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Supercharts
23rd January 2003, 05:00 PM
Very basically my question is:
Is FRANCE relevant?
I am of the opinion that FRANCE no longer matters.
Who cares what France THINKS?
Anyone?
Really! They are a member of the US Security Council. Why? WWII is over. France is less important to world peace than Poland.
France? Does any one give a sh*t about France?
Your opinions please.
Thanks.

Plutarck
23rd January 2003, 05:28 PM
1) No, don't care about France.

2) Why is anyone on the board of anything? Answer: Historical accident.

3) France might care about France...but I doubt it.

4) I think they invented thongs. That was nice of them. As for the high-heels, I never have figured those out. I think they're supposed to be close-combat weapons or something.

corplinx
24th January 2003, 12:26 AM
Didn't they also invent those "european" style men's bathing suits that seem to plague american beaches and pools now?

iain
24th January 2003, 01:00 AM
France - still relevant?

- World's 6th largest economy
- Third highest per capita GDP in the world
- Fourth largest contributor to UN budget
- Largest contributor of troops to UN peacekeeping missions of any UN security council member (as of 1998)
- Very important role in middle-east because of France's long standing relationships with many middle-east countries.
- Has nuclear weapons (and not afraid to test them :) )

So, yes, France is still relevant (unless the criterion for being relevant is being called the USA). Certainly France can claim to be as relevant, or more so, than the UK, Germany, Russia or China.

Kimpatsu
24th January 2003, 01:05 AM
Ah, but is the USA relevant?
Can't spell (colour, centre, etc.)
Banana republic. (See Florida.)
World's biggest bully.
Rush Limbaugh.

I say, abolish the USA now! Vive la France!
:cool:

ZeeGerman
24th January 2003, 01:27 AM
Originally posted by Supercharts
Very basically my question is:
Is FRANCE relevant?
I am of the opinion that FRANCE no longer matters.
Who cares what France THINKS?
Anyone?
Really! They are a member of the US Security Council. Why? WWII is over. France is less important to world peace than Poland.
France? Does any one give a sh*t about France?
Your opinions please.
Thanks.

The US security council (sic.)
That says it all. You guys are so self absorbed that it hurts.

And yes, France matters a lot:
Great Wine
Great cooking
Great culture

Three things the US really lacks

Fade
24th January 2003, 01:37 AM
Rush Limbaugh.

CHEAP SHOT. I CALL SHENANNIGANS!

DanishDynamite
24th January 2003, 02:25 AM
Originally posted by ZeeGerman

The US security council (sic.)
That says it all. You guys are so self absorbed that it hurts.

And yes, France matters a lot:
Great Wine
Great cooking
Great culture

Three things the US really lacks :D ;)

Smalso
24th January 2003, 02:51 AM
Great wine
Great cooking
Great culture

Three things the US really lacks

Obviously you've never tasted my homemade wine, eaten my smoked sausage and chicken jumbalaya or seen my art collection (all painted by me.):D

Kimpatsu
24th January 2003, 03:42 AM
Originally posted by Smalso
Obviously you've never tasted my homemade wine, eaten my smoked sausage and chicken jumbalaya or seen my art collection (all painted by me.):D
Is that an invitation or a threat? :D

Graham
24th January 2003, 04:51 AM
Personally I think it's foolish to discount France or Germany at this stage. World affairs go round and round like a fairground ride but it's always the same horses you see.

Historically, all of the major European countries have gone through high periods and low periods.

France suffered major losses in the world wars and has been in sort of a low period for a while but it won't last forever.

Together, France and Germany make a formiddable opponent, not least because they could russle up a lot of allies in the world if it came to the crunch.

Iain quoted some very pertinent statistics. Militarily, France might not have anything like US strength, but with an economy and population like that, backed by German industry, a couple of years would sort that. Politically they have a lot of old allies and centuries of experience. You wouldn't for instance, see any French official spouting the kind of tactless crap Donald Rumsfeld comes out with (and he's supposed to be the smart one). They know how to play the smart game.

