulle and that is a questionable aspiration at best. Both pattern themselves, at least to a degree, after the great French “hero,” Napoleon Bonaparte, one of history’s most reprehensible characters. (As is often pointed out, Napoleon single-handedly invented the concept of the concentration camp in his single-minded attempt to dominate the world!)

But rest assured that I am indeed basing my observation purely on fact rather than emotion. In doing so I for one find it harder and harder to empathize or sympathize with the French position and worry that Chirac is setting himself up to irreparably damage his county’s position and reputation not only with the United States but with the Western world in general.
DiAblo is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 09:35 AM
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"France’s clandestine business relationship with the strong-arm regime of Sadaam Hussein in Iraq."

Have you any idea how many dictators we have done business with in the past for "the good of our country?" How about selling arms to Hussein in their war against Iraq; arming the Taliban in their war against Russia; keeping the Shah in power in Iran; we were even buddies with Noriega and then put him in jail; I'm particularly fond of Reagan's hanky panky in Central America.

That's all okay, but France is out of line?

No amount of twisted explanations will ever make me understand that difference!
Giovanna is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 09:53 AM
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Giovanna
If I understand your argument correctly, you are not defending the French position. Instead, you are saying that because the US engaged in reprehensible alliances in the past, it is alright for the French to do so now. Interesting logic!
ET is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 09:54 AM
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I unfortunately have to go on my French holiday this year. We are booked to stay in a Gite and the two weeks stay is already paid in full plus our ferry crossing. I do not have grounds to cancel as my insurance would not cover a change of mind so I stand to lose all my money.

I have to admit that if I start to feel any worse about this I can see myself taking the loss just to avoid the place.

To my mind this was not just about asking France's support for war it was about keeping a united front to force Saddam Hussein into a corner.

We had the bully on the ground with his arm twisted behind his back when France stepped forward and allowed him up again and tried to make us all feel as if we were wrong to tackle him in the first place.

France have made war more likely.
France have actively pursued a strategy which lets Saddam Hussein off the hook.
France have helped reduce the power and the credibility of the UN.

This is about more than a childish "I don't like your policies, so I won't visit your country." As some people have suggested. This is about France taking the world back several steps. This is about France exhibiting standards that are dangerous and disloyal in the extreme.

We cannot allow them to feel that we will just countenance yet another act of disloyalty and double standards from them. This time they have gone too far and no amount of pretty villages, gourmet food and fine wines can undo how many of us feel right now.

Buzzy
 
Mar 15th, 2003, 10:02 AM
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Giovanna,

Wow, that's a real revelation and who cares!

As Disareli told the Queen, "your majesty Great Britain has no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests."

And if some two bit dictator serves our interests at the time...so be it!

US
uncle_sam is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 10:06 AM
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ET: Interesting take on my post. Actually I was pointing out the lack of logic in the original poster's argument. How can he fault another country for doing what they feel is in their best interests, when we constantly do the same thing and then wonder why so many countries hate us.

This whole boycott mentality (even down to fries and disinterring WWII servicemen)is ludicrous. The boycott on Iraq has done nothing to topple Hussein and instead created hardships for the people; the ridiculous boycott on Cuba only services to give Castro an excuse for their bad economy, i.e. in the US's fault.

I just don't understand, "Do as I say, but don't do as I do."

Giovanna is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 10:10 AM
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'The boycott on Iraq has done nothing to topple Hussein and instead created hardships for the people;"

Giovanna.

And Mr Hussein could have ended it any time during the past 12 years!

Instead he took whatever $$$ he made fom oil during that period, legally and illegally, and he enriched his own coffers and built numerous palaces.

Yo want to blame someone darlin...blame the bad guy!

US
uncle_sam is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 10:11 AM
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"And if some two bit dictator serves our interests at the time...so be it!"

That's terrific. I have no desire to play brain games with someone who is unarmed.

Giovanna is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 10:15 AM
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Then you need not get into the battle!

It must be tough for you to compete when you have a vacuum packed ear separator instead of a brain!

BTW, go hide and watch..this will be over soon and then you can come back out and continiue your bitchin!

US
uncle_sam is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 10:28 AM
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Giovanna,

Here is an example...see if you can follow along!

We had a very goood friend in the ME named the Shah of Iran. Now he was a dicator, just like the Saudis, and a number of leftists like Ted Kennedy and his cronies just couldn't wait to have him removed from power.

So, we remove our support and sure enough you lefties got your wish...the Shah was gone...and guess what replaced him?

You guessed it.... an anti American theocracy of wacko Muslim fundamentalists that led to a whole bunch of Americans being hostage in that God forsaken hell hole.

Now, the only good thing to come of this high and holy desire to eliminate our friendship with that evil dictator the Shah was that that the naive Jimmy Carter screwed it up so badly that we were able to elect Ronald Reagan!

US
uncle_sam is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 10:33 AM
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This is a purely political post and has no business being on this board. The fact that you used the word "tourists" to cover your tracks doesn't cut it.

I think Fodor's needs to start hitting the delete button. I, for one, am tired of these posts. It's not enough we have to see it on televsion 24 hours a day, but here too on a travel forum?

Yes, I can understand the posts directly related to travel and the impending war, but not the posts that are a soapbox for someone's political views.

Let's move on, shall we?
Biscuit is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 10:34 AM
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I will soon buy a new French car, I bought lots of French wine yesterday, and I am thinking of travelling to France soon. Just to let you know that there are also people that believe that the French do the right thing in opposing this unjust war, that is only about America's oil interests and Bush' re-election.
Sjoerd is offline  
Mar 15th, 2003, 11:55 AM
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OK... Just because a country has very different views on things to USA ie doesn't have Mcdonalds on every street corner is that justification to go to War with them...who's next North Korea?
Azerbeijan??
Uncle Sam I hope that you have the opportunity to fight on the front line alongside some of the brave people who do so because they are told to do so.
Give your cheap shot arguement for war to the parents and brothers and sisters of the people who come back home in body bags.

Muck
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Mar 15th, 2003, 12:10 PM
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I don't want war but for me France's voice at the UN is like Satan preaching in St. Peter's. France's bloodthirstiness in WWI, it's cowardice in WWII, it's evil military in Algeria, its UN resolution-breaking nuclear testing in the Pacific, and its everlasting anti-Semitism makes me fervently wish that a more legitimate and moral hand was carrying the banner of Peace. I'm sure my father, an Army Chaplin who died in Normandy in 1944 and who hated war, would wish the same thing.
Charlie41134 is offline  

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