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franciscosan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2015 at 05:38
Years ago, a friend of mine who is a bit of a gun freak, said that the French for WW2 (and WW1?) had inferior weapons, someone might look into that as an excuse for why the French did not seem to fight, they didn't have much to fight with.

I tend to think that France sees a rivalry between the Anglophone world and the Francophone world, where America sees it as not much of a contest.  France does have some projective military power, but nothing like the American dozen supercarriers.  America and Britain have a great influence on pop-culture, whereas France is more a matter of high art and literature.  Vietnam and Algeria were not very favorable for France, On the other hand, Britain didn't wait to get kicked out (or so I understand).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Nov 2015 at 02:17
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Years ago, a friend of mine who is a bit of a gun freak, said that the French for WW2 (and WW1?) had inferior weapons, someone might look into that as an excuse for why the French did not seem to fight, they didn't have much to fight with.

I tend to think that France sees a rivalry between the Anglophone world and the Francophone world, where America sees it as not much of a contest.  France does have some projective military power, but nothing like the American dozen supercarriers.  America and Britain have a great influence on pop-culture, whereas France is more a matter of high art and literature.  Vietnam and Algeria were not very favorable for France, On the other hand, Britain didn't wait to get kicked out (or so I understand).

Franc: Your first point is correct. France didn't have anywhere near the weapons technology that Germany did in the late 1930's, it relied almost exclusively on the Marginot Line as its defence.

I don't really think that the French care too much about any perceived rivalry between England and the USA. Prior to the attacks in Paris last week, France was content to project military influence to those places where France had an historical influence, Africa and the Pacific.

I dare anyone to classify the USA as the home of art and culture, whereas France wins the title, hands down, along with Italy.

Of course Dien Bien Phu was an embarrassment and so was Algeria, but the French haven't being crying about them.

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whatever remains,
no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Nov 2015 at 03:52
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Years ago, a friend of mine who is a bit of a gun freak, said that the French for WW2 (and WW1?) had inferior weapons, someone might look into that as an excuse for why the French did not seem to fight, they didn't have much to fight with.

I tend to think that France sees a rivalry between the Anglophone world and the Francophone world, where America sees it as not much of a contest.  France does have some projective military power, but nothing like the American dozen supercarriers.  America and Britain have a great influence on pop-culture, whereas France is more a matter of high art and literature.  Vietnam and Algeria were not very favorable for France, On the other hand, Britain didn't wait to get kicked out (or so I understand).

Actually, France was quite well equipped vis a vis Germany in 1940, as was Britain. What was lacking was the motivation to begin another blood bath like that seen less than a generation before, something that was considered likely at the time. It was a reaction of civilized people against what was not just carnage, but carnage foolishly repeated. Their mistake was that they were not dealing with people all that civilized themselves.

France and Europe have a thriving pop culture; the US has one declining to the extent that it dredges up old kids comic books for the the inspiration of movies. 

Algeria and Vietnam were not favorable for France. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria have not been very favorable for the US.

Britain was moderately successful in combating insurgencies in Malaya and Kenya, withdrew from India because that was the promise for helping to win WW2, and withdrew from other territories because they were of little or no value any more in the modern world.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Nov 2015 at 06:37
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americanization

Americans are hardly aware Canada exist, think Mexico is where the lawn care people come from, the British are quaint with their royalty, and France is the place with the Eiffel tower and not much else.

Americans pretty much think the rest of the world is irrelevant which I think aggravates a lot of close partners.

"The most striking poll result is the share of Americans who believe that "the U.S. should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own." For the first time since Pew began asking in 1964, more than half of respondents say they agree with that statement, a staggeringly high 52 percent. That number has historically ranged between about 20 and 40 percent. The share who said they disagreed with that statement is now only 38 percent.

Another metric found similar record highs in isolationist attitudes. When asked if they agreed that the United States should "not think so much in international terms but concentrate more on our own national problems," 80 percent surveyed said they agreed, an all-time high. Only 16 percent disagreed."


Americans may be slightly insecure about comparisons to European culture but mostly they can just do without it.  