The US may seem to have been supreme for a while now but really, realative to world history, how long has it been? An eyeblink, nothing more. Maybe "y'all" will go on indefinitely in a sort of "Thousand Year McReich" and maybe not, time will tell. I wouldn't put any money at all on France not being there to see it through though, one way or the other.

Graham

Drooper
24th January 2003, 05:04 AM
Germany and France are on the wane as geopolitical powers.

Economically they are waning and the Euro, as well as the direction of EU legislation, will see that trend continue.

However, the single most important reason why their decline will continue is down to demographics. Unless there is a sudden embrace of large scale immigration France and Germany (in particular) will have an rapidly aging and then falling population.

Drooper
24th January 2003, 05:20 AM
Originally posted by Graham
Iain quoted some very pertinent statistics.

Some of them pretty ropey.

France doesn't even have the third highest GDP per capita in the EU, let alone the world.

iain
24th January 2003, 05:47 AM
Originally posted by Drooper


Some of them pretty ropey.

France doesn't even have the third highest GDP per capita in the EU, let alone the world. If the sources I found in my brief web search were incorrect, I am happy to be corrected. The GDP was the least significant of the stats I think, so I am happy to let that one go.

The original question was "Is France relevant?" France is a major world power economically, politically, culturally and to some extent even militarily. If you exclude the US (as the world's only superpower it is out on its own) France pretty much has to feature in any list of the next rank of world powers, along with countries like the UK, Germany, Japan, China & Russia (depending on how you measure things). I can't see on what basis it could reasonably be excluded.

So the answer is that however you look at is, yes France is relevant.

Drooper
24th January 2003, 06:06 AM
It depends what you mean by "relevant"

You could argue that French foreign policy is so balatantly and singularly self serving that it tends to get the country sidelined in many instances.

In the world of global geopolitics, there would be a number of countries you would get onside before France, on most issues.

In fact, come to think about it, France is rarely if ever courted on an international level over anything. They tend to get completely bypassed, with the recognition that they will be expecting some pay off at the end, if they possess some sort of veto power on the issue concerned (e.g. a security council vote).

iain
24th January 2003, 06:13 AM
Originally posted by Drooper
It depends what you mean by "relevant"

You could argue that French foreign policy is so balatantly and singularly self serving that it tends to get the country sidelined in many instances. You could argue that but I think you would be wrong to do so :)

France has played an active and influential role in international politics for several hundred years and continues to do so.

Edited to add The French would certainly disagree with your assessment of their foreign policy. For example, see French foreign policy (http://www.info-france-usa.org/atoz/intstage.asp). Personally, I don't think that any of the major powers are much better than the others.

Shane Costello
24th January 2003, 06:24 AM
Originally posted by Graham:
Together, France and Germany make a formiddable opponent, not least because they could russle up a lot of allies in the world if it came to the crunch.

Where from? I'd imagine a lot of third world countries would be wary of France with it's imperial past. Eastern European countries would have a similar attitude to Germany for similar reasons.

Militarily, France might not have anything like US strength, but with an economy and population like that, backed by German industry, a couple of years would sort that.

As Drooper pointed out both France and Germany are on the wane economically. Germany is facing it's worse economic crisis in decades, while French unemployment is over 10%. Given the economic and political direction both countries have chosen, the next few yeears is likely to see an even greater deterioration in this respect, not an improvement.

You wouldn't for instance, see any French official spouting the kind of tactless crap Donald Rumsfeld comes out with (and he's supposed to be the smart one). They know how to play the smart game.

So it's a "smart" move to let Robert Mugabe into the country, as France is doing? If France and Germany are blessed with such a talented ruling class, why are they in the dire state they're in? And how did a nation run by idiots, the US, manage to gain the economic and technological hegemony it enjoys today?

Politically they have a lot of old allies and centuries of experience.

Colonialism, the Reign of Terror, the Napoleonic experience, 1940, Vichy, the Algerian crisis, the OAS. Years of experience alright.

