The French Way: How France Embraced and Rejected American Values and Power
Richard F. Kuisel
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There are over 1,000 McDonald's on French soil. Two Disney theme parks have opened near Paris in the last two decades. And American-inspired vocabulary such as "le weekend" has been absorbed into the French language. But as former French president Jacques Chirac put it: "The U.S. finds France unbearably pretentious. And we find the U.S. unbearably hegemonic." Are the French fascinated or threatened by America? They Americanize yet are notorious for expressions of anti-Americanism. From McDonald's and Coca-Cola to free markets and foreign policy, this book looks closely at the conflicts and contradictions of France's relationship to American politics and culture. Richard Kuisel shows how the French have used America as both yardstick and foil to measure their own distinct national identity. They ask: how can we be modern like the Americans without becoming like them?
France has charted its own path: it has welcomed America's products but rejected American policies; assailed America's "jungle capitalism" while liberalizing its own economy; attacked "Reaganomics'" while defending French social security; and protected French cinema, television, food, and language even while ingesting American pop culture. Kuisel examines France's role as an independent ally of the United States--in the reunification of Germany and in military involvement in the Persian Gulf and Bosnia--but he also considers the country's failures in influencing the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. Whether investigating France's successful information technology sector or its spurning of American expertise during the AIDS epidemic, Kuisel asks if this insistence on a French way represents a growing distance between Europe and the United States or a reaction to American globalization.
Exploring cultural trends, values, public opinion, and political reality, The French Way delves into the complex relationship between two modern nations.
In the midst of the presidential election of 1995 one survey reported two of three wanted more state intervention in the economy, but also backed free trade; “Une majorité de Français souhaitent…,” Le Monde, 11 April 1995, 6. 32. Philip Gordon and Sophie Meunier, The French Challenge: Adapting to Globalization (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2001), 14. Gordon and Meunier are the best guide to this process. 33. Erik Izraelewicz, Le Capitalisme zinzin (Paris: Éditions Bernard
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT); specific sectors (agriculture; audiovisual industries; etc.) trade unions transatlantic community: common values and; continental drift and the French Way (See also Americanization; investment; NATO; trade) triumphalism, American UDF. See Union pour la Démocratie Française (UDF) unemployment: as chronic and endemic in France; and dollar exchange rate; and French policies toward; and French response to US policies toward; McJobs and; multinationals
Mnouchine's barb because she had accepted his invitation to visit the California resort where she had posed with Mickey Mouse. As for lowering cultural standards, Fitzpatrick responded sarcastically, “Diversion is also a form of culture. The French know it well. Have they forgotten?”47 Jack Lang, the incumbent minister of culture whose disdain for American culture we encountered in chapter 2, said he was too busy to attend the park's opening and regretted that the park afforded so little room
young and from business managers and farmers.15 In most polls unfavorable attitudes ranged from 14 to 30 percent, which corresponded closely to the number of those who professed being anti-American. François Mitterrand had to wait a long time before he became the first socialist president of the Fifth Republic in 1981. He had first run for the presidency against Charles de Gaulle in 1965 and compounded this defeat with two more setbacks in 1969 and again in 1974 in a close run off against Valery
French suggested the Americans could be of more use by sending troops than by trying to show up the Europeans and UNPROFOR. American sniping riled the French, who had by then lost over twenty soldiers and had hundreds wounded. In the National Assembly Juppe attacked “governments that want to give us lessons when they have not lifted a little finger to put even one man on the ground.”30 The alliance was at an impasse in 1993-94. While the U.S. Congress lobbied the White House to force the “lift