January 05, 2005
The Tsunami Disaster As Seen From Le Monde
Caption reads (translation): "Let me handle it. I know the country well."
The execrable cartoonist of Le Monde, Plantu, hitting yet another low. Over 155,000 people have died in this massive tsunami disaster. The U.S. is spearheading critical aid efforts in the region. Little matter, of course. Better to make snide commentary along the lines that, hey they destroyed Iraq--and so are well suited to handling such calamities. Sick thought process, no?
Note the cartoon is linked to this story entitled "How the U.N. is Coordinating Aid to a Devastated Asia." What's it about? Basically, French resentment that the U.S. is making a bid at being the leader of a "humanitarian coalition" assisting the hundreds of thousands devastated by the massive seaquake. The short article is, encore, obsessed with the U.N. (read: France) having a major role! Yawn.
It gets worse. In an article on the American humanitarian effort in Indonesia, after a lengthy preamble about how unpopular the Iraq war effort was in Indonesia etc etc., this gem:
Colin Powell, qui se trouve à Bangkok et doit se rendre à Djakarta, essaie de faire comprendre le sens de la démarche : "Nous ne recherchons aucun avantage politique", assure le secrétaire d'Etat américain. "Nous n'essayons pas de nous faire mieux voir par les musulmans, affirme-t-il. Nous le faisons parce que des êtres humains en ont besoin, en ont même désespérément besoin." Autrement dit, même les avions de reconnaissance américains P-3 Orion qui survolent Atjeh ne cherchent qu'à repérer les destructions pour faciliter l'aide humanitaire.
Translation: Colin Powell, who is in Bangkok and is on his way to Jakarta, tries to make sense of the [U.S. initiative]: "We are not looking for any political advantage," assured the U.S. Secretary of State. "We are not trying to make ourselves look better in the eyes of Muslims," he affirmed. "We are doing it because human beings need it, even desperately need it." In other words, the P-3 Orion American reconnaissance planes that are flying over Aceh are only surveying the destruction to facilitate the humanitarian effort. [emphasis added]
Note the staggering sarcasm. We are doing recon over Aceh, not really to help (wink wink) but to perhaps prepare another oppressive, anti-Muslim adventure we've got up our sleeve. Absurd and insulting. Memo to Le Monde and their ilk: Get over yourselves. You are a middle power, lucky to have a U.N. Security Council seat still, and with little resources to mount the kind of operations the U.S. is currently pursuing in places like Indonesia.
Rather than commend the U.S., if just for a moment in the midst of this immense tragedy, Le Monde's journalists and cartoonists prefer to insinuate that the U.S. has nefarious motives in Indonesia, or make crude fun of the difficulties in Iraq having 'prepared' us for Indonesia's blight. Such sad fare isn't just wrong, tasteless, petty and rancidly provincial. It speaks of a society, like contemporary Germany, that is ailing and so needs scapegoats. It's not politically correct to look internally for them anymore. So everyone loves to beat up that favorite bogeyman--the U.S.--out of a mixture of incomprehension, envy, fascination, stupidity and crude stereotyping. It's sad really.
Look, don't get me wrong. I love many things about France. And we cooperate with them in places like Haiti, Afghanistan (though their contribution there is rather paltry), critical intelligence sharing on terror. But France has become a society in desperate need of fresh thinking, different directions, new horizons. Sarkozy would help--though there is no easy panacea. After all, this kind of myopic, obnoxiously self-interested news treatment of this massive tragedy speaks volumes, doesn't it?
Posted by Gregory at January 5, 2005 05:25 AM
It always amazes me to see the warped view people in other countries have of ours. That is, until I remember the warped view some people who have lived here their whole lives have of us.
Here via Glenn, who claims this is a tsunami update. I fail to find anything new about the French resentment of the US. Little wonder when they are fed such nonsense as responsible news.
The easiest way to answer this cartoon is a real picture of a Navy helicopter providing real boxes with real food and aid.
It just makes me sad - sad at the decline of such a great country, sad that I went to the trouble to learn their language, sad that their intellectual elite has decided to start a cold war that they can't win.
I have long felt the perfidity and pique of the French toward the US is the most underreported foreign policy story of our times. Why do we not insist, as part of any fundemental reform of the UN, that the French seat and veto should pass to the EU, just as the Soviet Union's seat went pretty seamlessly to Russia? I think this would be an excellent issue for the Democrats to do a "sista soulja" with, only people that sincerely believe in the ideals of Wilson and FDR can make this argument. Holbrooke and Co., listening?
Perhaps someone should ask that pathetic cartoonist how many helicopters, planes etc, the French military are able to send to such places.
France is a wonderful country in many ways, but their "intellectual" establishment is pure poison.
The Department of Defense is providing assistance to the governments of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and other affected nations as they deal with the effects of the earthquake and tsunami. U.S. military operations are in support of overall U.S. government assistance efforts, and are being conducted in coordination with international organizations, non governmental organizations and other nations.
SUPPORT TO DATE PERSONNEL:
There are 13,003 US Navy, Marine, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard service members involved in
providing relief support.
Currently on Ground: 1402 Currently afloat: 11,601
Sri Lanka 167
13 US Navy ships
6 Maritime Pre-positioning ships (MPS)
1 US Coast Guard vessel
16 - C-130 Medium Lift cargo aircraft
9 - P-3 Reconnaissance aircraft
4 - KC -135 Medium Lift/refueling aircraft
46 helicopters are in the region
17 helicopters from USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN Carrier Strike Group.