Originally postede by iain:
So the answer is that however you look at is, yes France is relevant.

Actually France must be considered irrelevant if you take into account the determination of the French ruling classes to abolish the French nation state and replace it with a European superstate.

Graham
24th January 2003, 06:26 AM
According to the CIA (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/fields/2004.html) France has about the 12th largest GDP per Capita in the world ($25,400)

The top three, fyi, are Luxembourg ($43,400) US (€36,300 and Bermuda ($34,800). Even Ireland comes in higher than France at $27,500!

It's not a good marker for world relevance though, as Iain says. How important is Bermuda geopolitically, other than as a place to keep your money? Russia, on the other hand, has a GDP per capita of only €8,300.

In terms of blunt GDP, France is only 6th ($1.51 Trillion) behind US ($10.82) China ($5.56) Hapan ($3.45) India ($2.5) and Germany ($2.17)

In terms of military manpower, France apparently has just over 12 million men fit for service, compared to roughly the same for the UK and 30 milion for Russia. There's no stat for the US under that heading for some reason.

France has a military budget of $46.5 billion (2.57% GDP), compared to UK $31.7 billion (2.32%) and US $276.7 billion (3.2%)

By these measures, France would appear to be a significant force in the world and I think the point of my previous post stands.

Graham

rikzilla
24th January 2003, 06:37 AM
Originally posted by ZeeGerman


The US security council (sic.)
That says it all. You guys are so self absorbed that it hurts.

And yes, France matters a lot:
Great Wine
Great cooking
Great culture

Three things the US really lacks

Only one word is needed to describe you.
"Hosenscheisser"
;)

-z

BTW, decisive leadership is what is needed against Iraq. The UN is almost by definition incapable of such leadership. If the US leads the way and properly sells the necessity of such action, the world will follow.

France is an appeaser. They are still pissed off about the major $$ that Elf lost on Iraqi oil contracts due to the sanctions. Talk about war for oil! The French are content to let the Iraqi people live under the yoke of a more repressive totalitarian government than East Germany in order to get back into bed with Saddam and make lots of oil money! I've heard the war for oil blather from the left....but apparently what the French want is "peace in our time" FOR OIL! Break out the black umbrellas folks!

Oh and Zee German, leck mich am Amerikaner arsch!

Drooper
24th January 2003, 06:37 AM
Originally posted by iain
You could argue that but I think you would be wrong to do so :)

France has played an active and influential role in international politics for several hundred years and continues to do so.

Edited to add The French would certainly disagree with your assessment of their foreign policy. For example, see French foreign policy (http://www.info-france-usa.org/atoz/intstage.asp). Personally, I don't think that any of the major powers are much better than the others.

Some examples to support my case:

Nuclear testing in the Pacific
bombing the Rainbow Warrior
Subsequently releasing (and awarding medals to) the bombers.
Inviting Robert Mugabe to Paris, not bothering to tell EU partners (who had signed up to a ban on his travel).
French position on agriculture vis a vis the WTO and CAP reform.

Shane Costello
24th January 2003, 06:37 AM
Originally posted by Graham:
By these measures, France would appear to be a significant force in the world and I think the point of my previous post stands.

Not until you address the specific issues some of us raised in response to your previous posts.

The top three, fyi, are Luxembourg ($43,400) US (€36,300 and Bermuda ($34,800). Even Ireland comes in higher than France at $27,500!

Why is this such a suprise? Have you been living under a rock for the past few years?

Supercharts
24th January 2003, 06:39 AM
This is how the US will finance the war:

Graham
24th January 2003, 06:41 AM
Shane,

I didn't see this post until I'd already posted my last, so I'll answer it now.


Where from? I'd imagine a lot of third world countries would be wary of France with it's imperial past. Eastern European countries would have a similar attitude to Germany for similar reasons.

