July 28th, 2011
01:27 PM ET

Why Americans once loved France

On this week’s show, famed historian David McCullough joined me to talk about his latest book, "The Greater Journey," which looks back at the nineteenth century, a time when elite Americans went abroad in droves to study in France, which was then the cultural center of the world. Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.

Fareed Zakaria: We think of Americans as famously uninterested in the world. We think of America today and we don't care what's going on in the rest of the world. We don't want to borrow anything from the rest of the world. The Americans you're describing seemed fascinated by France. Why?

David McCullough: They craved, craved France, and they weren't anxious to go there because they were disenchanted with our country. They went to find out if the talent they had was really as strong as people were telling them, and in order to get the training, the experience that they could not get here. There were no museums with paintings hanging in them then. There was not one school of architecture in the United States. This is in the 1830s.

And no way to train as an artist to work in an atelier or to get the kind of training that one would need to be a sculpture or a painter. And Paris was the medical capital of the world. So they went for a multitude of – of professions and artistic careers.

If you were a foreign student in France, in Paris, you could go to the Sorbonne. You could go to the l'ecole de Medecine for nothing, free. Imagine if the students who were coming to Harvard or Yale or Stanford were coming here and going free. It was part of the policy of France at the time.

So if they could afford to support themselves - room and board - then they could go to these greatest of institutions. But American medical training, for example, was woefully behind. Most doctors in the United States in the 1830s, '40s, '50s, really right up through the Civil War had never been to medical school.

Fareed Zakaria: The Paris you describe is a place that is clearly the center of the world in a sense, and we forget now because the industrial revolution had just begun when - so you're describing the last gasp of the great agricultural revolutions, and France was probably the richest country in the world - and Paris certainly the center.

David McCullough: Well, what most people don't realize is that Paris was the cultural center of the world. And we had this city, New York, has became the cultural center of the world after World War II.

But Paris was also the center for medical education, medical science, science itself, technology. The Brooklyn Bridge, for example, stands on an underwater foundation system called caissons, which was developed by French engineers in Paris. So the engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge, Washington Roebling went to Paris to find out how they do it. And that's why he was able to do it.

And most Americans don't realize that, how much we owed to France.

Fareed Zakaria: I've got to just go on a tangent here for a second, because you wrote a book about the Brooklyn Bridge. And here you are talking about the engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge and what he borrowed from France. How does it stay that fresh in your mind?

David McCullough: To me the writing of the book is like an experience in life, you never – particularly if that's a powerful experience. You never forget it. And some subjects, once I've finished with them, that's it. I've gotten it out of my system. But with the Brooklyn Bridge, there's something about it, I'm still involved. My wife and I take a walk over the bridge every year. We go back and walk through the old neighborhood in Brooklyn where we lived when we were first married.

And I think it's one of the great accomplishments of our civilization. It's both a work of technology and a work of art, and it stands the test of time, both visually and technically. It's a magnificent production.

And it also rises up out of what was really a very corrupt time, much like our own. And the idea of this emblem of affirmation can rise up out of that sort of swamp of the gilded age is to me reassuring, and particularly in our time.

Fareed Zakaria: Our times, though, do seem more parochial. I mean, the people you discuss in the book, they seem so interested in the world and in intellectual currents in France, but elsewhere as well.

David McCullough: It wasn't cool to be cynical then. It wasn't cool to be filled with self pity. People often ask me when I'm starting a book, "What's your theme?" Particularly some of our academic friends. I have no idea what my theme is. I make up something to calm them down, but I have no idea. It's one of the reasons I'm writing the book.

And one of the themes that I realized is a theme as I was about halfway through this project is work. We receive such ballyhoo constantly about ease and happiness being synonymous. Again and again, people were saying on paper in their diaries and letters, I've never worked harder in my life and this is the happiest time of my life. And they're struggling as Augustus Saint- Gaudens, the sculptor said, we're struggling with all the realities of life, the mundane, every day chores of life, struggling to 'soar into the blue,' as he says. And I think that's emblematic of that generation.

Fareed Zakaria: Do you think that we have lost some of the optimism and energy that – that you saw in the 19th century?

David McCullough: Yes, temporarily. I'm a short range pessimist, long-range optimist. I think we'll get through these troubles. We've been through worse.

When the 9/11 happened, people said, "Oh, this is the worst thing we've ever been through. Yes, it was terrible." But by no means was it the worst we've ever been through. The Revolutionary War; the Civil War. Imagine 600,000 people killed. The influenza epidemic; the Great Depression. These were terrible times.

The dark – I think maybe the darkest time was right after Pearl Harbor. We had no army. Half our navy had been destroyed. The Russians – the Germans were nearly to Moscow. Britain was about finished and Churchill came across the Atlantic and he gave a speech and he said, 'We haven't gone this far because we're made of sugar candy." That's the message we need now.

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soundoff (292 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    An historical friendship binds France and the U.S. together. Under Marquis de Lafayette, France helped the Americans gain its independence. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were envoys to France and had tied strong knots between the two nations. The French adopted the Virginia Bill of Rights for their French Revolution's Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in 1789. As a token for this friendship it presented the Americans the Statue of Liberty.

    July 28, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Reply
    • jon

      That John Adams miniseries on HBO was very well done.

      July 29, 2011 at 10:43 am | Reply
    • fareed suck

      fareed sucks, im tired of cnn quoting this man as leader of the universe

      July 29, 2011 at 11:16 am | Reply
      • steve

        totally agree!

        July 29, 2011 at 11:16 am |
      • Bob from Pittsburgh

        Fareed does his homework and presents facts.. You in the other hand you cathegorise a knowlegeble person as a person that bothers you, may be you are reading the wrong section, the tabloid section is next door..

        Do your homerwork..

        July 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
      • Schmedley

        I think Fareed present balanced points of view.

        At the end of the day, he's featured on CNN and you're writing snarky remarks on a comment board while hiding behind an anonymous screen name. So, I would ask who is the one who really sucks?

        July 29, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
      • Bullricky

        Fareed is not a journalist. You will never get at least two comprehensive sides of a story from him. His bias and agenda are obvious, which is why he has so few viewers. He wouldn't know a primary source from a secondary one if it bit him in the azz.

        July 29, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
      • tillzen

        You are dumb as a hammer. Is it beige people that frighten you or the educated?

        July 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
      • Rick

        If by "sucks" you mean he is easily one of the most thoughtful, intelligent, educated and well-balanced pundits then yes....he sucks...big time!

        July 29, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
      • Bohemer

        Then why do you read his article, dumbo???

