Saturday, November 16, 2002

Risky Rhetoric

Collin's previous two posts on France remind us of the importance of politics and the difficulties of "transnational progressivism." But they come dangerously close to asserting that individual nations cannot be bad, because the nation-state as a political entity is simply a good thing. However, a nation is only as good as it's opinions and actions -- and France's aren't very good. Is Britain less of a nation than France because the Brits are more apt to vote with us on Security Council matters? Does that make them too cosmopolitan or too "transnationally progressive" and less political from the pro-nation point of view?

Now there is some rhetoric in Collin's pieces which I take to be a wholesome attempt to get the French back to politics and away from transnational progressivism. In fact, it is transnational progressivism which is the root of most anti-Americanism. A reversion to patriotism and respect for the state may in fact foster a different posture toward America. But there may be things in French political life itself which encourage anti-Americanism; French anti-Americanism does not stem exclusively from transnational progressivism. This is a difficult line to walk with the French: their disrespect for the state and acceptance of transnational progressivism virtually guarantees anti-Americanism, while a reinvigoration of patriotism and respect for the state in France does not guarantee other possibilities.


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