Superfrenchie asks a recurrent question about the US-France relation that considerably soured in 2003 over the Iraq war.
“Is France still the bogeyman for the American right?”
The instances of France being labeled as the stereotypical left-leaning and soft European country by the right wing rhetoric abound: Romney’s stump speeches, Ney coining the term “freedom fries” and McCain comparing France to an aged actress trying to survive on past looks.
It seems that the attitude has slightly changed since 2003. In the comment section of the aforementioned post, Nicolas Krebbs posts the following quote from an US expatriate in France:
“As an American living in France, I can tell you that Europeans can’t believe the arrogance the Bush administration has shown with many decisions and comments that spelled a “we don’t need anyone” attitude. Really? Now the Bush needs Europe and the rest of the world to help solve the financial crisis which happened under his guard. Most Europeans think that an Obama administration will mend fences and treat the rest of the world with the respect they deserve. Expats in France had to put up with American insults to the French, from being called cowards, to “freedom fries”, and pouring down the drain French wine, etc. etc. So who was right? Was Iraq a threat to National Security for the US? Facts show it wasn’t.”
However, there are still some lingering uneasy feelings and misunderstandings between both sides. Charles Brenner, correspondent of the Times in Paris wrote on a blog post entitled Obama, the French American Idol :
France has an idealised and schizophrenic view of the United States that dates back to 1776 when King Louis XVI helped the colonial insurgents fight Britain's peace-keeping force. France feels that it has a founding share in the nation which bestowed jazz, GIs, cocktails, JFK and Clint Eastwood on Europe. It dislikes what it sees as the more primary, messianic and intolerant America that is represented by Republicans and personified by George W Bush.
His blog post prompted some strong reactions:
“That cinches it! If the white- flag waving French want Obama….that means McCain- Palin is the correct choice!”
and Scott K adds:
The French, arrogant, snobbish people that they are, would love nothing more to see our country to become as polluted as theirs is now. Liberalism has wrecked Europe. It has been especially brutal in France. France is a disaster. Obama would bring this wreck to the US. So of course France supports Obama. Let Obama go live in France. psst… France… This is not France….THIS IS THE UNITED STATES. GO F YOURSELVES!
However, republicans leaders seem to be warming up to a normalized relationship with France. McCain embraces the fact that president Sarkozy is more willing to cooperate with the US than his predecessor:
“I think relations with France will continue to improve no matter who is president of the United States because this president is committed to greater cooperation and values our friendship.”