25 helicopters from USS BONHOMME RICHARD Expeditionary Strike Group
4 land-based helicopters
Missions flown Relief supplies and equipment delivered to region
Recon assessment 28
intra- theater 328
Helicopters 37 55,000 lbs
JTF LEVEL OF EFFORT TO DATE:
460, 000 lbs of relief supplies delivered
316,664 lbs water, 135, 102 lbs food, 8,246 lbs medical supplies (non-medicine)
USPACOM's Joint Intelligence Center Pacific, (JPAC) estimates causalities at 150,000.
The list is at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jan2005/d20050104Tsunami.pdf
Leland wrote: The easiest way to answer this cartoon is a real picture of a Navy helicopter providing real boxes with real food and aid.
Correct, but Just try to get it published in France. And that's the point, France, Germany, Europe is full of one-sided, vicious, unrelenting, anti-American propaganda.
I've said it before and I'll probably say it again: Too bad the tsunami didn't hit one of France's coasts.
Embrassez mon bout, Frenchies!
Easycure, you hit the nail on the head. By their continued denegration of the US at the expense of inviting more attacks against us, they have earned our derision. Here in Canada, I have taken my children out of a French immersion school, and placed them in an English school. The thought of any more French-ness in my house makes me sick.
i'm almost through reading "the french betrayal of america" by kenneth timmerman [worked in france for over 20 years] and somehow we need to put them on mute. a lot of what was going on leading up to iraq and current is a mirror image of their behavior during the cold war. clandestine sales to the soviets of cloaking devices that allowed a soviet sub to slip into u.s. waters without detection, etc. arguing half empty/half full is useless - time will be the judge.
If any of you had the breading of an alley-cat, you'd appreciate that what we have here is a perfect example of a vintage French whine. Humble yourselves in the rich glow of its distinctly French illogic!...marvel at the majesty of its complete perfidy with regard to the US, Indonesia and all non-French humanity!...tremble at your own weak inability to be so absolutely self-importantly self-absorbed!
"In other words, the P-3 Orion American reconnaissance planes that are flying over Aceh are only surveying the destruction to facilitate the humanitarian effort."
Or maybe they are there to help coordinate the massive amount of cargo planes and relief helicopters in the area. Of course, the most obvious explanation seems to be the most absurd as far as the French are concerned.
By the way, is that article a news piece or is it an Op-ed? If it is the former, then it is a gross example of bias coverage.
Yes indeed, those nasty French are in need of some fresh thinking. I suggest that we invade them. I am sure they will gather in the streets to toss flowers at our troops. Then, with a pro-American lodgement in Europe, we will be poised to Americanize the whole continent.
But wait, they have nuclear weapons, don't they?
Perhaps a cartoon of French diplomats sneering about the US aid effort while French citizens die in the tens of thousands due to something as predictable and answerable as hot weather. But hey, they get a lot of vacation time...
Sorry to say I have nothing good to say about that wretched country.
A recent commenter on the blog Diplomad (http://diplomadic.blogspot.com/) scared the hell out of me.
I posted in my blog about it that, basically "this Frenchman would rather we wait until the UN is ready before we act. He would rather people die, that we let tens of thousands of wounded have their injuries turn gangrenous, that thousands more die of thirst, starvation and exposure, in order to support a principle: unilateralism."
I think you missed the point of the comment "I know the country well."
I think they are dinging us for meddling in Indonesia in the past. We may not be responsible for the tsunami itself but we are responsible for the brutal government and all other bad things there. Whatever they are.
I don't get an Iraq read out of it.
One has to wonder if there isn't a tad bit of projection going on.
Perhaps the French are concerned that, by providing the lion's share of aid, the United States will then be able to dominate the lion's share of reconstruction contracts and use global aid to pay off its own debts?
Isn't that somewhat akin to French charges about being excluded from contracts and bids in Iraq?
And of course, if we DIDN'T help Indonesia, we'd be anti-Muslim bastards. What's French for "Damned if you do, damned if you don't"?
In fact, we'd probably get criticized even if our aid package was staggering, because no matter how huge it is it wouldn't be enough and it wouldn't have been promised fast enough and they'd call us "stingy" and... oh wait, that's exactly what happened.
Oh, and MarkTheSnark - that trollbait is so old that the bucket reeks to high heaven. Gotta do better than that. Some fresh material, OK? Hugs.
I suggest that we invade them. I am sure they will gather in the streets to toss flowers at our troops. Then, with a pro-American lodgement in Europe, we will be poised to Americanize the whole continent.
Didn't that happen already?
Having recently spent time in both France and the UK I can say that this sentiment is expressed a lot more strongly in Great Britain than in France. The resentment and oneupmanship was bleeding through every line uttered by the BBC reports and anchors. French media was actually much more subdued.
It the not to distant past the area was know as "French indonesia". Sour grapes at loss of colonial influence ?
French IndoCHINA (now Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos) is not Indonesia, and was not affected by the tsunami.
Le monde, Il a besoin d'être giflé avec mon grand serpent noir.
The worst Plantu cartoon in Le Monde was for the 60th anniversary of the Allied liberation of Paris. The cartoon showed triumphant American troops marching surrendered Nazis out of Paris, with the German troops saying "Please don't send us to Gitmo!"
Thanks for nothing, Americans.
Yeah, they're jerks, but let's be fair now. If we can't expect our *own* media to give us a fair shake, why should we expect better from the French?