After the fall of the British empire America became the last great capitalist power and I think that is what deep down inside troubles many Europeans, Canadians and Australians.  They all went socialist so obviously the U.S. is backwards.  To rub salt into the wound of egos insulted by being considered irrelevant >

"The United States is the top desired destination country for the 700 million adults who would like to relocate permanently to another country." 


Following the collapse of the Soviet Union socialism's reputation was bruised and the capitalist conversion of China only added to the World wide conclusion that perhaps socialism isn't the answer after all.  The only significant counter argument however remained the U.S. 

Now for the French connection Wink

Karl Marx spent his intellectual formative years in France and for many he represents a continuation of the enlightenment.  Considering that almost none of his prediction have come true and that communism has failed almost everywhere it has been tried he is held in unexplainable high regard by many intellectuals.

"Marxist understandings of history and society have been adopted by academics in the disciplines of archaeology, anthropology, media studies, political science, theater, history, sociology, art history and theory, cultural studies, education, economics, geography, literary criticism, aesthetics, critical psychology, and philosophy."


I would argue that Marx is not the inheritor of the Enlightenment but that his ideas grew out of the chaos of an emerging German national identity but that really is not to the point.  What is important is his influence on the intellectual life of Europe overshadowing what are arguably many superior philosophers.

The first physically realized Marxist state it could be argue was the Paris Commune although it's connection to the intellectual side of communism is debated it was praised by Marx.  By 1914 20 percent of the french deputies were "socialist" many in the Marx traditon.  French socialism never really took off however and by the end of WWII it was dealt a significant blow by an American political maneuver in the form of the Marshal plan which resulted in the dismissal of 5 ministers.  It was not until 1965 that socialism at the national level became a dominant force with the election of  Francois Mitterrand.  This election combined with the perceived and actual collaboration with the Nazis, France's recent defeat in colonial adventures, the historical connection to failed excessively bloody revolution, Marx, and other French communist thinkers and the fact that the election came at the high point of the cold war left Americans doubting the credibility of France as an ally.  So while France may be the oldest and closest ally to the U.S. it is not unusual for exaggerated expectations to result in exaggerated insult.

Despite the apparent lack of faith in France as a reliable foreign policy ally a 2015 Gallup poll showed 82% of Americans view France favorably.  So why do so many American's at the same time view France as more "pink" than say Britain? I would say that it is partly related to the assumed feminine nature of the French aesthetic in clothing and decor.  The curving silhouettes, voluptuousness, rich colors that became fashionable under Louis XIV subconsciously invoke feminine aesthetics.  The association of the "fancy" with less than manly men continues to this day.  Americans are not only isolationist by nature, outside of anything not having to do with "profit", but in general have a "practical" aesthetic.   
  


Edited by wolfhnd - 27 Nov 2015 at 06:40
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Nov 2015 at 11:44
Quote I think the defamation is British, or more specifically English, in origin.  The English, broadly speaking, at all levels of society have a very open disdain for the French.  Even in sport, they slate the French for unsportsmanly behaviour which supposedly typifies their play style whilst the English sportsmen are shining examples of chivalry.

There is some truth to that, albeit the sporting ideal is less supportable. Whilst the French have a reputation for scurrilous politics, the concept of sporting behaviour was not unique to Britain.

However, the disdain is harder to pin down. The British did effectively base their colonial empire on French territories taken from them. The French did not make a very impressive show in 1940 (Although the Germans were worried about their huge military strength the only French advance in 1940 went a few miles and stopped. actually, right at the end, they really did get their act together and fight back hard, but too late and too little) which has led directly to the famous Simpsons label "Cheese eating surrender monkeys".