        July 29, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
      • Dan

        Fareed has an agenda plain and simple. If you are an independent thinker his bias is very clear. If you like news that is more opionion than hard facts he is your man.

        July 29, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
      • Elizabeth

        What bias, can you spell it out please? That America during the Revolution was funded by France? I don't think that is bias; it's history. And he is talking about the 19th century; is that biased? Let us know, because the term "sucks" just isn't specific enough.

        July 29, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
      • david ph

        fareed is getting double checks from two 3-letter acronym organizations starting with c.

        July 30, 2011 at 6:31 am |
      • Phillip

        Unfortunately – it seems that Fareed always has an anti-American tone to his commentary. He doesn't ever seem to present positive aspects of being in America or being American. They're always just poking at how America is no longer great, and Americans are failing. While I realize some of this seems true, I don't think it needs to be a constant theme. It's almost like someone telling you you'll never succeed... and if you hear it long enough, you begin to believe it. I'd like to see something a bit more positive come out of this guy.

        July 30, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
      • Rod C. Venger

        CNN has sold it's journalistic soul to an Islamic thinker.

        July 30, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
      • bG

        Let's see: Fareed Zakaria, Yale graduate, Harvard graduate, managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine, columnist (and an editor) for Newsweek and then Time magazine, and he has a show on CNN. Sounds to me like he's a journalist.
        Also sounds like you all can't handle the facts that the world is not conformiing to your small minded image of it. I say to you what a great philosopher said to another: every time you think, you weaken the nation.

        July 31, 2011 at 3:24 am |
      • AnnieLi

        I think what grates on people (me included) is the line "We think of Americans as famously uninterested in the world." It's a demeaning generalization which suggests we're self-absorbed, unintelligent or whatever. And I really don't see what it added to the story.

        July 31, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
      • sevres blue

        Why? Maybe it's you who sucks.

        July 31, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
      • Dennis C

        Why the discussion about two hundred years ago? Let's talk about Vichy France during WW2! Or chopped off the heads of state, including woment? I always believed and still do that the word fareed is a sound that a duck makes when it farts underwater...

        August 1, 2011 at 9:53 am |
      • willi f. moelzer

        I am totally disgusted with this Sunday's Zakaria. Interviwing two inconsequential people was all I could stomach!
        Convince me that Fareed is still bearing watching or i will terminate my loyal Sunday morning watching imm!ediately. There is no room at for banalities in my life! For that very reason Ibegan watching his show–the absence of banalities.
        Why did he interview that unimportant man carrying on about the Osama raid and the equally unimportant fall and departure from Hillary? What happened to relevance?
        A written reply to my quite valid concerns is very much appreciated.
        Mahalo, Willi F. Moelzer Eugene, Oregon

        December 30, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Kevin H

      What also came out of McCollough's Adams book was the incredible political brinksmanship of the French government. The games they played – how they controlled European foreign policy completely and absolutely. They hooked the US like drug addicts on their arms, their military strategy, their goods and services – and then cut us off at the knees when we needed to borrow money forcing Adams to go to Holland and beg for money there. The French were opportunists and the tables turned on the people in power as the revolution went forward. We were friends, but friends of necessity. And the French always believed they were far superior at everything.

      July 29, 2011 at 11:44 am | Reply
      • Bob from Pittsburgh

        You wrote:""and then cut us off at the knees when we needed to borrow money forcing Adams to go to Holland and beg for money there""

        Luis XVI went broke.. he runned out of money. that is why the french revolution, they cut his head off at the guillotine..
        there was no money to lend to America..

        July 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
      • truesoy

        ....but they gave us the United States. Isn't that wonderful.
        and as resentful as you may be, you have to accept that.

        July 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
      • WOBH

        Among nations there are only friends of necessity.... The US was once a friend of Hussain's Iraq, Iran under the Shah was a friend of the US ... Russia, was a friend, became a mortal enemy, and is now a friend again... all driven by necessity... that's the way the world works.

        July 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
      • Bill

        Bob from Pittsburgh forgets that Louis XVI had already been executed by the time Adams's presidency began in 1797. What the US was trying to do was to establish trading relations with France as a way to reduce our commercial ties to Great Britan. However, the war between Great Britan and France made this very difficult with both countries preying on our merchantmen. The first war the US ever fought was an undeclared quasi-war with France in the 1790's.

        July 29, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
      • AnnieLi

        @truesoy – France did not "give" us America. They backed and helped us reach our goal of independence, but they benefited as well.

        July 31, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
      • stumpy

        They played the game well, and you resent them?

        Gee, glad you aren't US Secretary of State, head of the CIA, running a significant company, or have any other responsible position

        You cant handle the truth

        August 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • marc raymond

      why americans still love france? why not france has to be loved it is a great country. the people are nice the laws are fair and treatment is the same as a matter of fact france was an inspiration to the americann revolutionaries battling france. especially to thomas Jefferson.

      July 29, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Reply
      • marc raymond

        battling england that is.

        July 29, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Michael Bradley

      So France, the then sworn enemy of the British, help British colonists rebel and fight against their own crown. Seems like the French were thinking of themselves really.

      July 29, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Reply
      • salvatore

        Yes France did the same thing (unsuccessfully) with Ireland. But the French were also driven by the Enlightenment, not just the opportunity to mess with Britain.

        July 29, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • Vumba

      And we paid them back ten fold in WWI and WWII. We're even. Now they should shut their mouths and accept the fact the United States is everything they want to be but never will be. Oui?

      July 30, 2011 at 12:17 am | Reply
      • anacapri15

        Clearly you know nothing about French culture or the French people. I would go as far as to say that you have never been there or when you went, your head was so far up your @ss that you completely missed the entire culture.

        The French do not want to be America. What a joke. The last thing that French people want are more McDonalds and Disney theme parks. The French want to be 'the French' and they are pretty damn good at it.

        We are no different; expect many Americans expect the French to accommodate our language deficiencies when we visit their country. I have seen it too many times out there and it always saddens me. Blame our education system or our ethnocentrism, either way both our cultures could learn a few things from each other.

        Vie la France & God Bless America.

        July 30, 2011 at 3:12 am |
      • Frank

        I desagree with Anacapri. Last thing French want is more McDonald's and Disney Parks? I once lived in Paris and there are hundreds of McDonalds and they are many French people eating there. Also there is a Disney park In Paris. I worked for a French company and all that French do is critize and insult Americans (by the way I'm not American). French are rude and have bad manners. You can not critize people because of their nationality, but this is what French do. with the Americans. God bless America

        July 30, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
      • Aloha Bobby

        Close, long relationships almost inevitably have tension. Think family. Think marriage. Think your oldest friends who have known you since you were a child. It's healthy that the French critique us and we critique them. Both our countries have incredible footage from the highlight reels, and sadly, many things to be not so proud of.