The awful cartoon sympathizing with Nazis, villifying Americans who just liberated Paris
Hmm, I read the article and didn't find that it had the sarcasm that you described. It seemed to me as if the author was actually impressed that even our spy planes were being put to humanitarian use.
Don't get me wrong, I'm no Francophile (I lived too long in France), but it seems like they're in the clear on this one (the article at least, the comic's another story).
The French have been, unfortunately, an example of “bulldog mouth – puppy dog ass” going back to when Vercengetorix (Gallic Warrior Chief), surrounded by the Romans, forced Gallic women and children out of his camp and into the arms of the enemy – they ate too much food. Post-Colonial, Post -WWII, the French intellectual class, perhaps shattered and resentful at their national vulnerability, embarked down a path of pathological cynicism and philosophical deadenders including Andre Malreaux and Jacques Derrida. This, kind of, puts modern France in perspective.
When watching France2 TV I'm sometimes terrifically offended by the amount of (usually anti-American) op-ed that enters into what should be a straightforwardly factual piece of reporting. My wife (who is French) doesn't notice, or sees the bias as miniscule and my anger as overreaction.
Who's right? Mmm, I think I am. They're assholes.
The Americans and British liberated France in 1945; the French have never forgiven us for giving them the freedom they could not win for themselves.
I posted this solution to the problem of France on my website in December, so far, it's the most commented-upon posting in my young blog's life.
You made the comment about french nuclear weapons. I am not sure what the point was.
If these are like everything else the french military industrial complex has produced in the last 50 years there is a better than 50% chance they will fail to work.
well first I agree that there exist a big anti american endoctrinment in France... it is just pure jealousy.. I 'm french hehe but I disagree totally with all the stupidities I see on TV... learn french continue to get interest in this country.... ipeople are media manipulated but it exist always intelligent people... certainly the mass is very oriented.. it seemed me very funny to see the american comparison of help between France and US.. France.. a little ship with six helico.. US big porte avions with thousand of people.. well.. french journalist were very ennoyed to explain that hehe... very funny.. well.. the main problem is a manicheist view of everything.. well for example the Irak intervention was hardly criticized.. whereas the intervention of the Saddam against the kurd people was pass under silence.. It is the end of a despotic regime in spite of certain interests of the awks for that.. Only few people in France like the last minister of french health Bernard Kouchner had the courage to say the intervention had on certain sides good looking... but as for lot of people subtilities of thinking are a too hard way of thinking.. they prefer slogan ... french journalists don't reprensent what is the more intelligent here in the country.. they are generally formatted... few of them have really intelligence of view... the prefer to play with people nerves.. to enhance the bad mood... I don't speak how the first channel helped the candidate Lepen.. the french hitlerian guy... it was very a big shame!!! lot of people when they saw this guy in front of the sad Chirac take account of the very oriented bad image the media were giving of suburbs... but what is the most incredible is the big lack of autocritic of the medias... they never admit to be wrong..... the worst case was the false interview of the french star tv news PPDA who made a false interview with Fidel Castro... this put in exergue what are the real motivations of those people.. ... Well my las word is to have discernement... nothing is only black or white ...
Don't hate any countries... be the most accurate...
When the Cathedral of Notre Dame is turned in a Mosque and the Tomb of Napoleon is demolished they will once more turn to the one's who have saved their bacon twice in the last Century. The French have some very hard times in their future because of their usual stupidity. They are about to reap the Islamofascist whirlwind. This time let them go down the toilet for a couple of centuries.
Quote: "If any of you had the breading of an alley-cat..."
Ya gotta love French cooking...but I've never seen breaded alley-cat on a menu. God...they are a bankrupt nation.
Steve Cotton is right. The cartoon obviously references our "Sure, if you'd like to exterminate some East Timorese citizens, we'll be in Air Force One polishing our Kissingers" past, not Iraq.
As for your readers, the word "France" seems to really bring out the worst--calls for death by tsunami, accusations of "what have you done" (who?) and, my favorite: "you're just mad about WWII."
Is it possible to critique French foreign policy without being ugly or resorting to the perceived tactics of those rascally europeans?
Boo hoo. Propaganda. Conspiracy. Meanwhile, we have a Fox News viewership in the many millions...
I read the article online. It is headlined "L'action américaine en Indonésie s'inscrit dans un contexte difficile" (American Action in Indonesia Undertaken in a Difficult Context). It was mostly positive vis-a-vis the US relief effort. The quoted paragraph is preceded by description of the American military resources depoyed for relief and the inability of the Indonesian military to do anything because they sustained too much damage to their own resources and the great size of the disaster. The text quoting Colin Powel is defensive, but the rest is more positive and at the end the author recommends that the US put its relief resources under the co-ordination of the UN to make its image better abroad.
The quote that Greg highlights isn't given the proper context for the reader to judge whether sarcasm is intended. I agree with T.W Andrews that it isn't.
The article is from the International section of the paper. It seems to be more reporting than op-ed.
I never fully understood the resentment the French have for the USA until it was explained by a European. They say that we had to rescue the French twice in the last century and they have never forgiven us for the humilation. Strangly they have no problem with the Germans that cause the bloodshed of French citizens. NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED fORTUNATLY THE FRENCH ARE IRREVELENT!
I recall seeing a poster from either WWi or WWII - it was a "defeatist" poster advocating against the war - it depicted the ghost of a french soldier hovering over two women weeping, as if he was trying to console them. The caption, "pourquoi ? Pour l'anglais !" [Why? For the English!] If you are going to hate everyone not "you" - then you had better see to it that your culture is an expanding one - not shrinking, as is modern France. Too bad.
