Among the best:
“France” — meaning especially the disturbingly large segment of France’s political-opinion makers — of course can only speak for “France”. But it seems to me beyond incredible that the U.S. could be termed “imperialist” by a “France” that was not only liberated largely by the U.S., but which also witnessed the amazing fact that the U.S./NATO troops based in France departed entirely — and in a hurry — during 1966 after the French government demanded they leave. For if the U.S. had wanted to “occupy” France — as the Soviet Union imprisoned Poland, East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic states — the U.S. more than had the power to have done so. One would think such demonstrated fundamentally that the U.S. had no desire to rule over France, or over anyone else. Similarly, the U.S. today has no desire to lord it over Iraq, or over anyone else.
Just because “France” is rude or overbearing does not mean that Bush would gain by behaving inappropriately in response at a solemn event. Ironically, France is ostensibly a nation of good manners, whereas, stereotypically, Americans have none. So any Bush “misbehavior” would play perfectly into the worst stereotype of the “ugly American”. Better that Bush rise above. If Jacques Chirac goes ugly, let ’em. His mistake. Deep down, Chirac is not loved by most French. He is still president mostly by default, remember — because other than an aging fascist, there was no other choice available in the final round of the last French presidential election besides Chirac.
He says it better than I did, and he brings up things I didn’t address or didn’t think of. Go read it.
UPDATE: Actually, I should have mentioned that Expat Yank has been on a bit of a tear lately. Check in there daily.