        Part of our collective antipathy toward France lies tangled with our Anglophilism. We can't really love France the way it really ought to be loved because the English and French were and are rivals.

        That said, I love France. A beautiful, sophisticated country. My oldest daughter just spent 6 weeks studying at the Sorbonne. Readers might note that the cost of a college credit there is (even for Americans) about 1/3rd the cost of one in the United States. Anyway, she loved it. Hey, what's better than Paris when you're 20?

        August 1, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
      • salvatore

        France and the US have a lot of similar founding principles and common goals today, whether anyone on either side wants to admit it or not. Both countries have a strong sense of nationalism as well, so of course their citizens like their own country best.

        August 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • andrewesome

      I still love the French. They have a degree of honesty that American politics lacks.

      July 30, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Reply
      • TrentMike

        You are obviously kidding? French politics honest! Mitterrand was a suspected collaborator during the war, Chirac was widely seen as a crook. And then you have Le Pen.

        July 31, 2011 at 4:21 am |
      • dude

        French red wine is just so much red water. new world reds ROCK!

        July 31, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Tony

      Both countries have a lot of positives, however, US is the greatest country in the world during bad or good time..

      July 30, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Reply
      • Nigel Booshti Booshti

        Never been to Australia, mate?

        July 30, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • gary

      without the french underground there would have been no d-day either

      we owe them our respect

      July 30, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Reply
    • chuck58

      Traveling to Italy and France over the past few years i can say the people are wonderful. If you just try a little bit to speak their language they are thrilled. We are the ugly Americans, expecting English wherever we go. Go to Normandy Beach in France. The citizens are forever grateful to the USA for liberating the country.

      August 2, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Reply
  2. Martine

    How wonderful to hear these deep perspectives form time to time. Humbling to say the least.

    July 28, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  3. Onesmallvoice

    If the Americans love France so much, then why do so few of them speak or understand French? I think I know the answer to that. It is called a superiority complex!

    July 28, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Reply
    • Elaine Connelly

      No, you are entirely incorrect. Most of our country was settled to begin with by Anglo speaking persons. Those who immigrated here LEGALLY loved this country enough that they wanted to speak the main language which was English. You sound like someone who really has a chip on his shoulder. IF YOU WANT TO SPEAK MAINLY FRENCH, THEN MOVE THERE IDIOT!

      July 29, 2011 at 9:52 am | Reply
      • Justine

        Sorry Elaine, but in the usa, americans speak, american NOT English.

        July 29, 2011 at 9:59 am |
      • Adrian

        We speak English. There are different dialects of English, but we still speak ENGLISH...not "American". Can't tell you how stupid that sounds, Justine.

        July 29, 2011 at 10:22 am |
      • Kevin

        Which school did Justine go to? There is not a language group known as American. It's English. And for Onesmall (insignificant) voice, our countries were woven together because of a number of things including their assistance during our Independence, a lot of trade and cultural exchanges, and a common governmental pattern. However our language was set in place during our colonial period under England, not France. France held Quebec and so they speak French in Quebec. Is this really a difficult thing to understand? Superiority complex??? Grow up, idiot.

        July 29, 2011 at 10:30 am |
      • Kevin H

        'scuse me, hold the phone, stop the presses – my people came over the Allegheny Mountains from Pennsylvania to northern Ohio – and they all spoke, wrote and read in German. This construct we have that somehow we were this monolingual country that only spoke English is not only racist – it's just wrong. Depending on where you went in the US we spoke French, German, Spanish and a huge host of native American languages right through World War I. Even after that point my great-grandmother and my great-uncle spoke German together at home – quietly – secretly – even after it was forbidden.

        July 29, 2011 at 11:47 am |
      • Danon

        Elaine, you seem to have a comprehension problem. The question of onesmallvoice was not why Americans don't speak French as their native language, but why, if they loved France, they did not bother to learn French as a second (or third, one can always dream...) language. Yes, unbelievable as it may sound, some people can speak more than one language (I, for example, speak four). Your comments as to how America was created are therefore off topic. Your screams about speaking "mainly French" have no relation to reality. And your insults are simply, well... idiotic?

        July 29, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
      • Elizabeth

        Can we speak with civility without using the term "idiot" and the like? Some people learn a few languages, many don't bother learning anything (only about 25 percent of Americans know any history at all); a few have trouble learning other languages because they don't hear other languages when they are little. Many speak Spanish if they learn any language, because some people here speak Spanish. People speak French in Canada, but not here. In my youth, it was common for French teachers to have very little knowledge of the language; it was impossible to understand them, and we were given only a few years of a foreign language (and it was elective, only some students take any other languages), and and not until high school. I tried to learn French, but couldn't distinguish the slurred words, because I didn't have enough years listening to any native speaker. This is still true in America, where the education system is not funded. If I were to make a negative comment about foreign countries it would be to say that America has spent its money instead protecting the world with our military, and that has utterly and completely bankrupted us. And that the towns that fund their education systems are also getting rid of these "elective" courses.

        July 29, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • jon

      I have a better question. Why do so many Canadians speak only French? They're in North America: LEARN THE LANGUAGE!

      July 29, 2011 at 10:45 am | Reply
      • Kevin H

        Ummmm well Quebec City just celebrated a bit of a milestone making that settlement the oldest in Canada – and jon – hate to break it to you – they spoke French. Oh and the second oldest settlement in North America was in modern Florida – and they spoke Spanish. Entonces hablas español ou parlez-français, "dude".

        July 29, 2011 at 11:49 am |
      • Bob from Pittsburgh


        Obviously you speak only two languages, English and pig Latin.

        Here in the USA as well as in Canada there many languages spoken, when you have a population as such is great for the economy, it allows government and companies to do business internationally, not to mention the more languages you speak the more opportunities to learn..

        July 29, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
      • Nick

        What language should they learn, Jon? How about Spanish? After all, "this is North America."

        July 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
      • WOBH

        Jon.. Jon... Jon... get a clue.... Canada has two official languages (English & French). Both languages are spoken in Parliment and the business of the Federal government is conducted in both languages. It's a tradition that Canadians are rightly proud of and one that honours both founding cultures.

        Canada is a soverign nation. Why is it you think they should follow the lead of the USA? You are an example of what an earlier poster referred to as having a superiority complex.