France is a theme park. It's the biggest part of EuroDisney, called "SurrenderLand."
I've gotten to the point where I just shrug my shoulders. All you europeans (or just French) who read this, know that I/we Americans can vote with our pockets to! For instance, I stopped watching CBS and still have roughly 80 other channels I can watch. No sweat off my back. 60 minuets....OUTTA HERE! Any French product that comes accross my path will be kicked aside. No problem there either, there are scores of other wines I can drink. You are truly a NON-FACTOR!
I recall seeing a poster from either WWi or WWII - it was a "defeatist" poster advocating against the war - it depicted the ghost of a french soldier hovering over two women weeping, as if he was trying to console them. The caption, "pourquoi ? Pour l'anglais !" [Why? For the English!]
I believe the reference is to the first month or two of WWI, when the Brits hung the French out to dry by refusing to coordinate with the French and keeping their army near the Channel coast (in preparation for possible evacuation), crucially exposing the western flank of the French army to a German onslaught. As a consequence, the French suffered massive casualties, and were bitter toward the British about it.
Also, bear in mind that until WWI, the French and the British had long been bitter enemies. (In fact, apparently before 1914 the British debated whether to ally themselves with France or with Germany.) WWI was the first time in history that Britain and France fought on the same side, so there was no small suspicion between the erstwhile adversaries.
See Tuchman, Guns of August
there are scores of other wines I can drink.
Wine and cheese now constitue France's entire relevance. No wonder they're so sensitive. Quick - name five ways France has significantly improved the human condition in the past century.
What is the point of the comment re Fox News? Given the bias on CBS, NBC, NPR, ABC, et al, Fox is just about as unbiased as they come for the MSM. I guess you just don't understand unbiased since you made that comment. You must just be too trained in a Pavlovian manner to note that the MSM is biased totally. When the networks start giving us both sides of the news from Iraq, then maybe your comment will make sense. Until then, Fox is no more biased than any other channe, in fact less than most. To see what I mean by the rest of the news that goes unreported on the MSM here, check out the good news postings on Chrenkoff or read them in the WSJ. Then talk about bias.
While I find the cartoon despicable and the sarcasm in the story unprofessional and uncalled for, I think your reaction is overboard. How can you judge the entier nation of France based on a cartoon in Le Monde? Aren't you just as guilty as Le Monde for gross stereotyping.
It's like saying the New York Times is representative of the U.S.
It's a newspaper, not the country.
Mark my words: We'll have a military conflict with France within 50 years. You heard it here.
WOW! Looks like there isn't a stone left to turn here! I just don't like when people talk mess about our great USA so I am going to keep my mouth shut for this one. I might get into trouble!
I imagine the Corsican independence movement wouldn't mind us announcing the need for a peaceful two-state-solution and giving a "Corsican Authority" billions of dollars that can be funneled to anti-French terrorists.
We can then denounce the post-occupation French settlements on Corsica as an aggressive act designed to unilaterall settle the Corsica issue without negotiation. Also, remember to justify Corsican terrorism on the grounds the French military is so superior in conventional and nuclear arms that it's the only way the Corsicans can fight back.
We'll have to agree to disagree about which channel has the most bias, though since I think most of said channels are simply poor news sources regardless of their bent, my heart wouldn't really be in the argument. I only mean to point out that Fox--essentially 24 hour Current Affair--draws viewers with its snide opionistas and coarse rhetoric, often hawking arrogance over substance. If you'd like to argue that its appeal is based on the merits of its journalism, go ahead. Didn't you know that real thinking conservatives think Fox is scat anyway?
In any case, I've got an evening of on-command salivation, pretense and treachery to prepare for, so...
All this is wasted. The French, while not all bad, are dominated by those who never fail to resent a favor, are not fit to polish the boots of their fathers from WWI. They ought to be ignored, like a sniping jealous relative that becomes more shrill as she becomes less relevant. Thank goodness for the Austarilians, British, Poles the Italians and the Russians.
I did it again--inserting a barb and derailing my message. I retract my statement on behalf of "thinking conservatives." In any case, it seems an irony that most of the anti-french (though this seems almost interchangeable with anti-european) sentiment has been cultivated in the american media--much of the above is a simulacra of what the red-in-the-face pundits began yelping with less and less reservation a couple of years ago. I dare say we can't really glean what your average french citizen thinks based on the cross Atlantic badminton that we've been playing any more than they could us--do the NY TImes, Wash Post, LA Times, etc. accurately depict American feelings, for instance?
This all just spirals into an ugly "my team vs. your team" scenario rather than encouraging an honest, or virtuous, debate.
[ I believe the reference is to the first month or two of WWI, when the Brits hung the French out to dry by refusing to coordinate with the French and keeping their army near the Channel coast (in preparation for possible evacuation), crucially exposing the western flank of the French army to a German onslaught. ... ]
Expecting les Anglais to defend France for them, that's what the Franch were doing.
Porquoi couldn't the French defend themselves?
John Kerry is more French than American. The French are annoyed that their candidate lost the election. They are such sore losers.
Thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts about the anti-American press in France. You gave me a better perspective on what a Frenchman thinks.
