Is it time to just go our separate ways: France and the US

I was reading this article today and it struck me that the citizens of both nations overwhelmingly don’t want to have much to do with the other. Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly), France actually has more dislike/distrust for America than the other way around. I thought this especially was interesting:

So…realistically we only dropped 8 points in France from a wooping 39% approval to 31% approval. The French have dropped a bit more rapidly in the US:

15% drop of approval in the US since 2002.

70% of the French people don’t believe the US is a ‘loyal ally’…wow. And 56% of American’s don’t feel the French are a reliable partner. Thats especially telling on the French side…my guess is that 70% of the French can’t agree on ANYTHING else except dislike for the US. And on the American side…when do 56% of American’s EVER agree on anything substantial?

So…since this is IYHO here, what do you think? Should we finally just face reality here and…what? Go our separate ways or something? This seems like such a fundamental split, and a particulary large percentage of the population, especially on the French side, that it just doesn’t seem to be brige-able. Those kind of numbers, IMHO, go beyond simple dislike of the administration…or simply resentment by the US over the Iraq war. Or do they? Thoughts?

Wonder if there are any polls from France pre-Bush to compare it too…


I’d agree with you if it were only France… but I’d say the drop in US “popularity” all over the western world is much more relevant than French being impopular in the US. The US under Bush is the “rogue” element I feel… the French only getting more flak from being overly verbose.

Basically trust in the US has dropped badly everywhere…

But RM, look at the numbers for 2002…we were only at 39% popularity THEN. Granted, Bush was president…but unless someone has data otherwise, I doubt we dropped 11% in popularity just like that. After all, in the US, France was appearently at a 50% popularity at that same time and it took until now to drop down to 35%.

Maybe you are right though…maybe its the whole of Europe that we should go our separate ways from. Are all their numbers similar? Maybe its the whole world…I find that hard to believe that world wide 70% of folks disapprove/distrust/dislike the US…but it could be so. And all from the Iraq war and Bush ehe? Thats telling in itself IMO.


I think the opinion of the US in Europe dropped pretty dramatically in recent history (past 5 years), as well as the whole world. Sure, we could go our separate ways, and initially that sounds like a good idea, but IMHO that would be suicide in the long run. The world isn’t a bunch of isolated countries anymore - the world economy is so intertwined with the US economy (and vice versa) that I dont think you can just withdrawl form the world.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if 70% of the world dislike the US. The world is made up of 6 billion people, of which the US comprises 300 million. Thats a pretty small fraction of people to control such a huge proportion of the worlds wealth and prosperity (I dont know the figures offhand, but I can find a cite if necessary). Inequality tends to create disapproval and distrust, so I can see the 70% being relatively accurate.

As far as the OP goes, I remember hearing someone once say that we stay allies with France because as annoying as they are as allies, they are even more annoying when they are enemies :stuck_out_tongue:

No, I don’t actually think the US can withdraw from the world economy either…or even from continued commerce with Europe. The converse of course is also true…they can’t really withdraw from us either…especially since France itself seems to be bent on shooting down the latest EU constitution (ironic, that). I was just trying to spark some debate…myself, I DON’T think the US and France (or the US and Europe, or the US and The World™) should go its separate ways, despite the seemingly huge numbers of folks outside the US who actively dislike us.

Actually, I don’t think the French make all that annoying of enemies. For myself, I think we should stay allied to them because it would annoy the FRENCH so much. :smiley:


When were the french enemies of the US ? I think the Brits can complain about that … not americans…

I think Latin America feels more in tune with Europe in these dark days than with Belligerent Bush. Not so long ago that wasn’t the case necessarily. I sincerely think the US is the odd one out. No one likes being pushed around… and the US is only offering to push around.

One interesting thing in the article was that people on the left in France dislike America the most, while people on the left in the US dislike France the least.

Moving thread from IMHO to Great Debates.