        July 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
      • Nemesis

        Pauvre ignorant! Par ou commencer? Les francophones du Canada sont les plus enracinés des Canadiens. Nous avons fondé Québec et planté nos racines dans ce territoire en 1608. Mes ancetres sont arrivés en 1665 et ont exploré le continent tout en établissant des liens profonds avec les Amérindiens. La Nouverlle Orléans, Baton Rouge, St-Louis, Détroit, Fort Duquesne, Montréal, Trois-Rivières, Québec, cela nous appartient et nous reviendra un jour.

        July 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
      • Aubrie

        NEMESIS........ Merci pour votre response. Vous avez fait un bon point.

        July 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
      • salvatore

        Because Canada (now Quebec) was originally a French colony. And may I add, duh.

        July 29, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
      • Jimbo

        Jon, if you didn't intend your comment to be a joke of some sort, or an intentional way of stirring people up, then... wow. You can't really be that foolish, right?

        July 31, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
      • sevres blue

        It's their heritage, Jon. They're not asking YOU to speak another language. Chill.

        July 31, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
      • Lionel

        Dear Jon, If you go back in history and read some books about it, you will find out why certain parts of Canada are influenced by the French culture and as a result the French language dominant. If you go in other parts of Canada, English is more prominent... At the end of the day, It works fine for Canada. It creates a wonderful melting pot with lots of British and French culture to which Canadians can identify!

        August 1, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Nick

      Many Americans speak French, they just don't realize it. A large amount of English vocabulary came directly from French: any words for political/military people and structures (lieutenant, president, government, politics, captain, etc.), any words for animals eaten as meat (mutton, beef, etc.) and many, many, many more.

      July 29, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Reply
      • Onesmallvoice

        Quite true, Nick. The main reason for that is because of the 1066 Norman invasion of England. While the Normans continued to speak French, the English clung to their own language. As a consequence, many French words entered into the English language, replacing many of the original English words resulting in the transition from Old English into Middle English.

        July 29, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • WOBH

      I think in the context of the book, in the early 1800s, Americans who did go to France very likely spoke French and rather well. How impossible would it be to study medicine or engineering in a French university without speaking French.

      In today's context there is animosity toward France from many Americans. (Remember freedom fries and freedom toast). France goes it's own way. Many in the US think that France should kowtow to US ambition in foreign policy matters. Many think that the US saved France from Hitler so France owes the US something... US involvement in WW1 and 2 were payment of the debt owed for France's support in founding the nation in the 1700s

      July 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Reply
      • Anon_e_mouse

        Having read the book, I can tell you that according to McCullough many of the Americans did NOT speak French before they went to France, and some never did learn to speak it well (although most did). They learned it of necessity – by immersion – just as those who immigrated to the United States in the same era learned English, because there was no government policy of providing everything in every language so those who were too lazy to learn the language of the country could cope.

        July 29, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
      • WOBH

        A Mouse.... as you said, you read the book. But my point doesn't change. If Americans went to France to study then out of necessity they would have to learn to converse in French if they did not already speak the language. As you say, most did learn to speak French well.

        July 29, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
      • salvatore

        French was the lingua franca at the time, though.

        July 29, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • Rick

      And you can also ask yourself why so few french speak English, or any other language for that matter. They are amongst the worst in Europe as far as speaking other languages goes.

      July 29, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Reply
      • Idi-oats a Plenty

        Clearly there are a lot of small-minded, semi-literates who just can't help but put in their two cents. About the French not speaking any other languages, clearly you have never even been out of your small town, let alone lived in France. I lived there for two years, and ran into plenty of people who not only spoke English, but spoke it well, with many others having functional literacy spoken and written in other languages. I ran into street people who spoke more proper English than most Americans. Bus drivers and police helped me in English the first month I lived there as I tried to acclimate to the language despite more than ten years of French studies in school here in the States. The French were not rude to me for the most part, any more so than any day of the week in the States...there are always sad sacks no matter where you go. But then again I did not go to France with a superiority (or more appropriately according to Freud– an INFERIORITY) complex believing that I was somehow superior because I was American. I'm very proud to be American (despite the huge numbers of illiterate, small-minded losers that make us all look bad), but that doesn't mean I'm not capable of going to another country and appreciating everything that country, culture, and people have to offer. The right wing extremists are on a bender over France because of French politics and education. Gd forbid, France has a better educational system and health system and does it all cheaper all thanks to evil socialism. (actually is a mixed economy) But all that aside, the comments on the page are incredibly stupid. It's hard to believe an HISTORIAN like McCullough is controversial because he wrote a book about American and French history! Go crawl back into your caves.

        And incidentally, the French didn't want to be involved in air strikes against Libya back in the 80s because they had already learned the hard lesson of p*ss*ng off the Arabs with colonialism. The 60s were France's introduction to incredible acts of terrorism and they learned the hard way what happens when you meddle in other countries' affairs, long before acts of terrorism happened on our own soil. Too bad we didn't learn from the French before playing in the sandbox. (Check out the film, Battle of Algiers, for an excellent account of what France faced from the Algerians)

        July 31, 2011 at 1:09 am |
      • sevres blue

        What I found in France, was that if you attempted to speak THEIR language in THEIR country, they mostly spoke excellent English back to you – to make it easy for you. If you were a BOOR and insisted that they speak English, they respond in French. I never encountered a rude or inhospitable Frenchman or Frenchwoman. You just can't go there and act like a jerk. Which, I guess, you know by now.

        July 31, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
    • blessedgeek

      Hey, there were lots of French speaking people up here in Mane. Especially up north. The current governor of Maine had poor command of English well until be went to college. They were discriminated against and had been a source of cheap labour for the English speaking south.

      The Louisiana Cajuns were actually exiles (exiled by the British) of the Acadia region here. Acadia (pronounced akajia) dropped the upfront vowel, and the exiled Acadians became Cajuns. Arcadia is a reference to Utopia in Greek. So come up here y'all and visit Utopia.

      July 29, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Reply
    • andrewesome

      I'd like to learn French and visit France but George Bush spent all of Americas' money looking for WMDs in Iraq.

      July 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Reply
    • Robear in Ojai

      A great many educated Americans do speak French, emphasis on "educated".

      July 31, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Reply
      • jkpatlanta

        And many of us teach the French language and culture as well.

        July 31, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • salvatore

      English is the lingua franca today first because of the British Empire which spanned 2/3 of the world's landmass, and now because of the US's wide global influence. French was the lingua franca when it had the dominant empire as well.

      August 2, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Reply
    • Xavier

      I love France and respect the nation, and have been there several times... but...

      It is not like many French speak English. France is not Germany or the Netherlands, where most people are truly bilingual. French speak English like Americans speak Spanish. You ask them in French if they speak English, they reply 'yes'. Then you speak English to them, and you can tell they are in no way bilingual, though they will claim to be.