Here's a quickie history of WWI to refresh everybody's memory"
"... August 14, 1914, the German army invaded Belgium on their way to France in accordance with the Schlieffen plan. France must be taken before the Russians could fully mobilize and invade Germany. Germany felt they could defeat France in two months or less, then turn their full attention to Russia. By September, the Germans had reached the Marne River, forty miles from Paris, but the Russians had invaded East Prussia which forced Germany to transfer troops from the French front. ... "
Bien sur, les Boches being within artillery range of Paris six weeks or so after the war started was all the fault of l'Albion perfide.
- Modern European History -
Germany: WWI and WWII Overstretch
By David Sedivy
"The Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) completed German unification. In foreign policy, it was said that all roads lead to Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. Bismarck did not seek additional territory but only wanted to preserve Germany's unification. In 1880, he created the Triple Alliance- Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy, with an alliance with Russia. Kaiser William II ascended the throne in 1889 and forced Bismarck to resign in 1890. German nationalism became extreme; the new leadership thought Germany should have its place in the sun. They allowed the treaty with Russia to lapse, thus, Germany could give full support to Austria. This proved fatal to European peace. France took advantage and entered into an alliance with Russia- French isolation was over.
Nationals pushed the government to build a powerful army and navy, and acquire colonies to expand German influence in Europe. Germany was a threat to English trade, which forced Britain to ally with France. France, Britain, and Russia, settled their colonial disputes and formed the Triple Entente.
Europe was divided into two hostile alliances with inherent dangers. First, a country could be reckless, when before, it would have to be cautious during a crisis. Second, a conflict between two states could spark a chain reaction and thus draw in other states, thereby turning a limited war into a general war. This is exactly what happened after the Black Hand- Serbian terrorists, assassinated Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria-Hungary on June 28, 1914. Austria used the assassination as a pretext to eliminate Serbia. This would solve the problems of the uniting of the South Slavs. Germany supported Austria; rather than seeking a peaceful settlement they encouraged their ally to take Serbia out. Austria gave Serbia an ultimatum that they knew would be impossible to accept. Russia saw this as an attempt to dominate the Balkans and refused to abandon Serbia.
The general staffs of both alliances had battle plans worked out well in advance and this worked against peace. Russia ordered full mobilization for a war with Austria and Germany. German battle plans called for war against Russia and France. On August 14, 1914, the German army invaded Belgium on their way to France in accordance with the Schlieffen plan. France must be taken before the Russians could fully mobilize and invade Germany. Germany felt they could defeat France in two months or less, then turn their full attention to Russia. By September, the Germans had reached the Marne River, forty miles from Paris, but the Russians had invaded East Prussia which forced Germany to transfer troops from the French front. The German army was exhausted by long marches and had outrun their supplies; while exposing their flank, which the French attacked. Now the war entered a new stage-trench warfare. In the east, the Russians were soundly defeated on August 30,1914, at the battle of Tannenberg. Germany had to come to Austria's aid, Serbia was taken and the Russians were forced out of Poland. Again the Germans outran their supplies and although battered, Russia stayed in the war causing Germany to fight on two fronts.
The year 1917, didn't look good for the allies; much of the French army had mutinied, and British forces were suffering severe casualties. But German lack of diplomacy and common sense, turned the tides and brought the United States into the war on April 6, 1917. Germany was determined to starve Britain into submission. The United States was England's main supplier and thus American ships became U-boat targets in unrestricted submarine warfare. With the American entry, the war of attrition now favored the Allies. Without an immediate victory, Germany would lose the war. Within two weeks the Germans had taken 1250 square miles; but once again they were exhausted, short on ammunition, and food; they were forced to call off the drive. Fresh, well supplied and equipped American troops made the difference and uplifted Allied morale.
During 1918, things were getting bad at home for the German people. Germany had succumbed to overstretch; they could afford a three year war but not a four year war. Germany had used up its moral capital, it was out of food, and industry could no longer keep up with war demands. The shock of defeat and hunger sparked a revolution that forced the Kaiser to abdicate. On November 11, 1918, the new German Republic signed an armistice ending the war.
Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles on June 18,1919. Article 231 placed sole responsibility for the war on Germany. Germany was expecting Wilson's 14 points, they felt betrayed and denounced the treaty; in their mind the war ended in a stalemate not a defeat. ... "
I'd like to send the cartoonist at Le Monde an email, you know, in a language he can understand. "Idiot" -- that's a French word, isn't it?
[ I believe the reference is to the first month or two of WWI, when the Brits hung the French out to dry by refusing to coordinate with the French and keeping their army near the Channel coast (in preparation for possible evacuation), crucially exposing the western flank of the French army to a German onslaught. As a consequence, the French suffered massive casualties, and were bitter toward the British about it. ]
I think the gist of the French complaint about the British army's conduct in early WWI is that the Brits were too cautious about counterattacking in August, 1914, and instead took too much care to maintain British lines of retreat to the Channel.
This may be true, but I repeat my question: Why couldn't the French defend their own patrie in 1914?
Please explain, French apologists.
"... Moltke had directed the whole campaign from headquarters that were too far behind the fast moving German front lines and did not allow him a clear picture of the events. Until the first days of September  he had given undue weight to the optimistic reports of the armies, whose speedy progress was no doubt gratifying. But in spite of heavy French casualties the number of French and English prisoners of war was relatively small, and the retreat of the Allied forces was on the whole an orderly one. In addition, Joffre was able to bring reserves up from the south and managed to shift troops from the Lorraine front to his left wing. Not only had Moltke, as mentioned before, taken two army corps from his right wing and sent them to the Russian front, but he conspicuously failed to transfer troops from Lorraine to his exposed right wing.
