In one 2004 poll, 72% of the French had a favourable view of Americans, more even than in Britain (62%) or Spain (47%). Some 68% of those questioned in another poll the same year said that what unites France and America was more important than what separates them. During the 60th anniversary of the Normandy landings in 2004, politicians were frosty, but the people at large showed an outpouring of gratitude to American veterans.
It’s true that there is a big gap between the view of the U.S. (pretty bad) and the view of the American people (quite good) in France, a sure sign that a substantial part of what is regarded as anti-Americanism is mainly driven by anti-Bushism. Continue reading →
So it’s done. We have four more years of George W Bush to look forward to. A quick tour of the American blogs shows a few trying to pull some sort of moral victory from this election, but the truth is that they’ve lost everything. Not only has the president finally won the majority denied to him in 2000, but as a reward for his mismanagement and incompetence, Democrats have actually lost seats in both houses of Congress, including losing the Senate Minority Leader. For all that the vote is close, the outcome is a stunning defeat in terms of real access to power. There is no longer a meaningful opposition in the US able to moderate the power of a president who needs no longer worry about reelection.
At best, this means that in 2008 the Republicans will have to run on a deeper quagmire in Iraq, no meaningful victories in the so-called war on terrorism, another huge hike in the American public debt and all the new messes Bush can create. But, let’s be honest. That isn’t going to happen. No one will be called to account. The American electorate, for a number of reasons, simply will not hold this administration to account. They did not do so in 2002, they haven’t this time, and there is no reason to think they will in 2008.
Reaction in the French political scene is muted, but definitely not happy. Continue reading →