I think this is somewhat naive. When discussing international relations, I think you have to think in terms of years and attitudes change over years, depending on the intervening events. For example, during the Napoleonic period, countries went from being deadly enemies to best of friends and back again, sometime si a matter of months. The worst insults of the past can be forgotten if there's a common foe to turn your hatred on.

As Drooper pointed out both France and Germany are on the wane economically. Germany is facing it's worse economic crisis in decades, while French unemployment is over 10%. Given the economic and political direction both countries have chosen, the next few yeears is likely to see an even greater deterioration in this respect, not an improvement.

Economies go in cycles too, they'll be down for a while but eventually they'll pick up. Neither France nor germany is likely to collapse into total economic ruin anytime inthe near future and even if they did it wouldn't be the first time and yet they're still here.


So it's a "smart" move to let Robert Mugabe into the country, as France is doing? If France and Germany are blessed with such a talented ruling class, why are they in the dire state they're in? And how did a nation run by idiots, the US, manage to gain the economic and technological hegemony it enjoys today?

Politicians do stupid things. That's practically what they're there for. Personally I find any sort of treaty or negotiation with terrorists extremely objectionable. However, things might be a lot less pleasant for both you and I in our little country right now if there weren't politicians willing to deal with such scum.

Colonialism, the Reign of Terror, the Napoleonic experience, 1940, Vichy, the Algerian crisis, the OAS. Years of experience alright.

You could put together a similar list for just about any major country, the States not excluded. Experience is experience - theoretically we learn from it. The fact that France is not charging into war will-nilly might suggest that they have.

Actually France must be considered irrelevant if you take into account the determination of the French ruling classes to abolish the French nation state and replace it with a European superstate

No more so than one minister in a cabinet is irrelevant or one player in a football team, especially if that player is the captain (or thinks he is!).

Drooper
24th January 2003, 06:41 AM
Originally posted by Supercharts
This is how the US will finance the war:

We will return to this war after a brief message from our sponsors...

mindless
24th January 2003, 06:43 AM
Originally posted by Graham
Maybe "y'all" will go on indefinitely in a sort of "Thousand Year McReich"

I ruptured a lung laughing at that :)

Graham
24th January 2003, 06:44 AM
Originally posted by Shane Costello
Originally posted by Graham:

Not until you address the specific issues some of us raised in response to your previous posts.

Why is this such a suprise? Have you been living under a rock for the past few years?

Sorry, as I say , it took me a while to put together that last post.

As to living under a rock, you're a bit touchy aren't you? That little titbit was for the non-Irish readers of the board. Since my little yellow lifraft is currently beached somewhere near you I am well aware of what a nation of high rollers we are!

Take it easy, boss.

Graham

iain
24th January 2003, 06:46 AM
Originally posted by Drooper


Some examples to support my case:

Nuclear testing in the Pacific
bombing the Rainbow Warrior
Subsequently releasing (and awarding medals to) the bombers.
Inviting Robert Mugabe to Paris, not bothering to tell EU partners (who had signed up to a ban on his travel).
French position on agriculture vis a vis the WTO and CAP reform. All major countries have done no shortage of dodgy things when it comes to foreign policy (or pretty much any other area of government). I'm not defending French foreign policy, any more than US or UK foreign policy.

However, the fact that most people reading your post will be familiar with the items you mention supports the case that France is relevant on the world stage. How much do most people know about the foreign policy actions of Luxembourg, Ireland or Bermuda? Not a lot. Maybe they do some pretty dodgy things too, but because those countries have less weight world-wide people just don't notice.

Conversely the USA is the big hitter on the world stage and for every one "dodgy" action France has taken, we could probably think of 10 the US has done, largely because everyone notices US foreign policy. That in itself doesn't make the US worse that France though.

Giz
24th January 2003, 07:01 AM
Originally posted by Drooper


bombing the Rainbow Warrior


While other nations have Trafalgar, Midway or Tsushima Straits, this remains the creme de la creme of French naval action.

Whose to blame them giving out a few medals for it. Those eco-warriors might have been armed with any number of lentils...