After September 4 Moltke began to become deeply worried about the military situation and sent a member of his staff Lieutenant Colonel Hentsch, to the front. His ill-informed description of the conditions of the first army together with reports about the flanking movement of the British, induced the commander of the second army to retreat on September 8. ..."
On August 30 the first army, in order not to lose contact with the other armies to its left, directed its march in pursuit of the retreating French toward Paris, and on September 2 toward points east of the city.
On the same day Moltke issued the order that the five northern German armies should press the French armies to the southeast, while the sixth and seventh armies were to launch a breakthrough over the upper Moselle between Epinal and Toul. His ultimate aim was the complete encirclement of the French army. But the breakthrough over the Moselle was not likely to be successful in view of the French fortifications, and Moltke would have done better to shift as many forces as possible from the two southern to the five northern armies.
By September 4 the latter were assembled along a southward-looking front of 125 miles, reaching from Meaux, 25 miles east of Paris, to a point southwest of Verdun. But the western German flank was now open to French attacks. The French commander, General Joffre, while bringing up additional troops, waited until September 6, when with fifty-two divisions he opened a general offensive against the whole German front held by forty divisions. A new French army, the sixth, under Gen. Maunoury, attempted to outflank the right wing of the German lines formed by the German first army.
A. First Battle of the Marne
With remarkable speed the first army, which had already crossed the Marne, turned around and engaged the French sixth army in a fierce battle that after three days of fighting practically established German superiority. But by swinging north the first army had opened a gap thirty miles wide between itself and the second German army to the left, a gap that was only superficially screened by cavalry. The British cautiously advanced between the two armies. Thus the German positions became somewhat precarious, although it will probably forever remain controversial whether they were seriously endangered.
Moltke had directed the whole campaign from headquarters that were too far behind the fast moving German front lines and did not allow him a clear picture of the events. Until the first days of September he had given undue weight to the optimistic reports of the armies, whose speedy progress was no doubt gratifying. But in spite of heavy French casualties the number of French and English prisoners of war was relatively small, and the retreat of the Allied forces was on the whole an orderly one. In addition, Joffre was able to bring reserves up from the south and managed to shift troops from the Lorraine front to his left wing. Not only had Moltke, as mentioned before, taken two army corps from his right wing and sent them to the Russian front, but he conspicuously failed to transfer troops from Lorraine to his exposed right wing.
After September 4 Moltke began to become deeply worried about the military situation and sent a member of his staff Lieutenant Colonel Hentsch, to the front. His ill-informed description of the conditions of the first army together with reports about the flanking movement of the British, induced the commander of the second army to retreat on September 8. The commander and the chief of staff of the first army most reluctantly bowed to Hentsch's entreaties and ordered the retreat of their army from the Marne. When in the evening of September 9 Foch's ninth army began to attack, the retreat of the Germans was already fully under way. But the next days grew critical. The rest of the northern front had actually held its own against the French offensive. Yet Moltke, who had finally come to the front himself, concerned about a possible French breakthrough between the second and third armies, ordered the withdrawal of the northeastern German armies as well.
B. Failure of the Schlieffen Plan
By September 15 the German lines had been stabilized again. In the nick of time it proved possible to close the gap between the first and second armies with troops that had just brought the siege of Maubeuge to a successful conclusion and with others that at long last arrived from Lorraine. Gen. von Moltke, who apparently in his innermost heart had never fully believed in the Schlieffen plan, at the moment of its ultimate failure suffered a nervous and physical breakdown. On September 14 he was replaced by Gen. Erich von Falkenhayn. ... "
Mark S -- If their nukes work as well as their aircraft carrier, they'll aim for Washington and take out Antwerp.. After all, they were only able to hit that poor island in Polynesia by nailing the bombs to it...
From TKS: Churchill wrote in a letter in 1899: "What a vile nation the French are. Nature must vindicate herself by letting them die out."
It is interesting to see rational, fair-minded Americans all denigrate every citizen and inch of land in France based on reading Le Monde...
I work with four Frenchies (I live in the States). Two I loathe and two are genuinely decent human beings.
After the election, 1 Frenchie was obviously irritated by Bush being re-elected and started saying things to me like "Americans are followers..." and I should be "more like him and do the opposite of what people want". I wasn't looking for a fight - I really wasn't - but before I knew it I was telling him that his need to do the opposite of what people wanted made him a "French follower". Well - not surprisingly, that didn't go over very well and we had our own little war (which, of course as his heritage dictates, he lost).
Damn, it’s hard not to hate the French in their entirety. It helps that I know two 'good' ones.
I am trying to compile an accurate chronology of the arrival of governmental aid in the tsunami region. The point: here in Bangkok, there is considerable sentiment against the USA, based on the claim that Bush acted very slowly. Japan and Taiwan are presented as being first on the ground with actual help, while the US is scolded for its lack of concern for Asian life. I would appreciate assistance: what internet resources are there that can be used to establish who was where when with what?
I want to abstract the information, check it, and then write it up in chronological order, with supporting explanations, to set the record straight.
I have started my research, but the sources suggested to me so far have not proved adequate.
The level of anti-US sentiment here stuns me. Many Thais seem to be emerging from behind a wispy veil of politeness to express bitterness at the USA's perceived tardiness. They pointedly contrast the USA's misbehavior with the self-sacrificing kindness of poor Thais who assisted the Westerners who had been swept out of those luxurious hotels in Phuket. Thais good, Westerners (especially the Bush administration) bad, bad.