How would we go about “going our separate ways?” We’re both members of NATO, we have quite a bit of trade going on between us, and it’s not really possible to separate France from the rest of the EU.

We’ll continue to cooperate when it’s in both our interests to do so.

That’s always been my take. It’s not that their ‘unreliable allies’ but that, post-WWII, France made a strategic determination to NOT be anything other than equal with other NATO allies. They wouldn’t assume a ‘Denmark’ role or anything. Therefore they pursued their own foreign, commerical and military policies and to hell with what any other nation thought.

In other words…they did what we were doing. And that annoys us in the US.

I think when a nation moves across the Atlantic and develops its own language, it’s a sign there’s a serious rift in the relationship. Anytime now we’ll be getting that “We need to talk” thing, and we all know what that means.

Who needs the French, anyway? Just because they helped us get liberated from the British, and sold us a big chunk of the nation, and gave us the Statue of Liberty – what have they done for us lately?

“Gave us helpful and frank advice”? F*ck that, we’re Americans!


Yes…and what? What would, in concrete terms “going our separate ways” mean?

Thats not too suprising. The left in France is further from the middle of America than the right and the right in America is further from the middle of France.

Do you find that surprising? If you assume that on average France is to the left of the US politically then I would actually expect such a result.

Or I could just preview, realize that treis has already made my point, and then try to walk away without being noticed.

[-In 20 of 23 Countries Polled Citizens Want Europe to Be More Influential Than US

-France Most Widely Seen as Having a Positive Influence in World

-US and Russia Mostly Seen as Negative Influences](

Much more at source…

First of all, if the OP is comparing attitudes now with those in 2002, remember that most of the world was rather sympathetic with the U.S. in the aftermath of 9/11. And I hardly find it surprising that such sympathy wouldn’t survive forever.

But I’m sure our relations with many countries would be far more cordial if we had just waged a righteous war against terrorism, and stayed out of Iraq.

On the other hand, as important as it is to have global allies, I don’t think our government should be involved in international popularity contests.

And by the way, we have to distinguish between feelings toward the U.S. and feelings toward the American people. I’ve been to France, and haven’t noticed any negativity toward Americans in general.

Older allies like Germany and the UK may understand this but this is going to be hardest on our youngest NATO allies like Poland and Hungary. I think France and the United States need to jointly invite them to a diplomatic summit and explain to them that just because we can’t be allies with each other anymore, we both still want to have full diplomatic relations with them and reassure them that it’s not their fault.

This might have something to do with it:


Europeans appear ready to take on a stronger world role. When asked if the United States should remain the only superpower or the EU should become a military and economic superpower like the United States, 65% of European respondents opt for the latter. The French (91%) and Italians (76%) are the most supportive of this notion, with the Germans (48%) the most cautious. Of those desiring the European Union to become a superpower, 9 out of 10 indicate they support this as a way for Europe to better cooperate with the United States, not compete with it. A majority of these would support increased defense spending if necessary to attain this status.

Though not the whole of Europe thinks the same.

But I don’t think the mutual feelings are as bad as they appear, you know, xtisme :slight_smile:
Persisting Friendliness Toward Each Other

Despite reports of rising anti-Americanism in Europe, Europeans1 appear to like Americans as much as they like each other (see Figure 1-1). When asked to rate their feelings toward various countries on a “thermometer” scale from 0 to 100-with 100 meaning very warm, 50 neutral, and 0 very cold-the British, Poles, Italians, and Germans show warmer feelings toward the United States than toward any of the European countries asked about, giving the United States ratings of 68, 65, 68, and 63 degrees, respectively. Even the French, despite their perceived traditional anti-Americanism, give the United States a relatively warm 60 degrees, while the Dutch give it 59 degrees, in both cases one of their warmest ratings.


“We have always been strong allies of the United States,” says Eenennaam, “though I’d make a distinction between anti-Americanism and opposition to the Bush administration. A large part of the Dutch population is critical of the policies of the Bush administration, but at the same time they are very fond of the United States.”