Not too long ago I had a rather controversial post (“controversial” in steevak.com terms) about the French and how most of their fellow Europeans didn’t have a very high opinion of them. A recent poll (via Drudge) shows that the Europeans aren’t alone in their dislike of the French. Americans don’t like them much either, but that’s not the point I want to make here. Let’s start with this:
Trust between the French and Americans has slumped to its lowest level in 17 years, more than two years after a bitter feud over the Iraq war, an opinion poll showed on Friday.
The TNS-Sofres survey of 1,000 people in each country showed only 31 percent of French people have any “sympathy” for Americans, down from 39 percent in 2002.
Only 35 percent of Americans like the French, a drop from 50 percent in 2002, according to the poll, published in the Le Monde newspaper.
In 2002, only 39% of the French had any “sympathy” for us. Now keep in mind what was going on in 2002. We hadn’t invaded Iraq yet and 9/11 had only been a year ago, yet still barely over a third of the French had “sympathy” for us. Now compare that to American sentiment towards the French at the time: 50% of Americans liked the French. And keep this in mind too: you can have sympathy for somebody you don’t like, but it’s hard not to have sympathy for somebody you like. So even though “having sympathy” and “liking” aren’t exactly the same, I think we can draw a pretty firm conclusion that much less than 50% — and most likely less than 39%! — of the French actually “liked” Americans in 2002. Currently, only 31% of the French have sympathy for us and only 35% of Americans like the French. Still, Americans as a whole are warmer towards the French than the French are towards Americans.
And there’s more evidence that the French dislike us more than we dislike them:
The survey showed an overwhelming 70 percent of French people believe the United States is not a loyal ally. Fifty-six percent of Americans said France was not a reliable partner.
French people with left-wing views are most likely to be hostile to Americans, the survey found. Left-wing French voters drove France’s rejection last month of the EU constitution. Many who voted ‘No’ said they feared the charter would impose U.S.-style free-market economics on Europe.
Well, I’ll give the French some credit here. We aren’t loyal allies . . . when our allies want to take kick-backs from heinous, murdering tyrants and keep those same monsters in power.
With all this being said, the animosity between our two countries is not a good thing, and I wish it would be better. However, we have a long way to go . . . but the French have an even longer way to go.