It would be good to know the facts, and if I can get them, I'd like to write them up and try to get the report on the internet. (As well as hand some hard copies out to the local scolds.)
I tried e-mailing Belgravia Dispatch with this request, but the Hotmail people bounced my message.
Can anyone point me to good sources?? Please e-mail me rather than post here. Sincere TIA
"You are a middle power, lucky to have a U.N. Security Council seat still" What do you mean "still"? The only reason the French were given a seat on the Security Council was as a sop to French pride after utterly failing against German invasion three times. It should read "at all".
French anti-Americanism (and, it should be noted, British Anti-Americanism as well) dates IMHO from 1956 and the Suez Crisis. Eisenhower put an end to that European adventurism, and effectively closed the days of European neo-Colonialism and conventional military power. America has been resented for this ever since by the elites in both countries.
When De Gaulle re-took power in 1958 that sealed the deal; notably except for Mitterand in 81-95 ALL Fifth Republic Presidents have been Gaullists. Even Mitterand in his day to day foreign policy embraced Gaullism; which specifically posited France as the "third way" or midpoint alternative to both America and the Soviet Union. The old elites that presented an alternative to De Gaulle were swept away by his mutated form of nationalism in the only arena left France.
It's notable that for the Brits (and Sir Anthony Eden) Eisenhower essentially de-legitimized the Conservative Party's main attribute, being the more "reliable" parnter in the Anglo-American alliance, and contributed to the Conservative beef with America that continues to this day. This has had the effect of moving the Labour Party much further along the Anti-American road than if there was a pro-American Tory alternative; and it's remarkable how completely anti-American the elite of the UK are.
Eisenhower was right; but since both Eden and Guy Mollet and the movements they represented (traditional British Tories and the moderate French Socialists) lost a great deal of influence and political power, the decision to intervene marked the end of the traditional attitudes towards military power and the start for both countries of seeking power by "cultural" or "soft power" since they'd been excluded from it by the Superpower Club which they couldn't ever join.
So, no, don't hate the French. Understand that their political system (and the Brits too) never really adjusted to being a marginal player controlled by the Americans after having been once a Great Power. Think a broke dot-commer living off his truck driver's cousin's earnings.
To criticise the US for any of their trivial acts of aggression around the world post WW2 is always inconvenient to schizoid intellectuals who deny the reality of these acts. I will only provide one individual and the 'work' he has been reponsible for in the 'service' of your federated country: John Negroponte. As head of the US's largest (in terms of officials) embassy in the world, in Iraq, it would appear to be a fairly contemporary and important example of unbirdled economic and social aggression going unchecked. Negroponte's role in attracting a massive increase in US military aid to Honduras (as ambassador there) is well documented and so is his connection with the right wing militia who slaughtered thousands and toppled a democratically elected socialist government in neighbouring Nicaragua.
I think you should forget your Napoleonic and other military historian hang ups and understand that economic and military predominance does not blind people to the fact of the US's modus operandi in the world, where threats are invented and exaggerated to accommodate slaughter (in the third world) or economic sanctions/threats (against Europe and other 'developed' nations) - all, apparently, to further the cause of the free market. Kind of ironic?
"Mark my words: We'll have a military conflict with France within 50 years. You heard it here. "
Oh, please. The United States isn't going to fight against a non-entity. It would be bad for morale.
On the contrary, George, regarding your comment about 'morale', fear is a very good way of winning elections.
A cursory review of French military history reveals the following:
1 - Gallic Wars - Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2,000 years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian.
2 - Hundred Years War - Mostly lost, saved at last by a female schizophrenic who inadvertently creates The First Rule of French Warfare: "French armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman."
3 - Italian Wars - Lost. France becomes the first and only country to ever lose two wars when fighting Italians.
4 - Wars of Religion - France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots.
5 - Thirty Years War - France is technically not a participant but still manages to get invaded. Claims a tie on the basis that eventually the other participants started ignoring her.
6 - War of Devolution - Tied. Frenchmen take to wearing red flowerpots as chapeaux.
7 - The Dutch War - Tied. Dutch farmers and tulip growers are tougher than they look.
8 - War of the Augsburg League/King William's War/French and Indian War - Lost, but claimed as a tie. Three ties in a row induces deluded Francophiles the world over to label the period as the height of French military power.
9 - War of the Spanish Succession - Lost. The War also gave the French their first taste of a Marlborough, which they have loved every since.
10 - American Revolution - In a move that will become quite familiar to future Americans, France claims a win even though the English colonists saw far more action. This is later known as "de Gaulle Syndrome", and leads to the Second Rule of French Warfare; " France only wins when America does most of the fighting."
11 - French Revolution - Won, primarily due the fact that the opponent was also French.
12 - The Napoleonic Wars - Lost. Temporary victories (remember the First
Rule!) due to leadership of a Corsican, who ended up being no match for the Russian winter, Prussian grenadiers or a British footwear designer.
13 - The Franco-Prussian War - Lost. For the first, but certainly not the
last time, Germany plays the role of drunk frat boy to France 's ugly girl home alone on a Saturday night.
14 - World War I - Invaded, humiliated and on the way to losing, France is saved by the United States. Winds up a tie for les francaise. Thousands of French women find out what it's like to not only sleep with a winner, but one who doesn't call her "Fraulein." Sadly, the American fascination with personal hygiene (a fascination totally foreign to French women) incites widespread use of condoms by American soldiers, thus precluding any improvement in the French bloodline.