      France is not a bilingual nation; many northern Eurpean nations are, but those are not France.

      Also, it is simply logical to expect not as many Americans are bilingual as compared to other nations. We live on the North American side of the Atlantic, where most Americans would have to travel quite the distance to leave of nation. We also speak the language which happens to be the international language of the world and business. So, what use is there to learn another language? Well, there is certainly plenty of use, but much less so as compared to say a person from the Netherlands. Where is there more net-benefit; a dutch speaker learning English, or an English speaker learning Dutch? Obviously the former.

      It is good to learn another language, but this whole insult against Americans for not being bilingual is mostly unreasonable.

      August 10, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  4. Georges Bush

    This article sounds like a provocation.

    July 29, 2011 at 10:05 am | Reply
    • us1776

      Bush, You are a complete nitwit.
      Have you ever been to France? Of course not. You are just another stupid rightwinger who gets their only view of the world from the Murdoch & Co. propaganda on Fox News.

      July 29, 2011 at 11:37 am | Reply
    • Bob from Pittsburgh

      Real Americans would not have a country if it wasn't for Luis XVI's money..

      July 29, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Reply
    • lennon420

      I guess Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were not real patriots. Both were avid Francophiles.

      July 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Reply
    • salvatore

      ^ Whoosh x 3.

      July 29, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Reply
    • andrewesome

      I'd like visit France but George Bush spent all our money looking for WMDs in Iraq. Now the Chinese are teaching us mandarin.

      July 30, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Reply
    • Jimbo

      When someone calls themself a "patriot," you know they're hiding something.

      July 31, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  5. Dave

    Zak perhaps Indians love France. But American patriots do not like any country that hands itself over to socialists and then muslims. (Actually come to think of it, you're both a socialist and a muslim.) Unfortunately that's the direction of quite a few euro-counries. We do NOT love France Zak.

    July 29, 2011 at 10:20 am | Reply
    • Michael Wong

      Most people who call themselves "American patriots" are just ignorant flag-waving blowhards who think that patriotism is just a matter of hating the right groups.

      July 29, 2011 at 10:29 am | Reply
    • Farooq Usman

      "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."

      Im a france loving, liberal, muslim. What are you dave? A racist tea party member just filled with hatred?
      Please move out of my country as soon as possible

      July 29, 2011 at 11:21 am | Reply
    • Terre

      Here we go, one of the first teabagging nutcases to arrive.

      July 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Reply
    • IndiaRocks

      Do the other 300 million Americans know that you're speaking for them?

      July 29, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Reply
    • Aubrie

      Speak for yourself Dave.... Not me, and apparently not for a LOT of people on these messages!

      July 29, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Reply
    • salvatore

      For everyone's information, the Gallup says Americans' "favorability" rating of France is back up to 70+%.

      July 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Reply
      • salvatore

        the Gallup *poll

        July 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Idi-oats a Plenty

      Hey d0uche...I'm a left wing liberal PATRIOT who loves my country, loves my language, and loves living in the US (born, bred, and buttered here)...thinks America is pretty super for lots of reasons. I also believe in the power of unions (who brought to you the 5 day, 40 hour work week, took away child labor, and stopped corporations and factories from locking in women to die in fires–look it up). We too have socialism (ooooo--boogeyman is coming for you)....I suppose you'll refuse your social security check or city fire and police services? Socialism in Europe is simply saying some services are too important not to get special protection, like education and health care. People in Europe in these "evil" socialist countries get four to five weeks of vacation, have stronger family connections (ie values that you people harp on endlessly), report lower levels of stress, have better health outcomes, self report higher life satisfaction...well I guess what I"m trying to say is that I love my country and I am happy to serve so I don't appreciate being told that a "true patriot" has to p00p on another country or culture or political affiliation to be so.

      July 31, 2011 at 1:22 am | Reply
    • sevres blue

      Dave, Dave, Dave... go back in your bunker. We, progressive and open minded Americans LOVE France! We never bought the whole 'Freedom Fries' crap. We may have helped them in WWI, but they helped us out many times before that. Study history. Or have someone read history books to you. I'm just betting you're a closed minded tea bug.

      July 31, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Reply
  6. us1776

    The United States would not even exist if it were not for the military and economic help that we received from the French during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

    The Statue of Liberty was also a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States.

    And it was the Americans who liberated France from the Nazis and gave the French their country back.

    The United States and France have great ties going back centuries in history.


    July 29, 2011 at 11:19 am | Reply
    • Bob from Pittsburgh

      well said...

      July 29, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Reply
    • Bill

      The French did nothing to support the US in the War of 1812. Napoleon was too busy dealing with the Russians Prussians, Austrians, and British to care what happened in North America. At the time, the US was just as likely to go to war with France as it was with Great Britian. In fact, the US had already fought an undeclared naval war against the French in the 1790's. The French weren't allies on any level and continued to hold American ships in port and American sailors in prison.

      July 29, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Reply
      • us1776

        Bill, nonsense, Napoleon had already agreed to quit interfering with American shipping, and that left the US free to declare was on Great Britain in June 1812.


        July 29, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
      • salvatore

        An incomplete account. After the Quasi War Adams and Jefferson made peace with France a top priority.

        July 29, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  7. bachmanntwit

    Michele Bachmann's husband, Marcus Bachmann, has this very feminine and very falsetto voice and yet he bashes the gays. Hmmmm....

    July 29, 2011 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • Phillip

      Guilty dog barks loudest!

      July 30, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  8. Carole Clarke

    We came pretty close to not being at all in the beginning – our national start-up company was our country and we were developing it too fast for the sciences of the time to keep up. We were pushing the western frontier out but did not have the manpower to police it but somehow we managed. The French were a great help, not because they liked us but because they had a global rivalry going on with Britain for centuries and we used that to break free from England. Had Mother England encouraged the separation as natural, like fledlings leaving the nest she would still have her empire, albeit greatly changed – the influence would still be there. But she refused to let go and we went to war to leave the nest. Perhaps it was necessary to go through that to get where we are today. Several times we have passed through the fire and come out stronger. The French have always been just the way they are. My Army family was stationed in Orleans, south of Paris, for 4 years and I spent a year at the Sorbonne – great for expanding the mind! Still speak a bit of French. Accept them as they are – learn to speak their language decently and you'll do all right there.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:35 am | Reply
    • Crockett

      I would love to have had an opportunity to study at the Sorbonne. At least I spent my junior year abroad in Nice. I used to ride my Peugeot bicycle on the Promenade des Anglais. One day, some American tourists took a photo of me, thinking I was a French guy. Je n'ai rien dit, mais c'etait bien rigolo.

