Friday, November 19, 2004

The real enemy?

According to the Wall Street Journal today, French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie has claimed that the EU has ambitions to extend its military forces so as to be capable of sending a large combat force comprising tens of thousands of troops to fight their way into hostile territory.

This, remarks WSJ, is a more ambitious goal than usually cited for the EU’s nascent military arm.

One wonders what the French perception of "hostile territory" really is, but there is no doubt as to what Americans think. According to a survey cited in World Net Daily, one third of Americans think France is a military enemy.

The poll, undertaken by Rasmussen Reports, reveals that most Americans do not hold the nation of France in high regard, with almost a third believing the European country is an enemy of the US in the war on terror.

According to the survey, 57 percent of American voters have an unfavourable view of France, with 31 percent calling Jacques Chirac's country an enemy. A plurality – 43 percent – believe France's role is somewhere in between ally and enemy.

When presidential politics were taken into account, the poll shows by a 77-to-11 percent margin, those who voted for President Bush have an unfavourable opinion of France. Kerry voters are more evenly divided – 42 percent of Kerry voters have a favourable opinion of that nation, 35 percent unfavourable. In addition, 43 percent of Bush voters called France the enemy, while only 17 percent of Kerry supporters shared that view.

Interestingly, the numbers stand in stark contrast to feelings about Great Britain. Seventy-eight percent of Americans have a favourable opinion of the UK while only nine percent hold an unfavourable view. More than four out of five Americans – 83 percent – view the UK as an ally in the war on terror.

In these circumstances, given that no nation has ever lost out by being defeated by the US, perhaps the best thing France could do – not least to solve its budget deficit problem – is declare war on the US immediately. It should not take more than 48 hours then to arrange an honourable surrender, following which the French could sit back and watch the dollars roll in.

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