Shane Costello
24th January 2003, 07:03 AM
Originally posted by Graham:
I think this is somewhat naive. When discussing international relations, I think you have to think in terms of years and attitudes change over years, depending on the intervening events.

You're the naive one, not me. You've claimed France and Germany would automatically rustle up allies, and that economic revival in these countries is inevitable, without mentioning how this is supposed to occur. Who exactly are the "old allies" France could count on?

Economies go in cycles too, they'll be down for a while but eventually they'll pick up.

But how, given the reluctance of German and French politicians to undertake the reforms necessary to stimulate economic recovery, and the demographic problems both countrieS face, not to mention the economic straight-jacket of EMU?

History has witnessed the terminal decline and disappearance of many economic and political powers i.e. the Roman, Spanish and Ottoman empires, as well as the technological decline of the Chinese and Arabic cultures vis a vis the western world.

Politicians do stupid things. That's practically what they're there for.

You claimed that French politicains had a high degree of professionalism, in contrast with their dimmer equivalents across the Atlantic. Again, if this degree of talent and ability is present, then why does France have so many serious problems?

You could put together a similar list for just about any major country, the States not excluded. Experience is experience - theoretically we learn from it. The fact that France is not charging into war will-nilly might suggest that they have.


Actually the American Revolution wasn't followed by state-sponsored slaughter of it's citizens, followed by autocracy. If France reallly has learned from years of experience then why are they allowing Robert Mugabe into the country NOW. And what is your evidence that the US and it's allies are charging willy-nilly into war?

No more so than one minister in a cabinet is irrelevant or one player in a football team, especially if that player is the captain (or thinks he is!).

You're missing the point. The French state and French government cannot be relevant if they are about to subsumed into an European superstate. The degree to which the French would influence such an entity is entirely open to speculation.

Drooper
24th January 2003, 07:10 AM
Originally posted by iain
All major countries have done no shortage of dodgy things when it comes to foreign policy (or pretty much any other area of government). I'm not defending French foreign policy, any more than US or UK foreign policy.

However, the fact that most people reading your post will be familiar with the items you mention supports the case that France is relevant on the world stage. How much do most people know about the foreign policy actions of Luxembourg, Ireland or Bermuda? Not a lot. Maybe they do some pretty dodgy things too, but because those countries have less weight world-wide people just don't notice.

Conversely the USA is the big hitter on the world stage and for every one "dodgy" action France has taken, we could probably think of 10 the US has done, largely because everyone notices US foreign policy. That in itself doesn't make the US worse that France though.


I think you miss the point.

It is not that these are dodgy things, but they are:

1) things that are done brazenly with a thumb the nose at the world. AND
2) lead to diminution of their influence and relevance.


By comparison, US policy on Iraq at the moment mght slip into 1). However, note that they still secured a UN resolution and they are still trying to tie up international support and they are also trying (or trying to be seen) to provide Saddam with a way out.

Whatever the outcome, the US will never fall into 2) in this instance because they do in fact have the clout to accomplish this particular set of political and military objectives on their own.

iain
24th January 2003, 07:12 AM
Originally posted by Drooper

I think you miss the point. I take the point, I just don't agree with it ;)

Drooper
24th January 2003, 07:20 AM
Originally posted by iain
I take the point, I just don't agree with it ;)

[John Wayne voice]Well that's alright then pilgrim [/John Wayne voice]

ZeeGerman
24th January 2003, 07:29 AM
Originally posted by rikzilla


Only one word is needed to describe you.
"Hosenscheisser"
;)

-z

BTW, decisive leadership is what is needed against Iraq. The UN is almost by definition incapable of such leadership. If the US leads the way and properly sells the necessity of such action, the world will follow.

France is an appeaser. They are still pissed off about the major $$ that Elf lost on Iraqi oil contracts due to the sanctions. Talk about war for oil! The French are content to let the Iraqi people live under the yoke of a more repressive totalitarian government than East Germany in order to get back into bed with Saddam and make lots of oil money! I've heard the war for oil blather from the left....but apparently what the French want is "peace in our time" FOR OIL! Break out the black umbrellas folks!