      July 30, 2011 at 2:30 am | Reply
  9. Bonnie

    Unlike Americans, the French do everything elegant and tasty, don't they? It's just traditionally they are not moral like Americans. But Americans should be grateful to France that it helped them get independence and let them have previledge to save it from Nazis. Europe and America help each other always and it's beautiful no matter what.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:39 am | Reply
    • Kevin H

      My friend's husband just arrived back in Germany from Passy – he didn't think the food was that tasty or that the French were that polite. But then he lives in a state in Germany that historically spoke the most "french" German and ate food that was French influenced – so I see your point.

      July 29, 2011 at 11:52 am | Reply
  10. Bonnie

    I think Europeans and Americans should love and trust each other more. Too much pride to do so, maybe? Immorality is making everything corrosive in the West.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:42 am | Reply
    • Carole Clarke

      Very struck by your comment about immorality making the West corrosive. I agree. It seems to have started after Viet Nam tho the seeds may always have been there. All the drugs coming back out of SE Asia didn't help. We seem to have abandoned morals, ethics, standards in exchange for the quick fix, a big payday and fast thrills. Family isn't important anymore and removing that collapses the societal structure we had. We have turned into a group that prizes personal pleasure as a goal, deny yourself nothing, do whatever turns you on – who cares? Religion has turned into vicious politics and God has been abandoned along with country. Shades of the end of Rome...

      July 29, 2011 at 11:55 am | Reply
  11. DD

    The French as the English are like brothers and sisters to us. Sometimes we do not like each other and trash each other but when someone else does it. Then we stand up for each other. Just how siblings act.

    July 29, 2011 at 11:57 am | Reply
  12. taylor

    This article opens with a quote from Fareed stating " americans are famously uninterested in the world". If that's the case today, why are american tax dollars squandered around the world trying to save and rebuild every other country. Not to get off topic, I love the French, but the US is falling apart and it's time to use US resouces to fix the propbems in the US.

    July 29, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Reply
    • salvatore

      Foreign aid is 1% of the budget and a huge part of diplomacy. We could do with fewer overseas military bases though.

      July 29, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  13. Unknown

    France had a major influence on our ideals and we influenced them as well. It was our revolution that inspired their revolution. They helped us fight the British and we helped them fight the Germans. They introduced the idea that country's can function without slavery. We in turn introduced the idea them of women's suffrage.

    July 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Reply
    • Unknown

      Correction: countries

      July 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Reply
    • nALLAH

      Also, the French Revolution led to the American creation of two-party system in America.

      July 29, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  14. Nick

    For the last half of the interview. Did Fareed just interview himself?

    July 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Reply
    • Bob from Pittsburgh

      Ha Ha Ha... I was thought the same thing.. I belive it was one of those copy and paste jobs..

      July 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Reply
  15. lennon420

    I love France. Paris is an amazing city and if one attempts to speak French, even if it is basic, elementary French, one is treated warmly. Whenever I mentioned that I was from Alabama to people, they immediately began singing Lynyrd Skynyrd and I became as fascinating and exotic in their eyes as a traveler from some remote Pacific island like Tuvalu.

    July 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Reply
    • Crockett

      Many Americans in Paris make a small pilgrimage to Pere-Lachaise cemetery to see the grave of Jim Morrison (the Doors). Others may check out Edith Piaf or any of the many famous authors and composers buried there. My favorite place in all of Paris is actually a park called Buttes Chaumont, which originally was a quarry. It's beautiful. It's been nearly two decades since I've been to Paris, and I'm sure much has changed. Most people who hate on the French are a bit short-signted when it comes to history.

      July 30, 2011 at 2:35 am | Reply
  16. mason

    Yeah but the U.S. is mostly Mexicans now...not the same Celtic gene pool. Things will change..and not for the better.Hate to sound Racist but our early European heritage was more important than people realize in establishing the freedoms we enjoy so much. The Celts were fierce individuals and lovers of poetry and music and our forefathers shared that spirit.

    July 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Reply
    • Bob from Pittsburgh

      Did you know that Mexico was a French colony? if you visit Guanajuato you will see the huge French influence..
      In south America the influence from Europe happened during the 19th century before the Panama canal, Brazil Argentina, Chile and Peru were the ones with huge amount of illegal’s from Europe..;-)

      Just saying, you seem misinformed..

      July 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Reply
      • nALLAH

        Mexico was colonized primarily by Spain, not France.

        July 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
      • bG

        I suggest nAllah (a bigoted piece of nasty skunky work aren't you?) actually read some history. Emperor Napoleon III invaded Mexico in 1862 and installed a puppet emperor. Another example of conservatives engaging in nation building and just as effective as more recent examples. The Mexicans threw them out.

        July 31, 2011 at 3:13 am |
    • lennon420

      The two largest ethnic groups in the US are Germans and English, neither of which are Celtic. Your assumption that the US is predominantly Latino/Mexican is likely based on your prejudice against them, and your belief that there are "too many." I welcome Latinos.

      July 29, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Reply
    • Ernesto Pantera

      I agree. But those brown Mexicans, who were colonized by Spain, are actually Native American Indians which were here long before the white Spanish soldiers came conquering America.

      July 30, 2011 at 4:41 am | Reply
  17. Yesman

    Looks like Fareed did all the talking at the end, LOL! David mentioned work as happiness, however John Roebling, who built the Brooklyn Bridge, injured his foot due to his job, kept working from his apartment despite the infection, and pretty much died as a result of not taking care of himself, and overworked to exhaustion. Roebling should be celebrated as a true American hero – if not for all the major rail and traffic spans he built across the US Northeast, our country would not have industrialized at nearly the pace it did. David should consider doing a book Roebling and ALL his works from that viewpoint.

    July 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  18. Yesman

    ...and if you buy that book, I have a bridge to sell you, LOL!

    July 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  19. Terre

    I was in Paris last year with my teenage son who speaks high school french. I idiotically tried to use the wrong debit card to withdraw cash and since I thought it was the correct I used the wrong pin so the card was withheld by the ATM. The bank was closed and I swore a bit and an elderly Parisian women asked what was the matter and my son explained and she called someone at the bank on her cell phone and they came and opened up the bank just to get me my debit card back, Somehow I doubt that would happen in NYC. We had a great time in France and we lived close to a bakery with the best croissants I have ever had.