Bear in mind that the French thought badly of the British in WW2. Firstly we had denied them valuable fighter squadrons when Germany invaded (Spitfires were not sent abroad despite Churchills agreement that he would, though from late May they did fight over French airspace). Secondly we had evacuated instead of retreating to a stronger position to defend France - which is probably an unfair criticism considering that the BEF had been sent primarily to defend the Belgium border and thus got encircled in a more north-westerly direction toward the coast. Thirdly was the ultimatum issued by Churchill for France to give up its navy before the Germans captured it. The French refused, and thus Churchill ordered that french ships were either boarded or attacked. In North Africa, the french fleet was sunk at anchor by british warships, both to avoid the Third Reich receiving a much larger more powerful naval force, but also to show America that Britain was serious about carrying on the fight despite the ongoing defeats.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2015 at 02:59
Oran, Oran is interesting politically, because it was one political entity (Britain) attacking another political entity (France) where there was no declaration of war.  A case where military pragmatism was chosen about political idealism.  Heidegger denounced it, but on the other hand, Heidegger was a German (and a Nazi), so you might expect criticism on that front.
DeGaule played on his status, flirting with both the Americans and the Soviets, it is much because of him, that America got involved in Vietnam in the 50s, as a continuation of French colonial policy.  France has long been making noises about, maybe, going communist.  It wanted to have a special status, and because of that it did, being independent in its military command while maybe/maybe not being in NATO.
In 1968, the French left (students) took over the streets of Paris, trying to "seize the means of production, and what they discovered the hard way, is that taking over a country is not anymore about taking over the capital.  The students had Paris, and the rest of the country went on, business as usual until the revolution eventually collapsed under its own weight.  It discredited Marxism, and forced it to go in a new direction.  Before 1968, Hegel and Marx were of main interest in the intellectual French left, after 1968, Heidegger and Nietzsche.  Intellectually, the French left is quite fruitful and productive, French theory is at the heart of postmodernism, structuralism, post-structuralism, etc. etc.  A lot of intellectual areas in the University are dominated by French theory, for better or worse.  Furthermore, the Marxism that has grown up out side of the Soviet Union, is much more healthy (for both self and others), than the arcane treatises that grew up in the closed environment behind the iron curtain.  If one wants to understand Marxist speculative philosophy, it is better to go to the French philosophers, than it is to go to the Russian ones, who spent most of their time justifying the latest 5 year plan.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2015 at 03:52
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Oran, Oran is interesting politically, because it was one political entity (Britain) attacking another political entity (France) where there was no declaration of war.  A case where military pragmatism was chosen about political idealism.  Heidegger denounced it, but on the other hand, Heidegger was a German (and a Nazi), so you might expect criticism on that front.
DeGaule played on his status, flirting with both the Americans and the Soviets, it is much because of him, that America got involved in Vietnam in the 50s, as a continuation of French colonial policy.  France has long been making noises about, maybe, going communist.  It wanted to have a special status, and because of that it did, being independent in its military command while maybe/maybe not being in NATO.
In 1968, the French left (students) took over the streets of Paris, trying to "seize the means of production, and what they discovered the hard way, is that taking over a country is not anymore about taking over the capital.  The students had Paris, and the rest of the country went on, business as usual until the revolution eventually collapsed under its own weight.  It discredited Marxism, and forced it to go in a new direction.  Before 1968, Hegel and Marx were of main interest in the intellectual French left, after 1968, Heidegger and Nietzsche.  Intellectually, the French left is quite fruitful and productive, French theory is at the heart of postmodernism, structuralism, post-structuralism, etc. etc.  A lot of intellectual areas in the University are dominated by French theory, for better or worse.  Furthermore, the Marxism that has grown up out side of the Soviet Union, is much more healthy (for both self and others), than the arcane treatises that grew up in the closed environment behind the iron curtain.  If one wants to understand Marxist speculative philosophy, it is better to go to the French philosophers, than it is to go to the Russian ones, who spent most of their time justifying the latest 5 year plan.

Thank for taking the time to reply to my rambling.  I'm something of a socialist myself but a patient one who would rather get to a voluntary society voluntarily :-)  It isn't the means of production that is the problem, nor ownership but human nature.  We have simply not evolved to cooperate in complex societies.

I would skip Marx and go straight to the French philosophers :-) but before I read any philosopher I read up on current "natural philosophy".   

I think the shame is that  there are current philosophers that are more worthy of most people's time than those from generations ago.  My current favorite is Daniel Dennett but there are others worth reading.  I suppose there are two kinds of philosophers those who study the history of philosophy and try and make that history relevant and those that try and make philosophy relevant to today's knowledge.  Of course the historical is relevant but it can be a challenge making it so.


Edited by wolfhnd - 28 Nov 2015 at 03:59
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