Oh and Zee German, leck mich am Amerikaner arsch!


Ohoo,

direct personal insult by an American who knows some German words. I'm deeply impressed. You must be a real cosmopolitan. However, since not all members of this forum share your profound knowledge of foreign languages, you should care to post a translation. Or do you lack the courage?

Zee

Graham
24th January 2003, 07:38 AM
You're the naive one, not me. You've claimed France and Germany would automatically rustle up allies, and that economic revival in these countries is inevitable, without mentioning how this is supposed to occur. Who exactly are the "old allies" France could count on?

This is getting silly. I think that you're taking a short-sighted view of a situation that evolves in a much longer term, that's all. IMO, Irealnd and the UK aside maybe the other EU nations would line up behing France and Germany before they would the US in an extreme situation. Don't tell me that a, b and c countries are supporting the American war effort because that's not relevant to what I'm saying - we're not in an extreme situation, relations between France/Germany and the US are strained at worst and a long, long way from damaged beyond repair. This little spat will most likely fizzle out like so many others before and we can all go back to laughing at one anothers' amusing little cultural differences.


But how, given the reluctance of German and French politicians to undertake the reforms necessary to stimulate economic recovery, and the demographic problems both countrieS face, not to mention the economic straight-jacket of EMU?

Again I was referring (perhaps not as clearly as I should have) to the very long term. Governments and politicians come and go. Again, the likelihood is that this economic phase will eventually pass. If you're going to take the situation at this exact moment and project it into the future then yes, they would appear to be screwed.

History has witnessed the terminal decline and disappearance of many economic and political powers i.e. the Roman, Spanish and Ottoman empires, as well as the technological decline of the Chinese and Arabic cultures vis a vis the western world.

Empires, as you say, rise and fall. Countries? Not so much. Italy and Rome remain intact, Spain remains intact, Turkey I think would constitute what remains of the Ottoman Empire. Long before the Spainish Empire was dreamt of, Spain was conquered by the Romans and turned into just another province. Five 1500 (?) years later it was conquered by Napolean and made a French province (or protectorate or something, I don't remember now).


You claimed that French politicains had a high degree of professionalism, in contrast with their dimmer equivalents across the Atlantic. Again, if this degree of talent and ability is present, then why does France have so many serious problems?

No, I made a facetious and nasty comment about Donald Rumsfeld, whch I think was well-deserved. The question wasn't whether France was better than the US or anyone else. The question was: Is France relevant? Part of my response was that they have a political and diplomatic system at least the equal of any other civilised country and better than some.

Actually the American Revolution wasn't followed by state-sponsored slaughter of it's citizens, followed by autocracy. If France reallly has learned from years of experience then why are they allowing Robert Mugabe into the country NOW. And what is your evidence that the US and it's allies are charging willy-nilly into war?

As to state sponsored slaughter, one the civil war had ended a large proportion of the blueshirt armies headed off to do just that in putting down the Sioux and other troublesome tribes. I though tI addressed the Mugabe situation already - I don't like terrorists (and I would put Mugabe in that category too) but somebody has to deal with them and sometimes it seems like the only way to do that is to get your hands dirty and muck in. On the other hand, I suppose, France could invade Zimbabwe . . . Finally, I didn't say the US and its allies were charging willy nilly into war, I said France wasn't.

You're missing the point. The French state and French government cannot be relevant if they are about to subsumed into an European superstate. The degree to which the French would influence such an entity is entirely open to speculation.

The founding premise of the EU is an equal voice for everyone. Even if that dream falls by the wayside it hardly seems likely that France will be one of the ones to lose out. Even so, the degree to which the French would influence such an entity is irrelevant. The superstate will be, at least to some degree, democratic and the French will represent a significant block of the voting public. The EU's opinions will be their opinions (in at least as mush as the French gvernment's opinions represent those of the people today) and their voice will have grown, not diminished.