    July 29, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Reply
    • Crockett

      A little high school French can go a long way. As for the croissants, they're great. What I miss are the pains au chocolat. It's good that you had this positive experience. It will help you balance your views of France and French people. I have been to France nine times, and have spent about three years piecemeal over there, and in all that time, I ran into only two people who were unfriendly. The French do have something of a love-hate relationship with the States. On the one hand, they love our music, our movies, and adopt English language terms like crazy. On the other hand, they resent (a little) our cultural and political influence. They embrace America, but also feel protective of their language and culture. If you approach a French citizen and throw out a few French words, they will engage you in wonderful conversations. The French love to analyze, and they love to share their philosophical views. Just go with the flow. In the end, it's the one-on-one relationships that shape one's view of another people. .

      July 30, 2011 at 2:45 am | Reply
    • Deborah

      I had to laugh when I read your post. I too was in Paris last summer with my teenage son and had some bank troubles with my debit card! Thank goodness they were open and able to help me(my son has French and I have some as well)but they were more than happy to speak to us in English. Wasnt it unbearably hot? But we loved it all the same and cant wait to go back!!

      August 1, 2011 at 6:41 am | Reply
  20. Jangocat

    Leave it to an Indian to come to this conclusion. Most Americans definitely do not love France. They have made a habit of harboring murders like Ira Einhorn and refusing to extradite them. They finally extradited Einhorn but it took decades of legal battles.

    July 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Reply
    • WOBH

      The US has supported and harbored its share of murderers.... don't be an ostretch

      July 29, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Reply
    • zoundsman

      Ugh-I remember reading that book about Ira Einhorn. A weird and nasty fellow.

      July 29, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Reply
    • Rick

      I believe Mr. Zakaria is American.

      July 29, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • JHaas

      France refused to extradite Ira Einhorn who had been convicted of murder in the US. France couldn't protect convicted cop murderer Mumia Abu-jamal so they made him a citizen of honor to at least prevent him from being executed as he should have been. And who could forget the outrage at the American justice system's willingness to prosecute the child rapist Polanski. As Mark Twain observed, while people in most countries have a sense of morality, the French seem to have a sense of immorality instead.

      July 30, 2011 at 5:39 am | Reply
    • sevres blue

      Personally I do not know ANYONE who does not *love* France. What's not to love? But I don't hang around with closed minded people.

      July 31, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Reply
  21. JOE

    The laws in France are fair? Weren't minorities and African immigrants in France being bashed and their human rights being violated by the French authorities a few years ago? And what has France really done for America? So many of our soldiers died liberating France from Nazi Germany and at the end of the day, they gave us a Statute. How nice! And yet, when Americans travel to France, the Franch is always rude, hostile and unaccomodating to us. How ironic.

    So I hear that Paris is the "City of Lights." And New York City? Let's face it, Time Square alone has more lights than the whole of Paris. And the Eifel Tower? O' we have one in Vegas. What a toy. Hey, America is the greates country in the world, despite the fact that we are still the most racist, black president or no black president. And guess what France, America is still the leading tourist capitol of the world.

    July 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Reply
    • Aubrie

      The French helped us gain our independence during the American Revolution nimrod.... Our earliest doctors were educated there. They've don a lot for us and other nations as well... Did you miss that history lesson??? It was only fair that we help them.... I've been to France and found them to be warm and friendly... Maybe not in Paris, but who would judge all of France based on Paris? That's like saying all of the U.S. is like New York City... Lived there too, and found them WAY more rude than the French in Paris, but the folks in the rest of the U.S. are very nice... It works that way there too....

      July 29, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Reply
    • Rick

      And here folks we have a perfect example of the ignorance of the typical American. No time to point out every falsehood in your barrage or stupidity but actually France is the most visited country in the world. Not America.

      July 29, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Reply
    • Vercingetorix


      Get educated, or it you are too lazy for a search in Wikipedia, here it is:
      Paris has many nicknames, but its most famous is "La Ville-Lumière" ("The City of Light" or "The Illuminated City"),a name it owes first to its fame as a centre of education and ideas during the Age of Enlightenment, and later to its early adoption of street lighting.
      Your ignorant comment about Time Square made me LOL.
      As for your statements about French laws being unfair, where are the examples ? You may want to check "Declaration des droits de l'homme" ... or just refrain from making a fool of yourself online.

      July 30, 2011 at 3:37 am | Reply
    • JHaas

      The French have always been obsessed with finding specks in American eyes while ignoring the truckload of logs in their own eyes. France always aimed to be in speech what America was in deed, and the only for France to hide from its own population the reality behind the empty rhetoric has always been to denigrate America in every way possible.

      In 1961 the French police arbitrarily singled out 130 Algerian immigrants who protested against the abject treatment of immigrant workers in France, rounded them up, drove them to the nearby prefectory, where each one of them was executed in cold blood with a bullet in the back of the head. At the time, foreign construction workers (among others) lived in sordid conditions that would have made a slave owner feel squeamish. French authorities organized the massacre as an act of intimidation in order to preserve the statu quo, The French public, constantly entertained by horrific stories about racism in America, didn't even notice. When the massacre was finally brought to light in the last decade it was met with a typical gallic shrug. Never mind that America has repeatedly made a point of confronting its pasts and righting its wrongs, the French will always be incensed by how Blacks and Indians were treated, in spite of overwhelming evidence that France not only did far worse things but, on top of it, never ever owned up to any mistake.

      July 30, 2011 at 6:50 am | Reply
  22. SarahPalin

    I like the French. But mostly I like their toast and fries. When you elect me president, I will invite the French to the white house (not black house) to make my rich republican friends and I some French Toast and French Fries. Then we will poor the left over hot oil onto the poor people in the streets. The poor people can use the left over oil to cook their rats. I hear the French like to eat rats too. Not me though.

    July 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Reply
  23. JOE

    The black slaves built the white House. That's why there's a black man and black woman in it being served by white patrons like you.

    July 29, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Reply
    • WOBH

      Did you immigrate to the US from South Africa after Aparthide was abolished? You sound like an aparthide supporter

      July 29, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  24. palintwit

    Do French women still refrain from shaving their legs and armpits?

    July 29, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Reply
    • lennon420

      doesn't matter. French women are beautiful.

      July 29, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Reply
    • Crockett

      Yes, the French women shave their legs and armpits. And they actually know how to walk elegantly in high heels. .

      July 30, 2011 at 2:53 am | Reply
    • JHaas

      Annual sales of body hygiene products in France are the lowest of the Euro zone. Worse, the French consume half as many hygiene products as the country right above them on the list.

      July 30, 2011 at 6:54 am | Reply
  25. american

    Blah blah blah, france, blah blah blah, america, blah blah blah...

