I just read a surprisingly candid and well balanced news item from Reuters. The article discusses a recent survey which showed that trust between France and the US is at a record low.
The level of distrust is higher in France than in the US. 70% of the French respondents claimed that America wasn’t a “loyal ally”, while 56% of people questioned in the US said that France wasn’t a “reliable partner”.
I’m not conversant in French myself, so I can’t be sure if this is a reliable translation of the questions that were actually used. If they are then I see a distinct difference in attitudes between the 2 countries just through the words ally and partner.
The author goes on to point out that the rejection of the European Union constitution by French voters was mainly driven by the French political Left, who are suspicious of American free market capitalism. This section of French society is also the most hostile to America. Considering the historical track record of the Socialist systems that they seem to favor, they’re only going to get more angry as their economy gets dragged further into the toilet by the welfare state they’ve created.
But putting all of that aside, I think it’s telling that many more French citizens are suspicious of the US than Americans are of the French. This indicates to me that France is going to be more unreasonable and resistant to any efforts to repair the rift.
I’m rather glad that the two countries are having problems right now. Conflict destroys false impressions and lets everyone know where they stand. We now find ourselves in the midst of a war, a global struggle against religious fanatics bent on our destruction. It’s always best to know who your friends are before you’re forced to rely on them.