15 - World War II - A decisive defeat even by French standards. Hitler and
the German Youth spend Christmas time sleeping soundly through the winter, then arouse themselves to conquer France in six weeks. Hitler dances in front of the Eiffel Tower, while the French command staff retreats to Algeria to institute a crash language program to teach French privates how to say "I surrender" in German and French generals to say "We surrender" in German. Conquered French liberated by the United States and Britain just as they finish learning the Horst Wessel Song and some small portion of the German work ethic. De Gaulle of it all...
16 - First Vietnamese war (in Vietnamese circles, known as "the scrimmage", or "the exhibition game" where the varsity squad is kept on the sideline to
see how the second string will play) - Lost. French soldiers, fresh off
their four year occupation by the Germans, catch a terminal case of Dien Bien Flu.
17 - Algerian rebellion - Lost. First time an Arab army has beaten a
Western army since the Crusades, and produces the first rule of modern Islamic warfare: "We can always beat the French." A nice phrase, but it lacks something in originality, since it is also the first rule of warfare for the Italians, Russians, Prussians, Germans, English, Dutch, Spanish, Vietnamese, Native Americans and capitalists.
18 - War on Terrorism - Lost. Incensed at not being included in the
original "Axis of Evil," France refuses to participate. When it becomes
clear that this is a "no-kidding war," Jacques Chirac looks at his cards and
immediately surrenders to that old warhorse, Gerhard Schroeder. For good
measure, he also surrenders to five million illegal immigrants from Algeria.
Yes we have the BBC which is intstitutionally leftist and anti US. Yes our intelligentsia tend to be pro EU and anti US. Trust me, however, the majority of us Brits are pro American even if our voices are not heard as often as they should be.
Please, please remember that there an island state to the west of Europe. That state is usually revered to as the UK. The UK can generally be relied upon to its BIT, ie help in circumstances like this. Please do not lump us in with the rest of the bunch.
Translation: Colin Powell, who is in Bangkok and is on his way to Jakarta, tries to make sense of the [U.S. initiative]: "We are not looking for any political advantage," assured the U.S. Secretary of State. "We are not trying to make ourselves look better in the eyes of Muslims," he affirmed. "We are doing it because human beings need it, even desperately need it."
and yet in Jakarta the BBC reports Mr Powell as saying:
Muslims, along with the rest of the world, had "an opportunity to see American generosity, American values in action", he said in Jakarta.
"And I hope as a result of our efforts, as a result of our helicopter pilots being seen by the citizens of Indonesia helping them, that value system of ours will be reinforced."
The US secretary of state added that US relief work should also "dry up pools of dissatisfaction which might give rise to terrorist activity".
Is there a way to intersect the two sentiments?
Leo -- I'll agree that Negroponte being the front guy for Reagan's Iran/Contra deal was bad. Chirac and his naked interventions in West Africa, and Mitterand in Rwanda, trump that deal.
The US toppling of unfriendly regimes is a piker to the sheer human misery inflicted by the French in Africa. And unlike the French, there was a check ultimately on Reagan (Congress in the hands of the opposition party).
Someone's getting testy over a middle power!
Surely this is not "a new low" merely a case of this idiot bouncing along the much at the bottom of things? This sort of rubbish appears all the time in the French press.
Funny how the meme is releasing such an amount of rhetorical energy...
Nice listing. However, amazing how after so many lost battles (points 1 to 10) France managed to defeat for (should I say temporary?) 25 years the rest of Europe between 1789 and 1814.
My clue: mostly convenient demographic and geographic, like the USA in the last century. Few heroic virtues, in both case, and it never last forever. Napoleon overstretched, what is doing Bush now? The future only knows.
To hcq, for fun , five french contributions quick out of my head:
- world soccer cup (Ok worth very little in the 50 states, but nevertheless the biggest sport event worldwide)
- Doctors without borders
- Airbus (making the market free of Boeing monopoly, it has to be good, hasn't it?)
Feel free to overreact... But start by explaining what your point was, and if it leads to anything relevant with the strip of Plantu?
For the substance of the thread, I stay with Steve Cotton and Will.
And to conclude:
Most people here should better bother what muslims, not the french newspapers, think about the USA foreign politic, and WHY. No matter what the american medias say about France, terrorist will likely come from that side, not from France.
Bush is your vote, and it's fine. But for foreign politics, you can't deny foreigners an opinion, positive or negative. Check the politics, assert why the opinion are what they are abroad (using minimal mind openness) would do you more good than just bashing No-sayers. After that, sticking or not to your POTUS and his politics is up to you, but I would prefer from times to times after that, not before.
I am not starting a flame. I was just passing by.
I don't see the "staggering sarcasm" in the "Autrement dit..." sentence. It sounded to me a lot like the reporter was simply pointing out that even planes normally used for reconnaissance were being utilised to help the tsunami effort. The overall vibe of the article was quite positive regarding U.S. efforts. A little more explanation is needed from those who see anything anti-American in that sentence, because to me it seems that some people are actively seeking out insults in the French press for vindication.
The cartoon is not very good, as it is a bit ambiguous, and even incoherent -- is Pantu's Uncle Sam claiming responsibility for some degree of Indonesian suffering, or simply talking about how he has experience dealing with natural disasters (the prominent palm tree suggesting Florida hurricanes, combined with European perception of American geography skills), it's not clear at all -- but even if you assume (or presume) the worst, not really much worse than a lot of recent U.S. cartoons on the subject of France. And the posters above who said things like "Too bad the tsunamis didn't hit France" have no moral high ground here.