    Oh wait, this article was written by that "multicultural" indian guy, that's why i don't care...

    July 29, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Reply
    • Conan the Librarian

      who is also a Muslim I believe his comments are as relevant as Stevie Wonder commenting on an oil painting

      July 29, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Reply
      • Aubrie

        Good one!! touche!

        July 29, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
      • Crockett

        I originally assumed he was a Muslim, too. But he's not. He looks Middle Eastern, but his family is from India. I dont really care for him, but I do believe we should get the facts straight.

        July 30, 2011 at 2:55 am |
      • salvatore

        Not to encourage your xenophobia but there are Muslims in India. And in a lot of other countries, even the United States!

        August 2, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • INDIAN

      exactly the opposite – his views count because he's multicultural and highly educated unlike you & most of wise as$ brain washed fools

      August 1, 2011 at 1:19 am | Reply
    • INDIAN

      exactly the opposite – his views count because he's multicultural and highly educated unlike you & most of wise as$ brain washed fools chiming in here –

      August 1, 2011 at 1:19 am | Reply
  26. BottomFeeder

    France and how they handle social issues would scare most nations – not just America
    look what has happened to them embracing diversity driven by illegal immigration – especially the Middle Eastern folks that are ruining France – and about every other western European country
    the same is going to happen here
    wonder how the Eifel Tower is going to be converted into a mosque
    not a racist or a bigot – but we cannot agree with France on anything that takes some balls to do
    the stink in France is no longer just "good" cheese

    July 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Reply
    • Viva La France

      You are an absolute MORON. The French banned the Burqua and any outward expression of Islam in public.... So explain to me how it is they embrace illegal immigration and islam.... Do you even read the news...cuz Fox don';t count you stupid sack of filth.

      July 29, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Reply
    • WOBH

      "not a racist or a bigot"

      Yes you are... but you did choose an appropriate poster handle.

      July 29, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Reply
    • Casual Observer

      the other respondents to your post need to do the research – what they are reacting to is what the general public can get watching any cable news show
      the influx of immigration in Germany and France has had a staggering negative financial impact on both of their economies
      this not front page news – the UN and the IMF can confirm the numbers that both countries are in a downward spiral for being able to fund the social programs beyond the next 2-3 years

      July 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Reply
      • WOBH

        and yet France has a secure triple A credit rating while the USA's rating is in doubt.

        July 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  27. Viva La France

    I still love France, (having been there 6 times) and I despise my fellow Americans who have never step foot on French soil, nor interacted with a French person.... yet talk trash about them...The impression of France we have is very Paris-centric – which is like comparing all of American to new York City or Los Angeles...we all know that would be an incredibly ignorant thing to do. France is no different. Friendliest people I have met in Western Europeans. The Spaniards are racist sacks, the Dutch are beyond rude (actually aggressive) and the Italians wrote the book of arrogance ...give those countries the bad reputation. They actually deserve it.

    July 29, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Reply
    • Conan the Librarian

      Have you ever tried to do business in France? Their real colors come through and they aren't pretty
      they are selfish and arrogant beyond imagination – if it wasn't invented in France it must be worthless
      their bankers make the Pakistani's look like Boy Scouts
      they have no work ethic – they are exhausted at the end of the day from having their hands out for the next government freebie

      July 29, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Reply
      • German Friend

        You don't have a clue of what you are talking about. I opened a business in Sacramento and an other in Bordeaux(france)
        American banks are sharks and thousand times worth than the French ones. Work ethic in the US???? I have received threat from rivals, I have been back stabbed and robbed by " partners" in California. People in France are little lambs compared to the wolves in America

        July 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
      • Conan the Librarian

        I too am German and I am not talking about some small business – millions were invested in IP that the French investment bankers tried to steal – the over all capital requirements were in excess of 100 million euros
        so when you have played with the big boys you might have something to say – by the way my office in Stuttgart has to run all the French transactions through London as no one trusts the French private bankers
        and I do have experienced the dark side of the American financial system – the French are every bit as corrupt – they just have been at it longer

        July 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
      • German Friend

        Of course you like the American and British financial system you must have a big business. I am talking about those who try to open their little ones, the little entrepreneurs not the big guys. In the U.S if you are not big and have an army of lawyer you are going to be destroyed. If you don't have a big capital, American banks don't even give you a chance or they give you credits with incredible interests and you end up with an enormous debt. Almost, all my benefits in Sacramento were used to finance my debt. There is no American Dream.
        However in France, even if you are small, they respect you. I am sad that In America, business is only a game for the big guys. There is no respect and fairness for little entrepreneurs from the banks in the U.S.

        July 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
      • German Friend

        But of course as a big business owner, you must prefer the work ethic in SouthEast Asia where people work 70 hours a week for only a few dollars without complaining.

        July 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • Brad

      Isn't it "Vive La France"?


      July 29, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Reply
  28. JOE

    Yea, French women still refrain from shaving their legs and armpits because their perfume or toilette don't do the job.

    July 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Reply
    • palintwit

      I figured as much. But they probably have better teeth than the Brits.

      July 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • zoundsman

      Yeah, hair is distracting on a woman, I've noticed, when during sax, it stands on end.

      July 29, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Reply
  29. Brad

    Maybe America is uninterested in the rest of the world because the rest of the world appears barbaric. I'd rather be closed minded and somewhat safe in America.

    July 29, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Reply
    • German Friend

      Timothy Mcveigh, Charles Manson, the Sniper of Washington, The young guy who killed his fellow students in Columbine high school were such nice American fellow. I love the safe and civilized streets of L.A and New York where you can be shot for a few bucks. You are sooo funny

      July 29, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Reply
    • FrauSchmitd

      America SAFE??? My small village in Schleswig-Holstein is safe. Worst thing can happens is that a Dane fails to buy a newspaper.

      July 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Reply
    • Aubrie

      You're living in an illusion if you think that.....

      July 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Reply
    • lennon420

      Among the wealthier nations, the US is the most dangerous by a wide margin.

      July 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  30. Gman

    As much as we like to talk bad about the French at least they have the ballz to stand up to the govt when they don’t like what they’re doing while we on the other hand just sit there and complain on our blogs about the situation. Maybe we need to take a lesson from the French and go out on a massive protest and show the govt we don’t play around when it comes to the status of our country and maybe that will send a clear message to any other idiots running for pres that you just can’t come in ruin things and leave without and consequences.

    July 29, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Reply
    • Aubrie

      AMEN and WELL SAID!!! I couldn't agree more......

      July 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Reply
    • WOBH

      You could do that but.... http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25768

      July 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Reply
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