Graham

Edited for a stray code

Kimpatsu
24th January 2003, 07:39 AM
I think the whole world should be united under my dictatorship. I've already got Mandela and Clinton backing me.

Graham
24th January 2003, 07:46 AM
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
I think the whole world should be united under my dictatorship. I've already got Mandela and Clinton backing me.

Good call with Mandela, everybody likes him. You might want to ditch the other fellah though!

:D

Martin
24th January 2003, 07:48 AM
Originally posted by Drooper
bombing the Rainbow Warrior


I'm sorry - this is a bad thing?

Drooper
24th January 2003, 07:51 AM
Originally posted by Martinm


I'm sorry - this is a bad thing?

Show me where I said this was a bad thing. :p

Douglas
24th January 2003, 08:30 AM
When some people think of France images and words waft through their thoughts.
Paris, romance, Eiffel tower...

I have other words.
Corrupt, dishonest, self-absorbed, decrepit, pretentious, has-been. Those are a few of the words I can come up with off the top of my head.
In a few day time, the festivities will start and information can finally be safely released, we will see just how self-serving and dirty-dealing the French are.

Kimpatsu
24th January 2003, 08:33 AM
Originally posted by Douglas
we will see just how self-serving and dirty-dealing the French are.
No, we will see just how self-serving and dirty-dealing the French government is.
There is a difference. Or would you like all Americans to be judged by the standards of Dubya?

Douglas
24th January 2003, 08:46 AM
This thread is about the French.
Meaning France.
The country.
The government.
The foreign policy.
The dirty-dealing, self-serving government officials and business leaders who fester with malfeasance.
Those French, with a capital F.
Not the everyday, beret-wearing, cheese-eating Pierre.

rikzilla
24th January 2003, 08:49 AM
Originally posted by Douglas
When some people think of France images and words waft through their thoughts.
Paris, romance, Eiffel tower...

I have other words.
Corrupt, dishonest, self-absorbed, decrepit, pretentious, has-been. Those are a few of the words I can come up with off the top of my head.
In a few day time, the festivities will start and information can finally be safely released, we will see just how self-serving and dirty-dealing the French are.

You forgot Jerry Lewis-loving!! :D

-z

Kimpatsu
24th January 2003, 08:52 AM
Originally posted by Douglas
Not the everyday, beret-wearing, cheese-eating Pierre.
De temps en temps, ils s'appellent Jean. Surtout les femmes...

Supercharts
24th January 2003, 09:24 AM
Anyone know what Iraq owes France? In $B ?
If Iraq has a change of government that will mean France will never be repaid.

rikzilla
24th January 2003, 01:40 PM
Originally posted by ZeeGerman



Ohoo,

direct personal insult by an American who knows some German words. I'm deeply impressed. You must be a real cosmopolitan. However, since not all members of this forum share your profound knowledge of foreign languages, you should care to post a translation. Or do you lack the courage?

Zee

Ich habe in Frankfurt haupt während des späten 70'ss und des früh 80'ss für 4 Jahre gelebt bin. Unterstützen Sie dann die meisten Deutsch die ich habe getroffen mich hat geschätzt die Aufgabe, die die Amerikaner für sie machten. Jetzt brauchen wir Deutschland, und was erhalten wir? Nichts. Seien Sie vorsichtig, ...or, den Ihr hat wiedervereinigtes Land könnte beenden auf fast wird, während irrelevent, während Frankreich ist.

Tschuss,
-zilla

aerocontrols
24th January 2003, 01:52 PM
Originally posted by rikzilla


Ich habe in Frankfurt haupt während des späten 70'ss und des früh 80'ss für 4 Jahre gelebt bin. Unterstützen Sie dann die meisten Deutsch die ich habe getroffen mich hat geschätzt die Aufgabe, die die Amerikaner für sie machten. Jetzt brauchen wir Deutschland, und was erhalten wir? Nichts. Seien Sie vorsichtig, ...or, den Ihr hat wiedervereinigtes Land könnte beenden auf fast wird, während irrelevent, während Frankreich ist.

