Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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French planes and ships

OK, I admit this is unfair, and without nuance, but I can’t help myself. I’m irascible because I committed to attend a wedding today and hence can’t ride my bike.

French fighter planes ran into foul weather, couldn’t return to their aircraft carrier off the Virginia Coast, so landed at Atlantic City Airport, because they couldn’t recollect the codes they needed to land at a U.S. military airport. Then they had trouble getting fuel, etc. I am guessing that the carrier was The Charles De Gaulle, since they only have one. Remember her? She was the ship that lost a propeller on her long-distance trials, and then had to have her deck lengthened because certain planes, necessary for the defense of the ship, had a problem taking off. She is also slower
than the steam powered carrier she replaced. The De Gaulle is nuclear powered, and is the largest ship ever built by a European shipyard--but they used nuclear reactors designed for French submarines, instead of building new ones. It took the French eleven years to build it. It was originally intended to be named the Richelieu, by the way. I tried to go the the French Navy’s web site to find out more, but it loads too slow, so I moved on. In the meantime, this January, the British announced that they will build two aircraft carriers (both larger than the De Gaulle), and while the builder will be BAE Systems, Britain’s largest defence firm, the project will be managed by Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), a unit of Halliburton, a U.S. company.
I bet these babies will work just fine!

Discussions - 12 Comments

The Spirit of Charles De Gaulle lives on in the French military: bloated, pompous, and useless. And in dire need of American assistance!

And we allowed them to land? We should have forced them to go around our airspace and land in Quebec, dammit! Seems I recall something like that from 1983.

Having seen French warships up close when I was in the US Navy, this story doeesn;t surprise. French ships were and are junk.

Folie de grandeur, mes amis?

Who were those Europeans that provided support to us in our most important military operations (The War for American Independence)? Oh yeah, the French. And that Statue of Liberty...oh yeah, the French gave us that. Of course we should help them; we wouldn’t be here without them!

Sorry, I’m just tired of French jokes...that was sooooo two years ago.

Unless you’re blogging from the church or the wedding reception or something, I wonder if perhaps you could’ve freed up some time for motorcycle riding if you’d skipped the tired French-bashing blog-posting.

Winger and Glen -- both of you need to read a book called Our Oldest Enemy. You’ll quickly figure out that the only time France has been our ally is when 1) they could stick it to the Brits by allying with us, or 2) their continued survival depended on allying with us. Are you forgetting that Chirac, just a couple of weeks ago, told the French they must vote "oui" on the EU Constitution because "non" would help the Americans? These people hate us...time to figure this out.

I agree that it is perfectly appropriate to help out the French in this regard; to do otherwise would be petty.

At the same time, though, I seriously think that whatever debt we owe the French for their assistance in the late 18th century has long been paid. Surely American help for Napoleon--in the form of the War of 1812, as silly and unjust a war as any the United States ever entered--should have repaid that debt.

Moreover, is it not relevant that it was the French monarchy that came to the assistance of the Continental Congress in the War of Independence? Why should any sense of obligation have extended beyond 1792, when that monarchy was abolished? Had Tsarist Russia rendered some great service to the United States, would we be saying that we owed the Soviet Union anything in return?

You’re so negative all the time, John. I was just encouraging people to end these pointless potshots at the’s gone past the point of humorous.

And Dain, I doubt that the French hate us...perhaps its just a select few of their leaders that do. The French people did just vote down the EU constitution??? That seems to be in opposition of your reasoning as to why they hate us. What real evidence do you have that the French people hate Americans besides your biased book collection? Talked to an average French citizen today?

Well, Dain might have said the French resent us...hate is probably too strong a word. Nonetheless, according to a 2000 SOFRES poll of the French public, when asked to associate words with the United States over half of the responses where negative (associating America with violence and vulgarity). There is a very strong undertow of anti-Americanism in France, and it’s been there for a very long time.

As for the "non" vote on the EU constitution, according to the media much of this was from the Left, who fear the economic neo-liberalism that ratification might force on France. I doubt we can interpret that as a vote for America!

Another book worth reading (this one by an actual Frenchman!) is Jean-Francois Revel’s L’Obsession anti-americaine.

This is good too, and reminds us of the significant French contribution to putatively "intellectual" anti-Americanism:

Thanks for the book recommendation, PJC, but the same message can be found in any of the great books by Charlie Daniels (of "Devil Went Down to Georgia" fame), and they don’t take as long to read!

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