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Both U.S. and French reputations seen suffering

DISCUSSIONS | June 09, 2006

Françoise Lazare, Paris

1998 Nieman fellow, staff reporter, Le Monde

France, at the time of 9-11, suddenly got very scared and people saw themselves as close allies of the US. In a famous quote, our Editor Jean-Marie Colombani said, "We are all Americans". But in the following years, France clearly did not accept president Bush’s Middle East politics; even more, citizens were very offended by the U.S. "Anti-France" position, the jokes about "Liberty fries", the rejection of our bad state control of the economy...

As the French right-wing government tried to impose more liberal policies, especially toward education, a lot of people thought that it was more important to protect our current system than to fall into a U.S. style liberalism. It is, I think, a major contradiction of the French Conservative party’s leaders: Not liking the States/ want a more liberal economy and social system.

Generally speaking, the U.S. reputation suffered a lot, but together with too much French caution and rejection of the European Community, France itself is losing a lot of credit.

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