The French Position

The French, believe it or not, have their reasons for being so quarrelsome with the United States.

Issue: Fall 2000

In an unguarded moment during last year's primary season, Senator John McCain referred to a minor diplomatic incident as "one of the many reasons I hate the French." McCain probably does not hate the French, but his comment does give some indication of France's place in the American imagination. For more than fifty years, France has been tweaking America's nose, refusing to tow the U.S. line on subjects as diverse as NATO, Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, and what Americans until very recently were encouraged to think of as "rogue states"-the very concept of which, of course, the French do not accept.

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