Tschuss,
-zilla

If that says what I think it says, I really only have one disagreement with it:

I think we need to know who our true friends are more than we need help from those who really aren't.

MattJ

Shane Costello
24th January 2003, 03:38 PM
Originally posted by Graham:
This is getting silly. I think that you're taking a short-sighted view of a situation that evolves in a much longer term, that's all.

No, I'm speculating about the long term trends using the facts at hand right now.

Again, the likelihood is that this economic phase will eventually pass.

But why should this be inevitable? What is your justification for saying this? Where is there any indication that European politicians, and indeed the people who elect them, are willing to undergo the reforms necessary for an improvement in the economic situation?

Empires, as you say, rise and fall. Countries? Not so much. Italy and Rome remain intact, Spain remains intact, Turkey I think would constitute what remains of the Ottoman Empire. Long before the Spainish Empire was dreamt of, Spain was conquered by the Romans and turned into just another province. Five 1500 (?) years later it was conquered by Napolean and made a French province (or protectorate or something, I don't remember now).

My claim was that the influence and relevance of nations is in a constant state of flux. In the middle ages the Islamic world led the west in terms of learning and technology. But this didn't last, and we've been waiting for about three centuries for the Islamic world to leave this "phase", to use your terminology. Or am I "taking a short-sighted view of a situation that evolves in a much longer term"?

Spain: The most powerful empire on earth during the reign of Phillip II. Unimaginable wealth from it's New World possesions, and the military might to keep much of Europe under it's thumb and threaten England with the Armada. Three centuries later it was a decrepit backwater, poverty stricken and utterly irrelevant in European geopolitical terms.

Ditto Turkey. The Ottomans threatened to overrun all of Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries, yet 300 hundred years later the Ottoman Empire was the sick man of Europe. In the case of both Spain and Turkey there was an inability to respond to changing economic, technological and philosophical trends. I see a similar situation in continental Europe now, one that can't be dismissed in terms of cyclical trends, given the historical precedents.

Part of my response was that they have a political and diplomatic system at least the equal of any other civilised country and better than some.

Their political system allowed Jean Marie Le Pen into a run-off for the presidency. Is there any other civilized nation where an individual like Le Pen could get almost a fifth of the votes?

As to state sponsored slaughter, one the civil war had ended a large proportion of the blueshirt armies headed off to do just that in putting down the Sioux and other troublesome tribes.

But then the Inidans were never regarded as being full US citizens. The French revoulutionaries ended up slaughtering peole they ostensibly regarded as citizens.

The founding premise of the EU is an equal voice for everyone. Even if that dream falls by the wayside it hardly seems likely that France will be one of the ones to lose out.

Why?

Even so, the degree to which the French would influence such an entity is irrelevant. The superstate will be, at least to some degree, democratic and the French will represent a significant block of the voting public.

With the enlargement of the EU the population of the "community" will swell to about 420 million. Only 60 million will live in France. That's 14% of the total. Hardly a critical mass. BTW I love how you describe any European superstate as being "at least to some degree" democratic!

The EU's opinions will be their opinions (in at least as mush as the French gvernment's opinions represent those of the people today) and their voice will have grown, not diminished.

This is incoherent nonsense. How does it automatically follow that the EUs opinions will be those of the French people in al instance? And how will their voice grow if a great deal of their sovreignty has been surrendered?

Advocate
24th January 2003, 07:47 PM
The relevance of France on the world scene has been declining for quite some time. However, I wouldn't say they have hit the level of irrelevancy yet. They had a long way to fall. And they still have a long way to fall before they are less relevant than most European nations, much less those of Africa, Latin America, or Asia (excepting China and Japan). And while I don't see France ever returning to her former glory, I wouldn't count her out just yet - especially not as part of the European Union.

If I was going to speculate, I might say that The EU is the answer to the recognition by both France and Germany that separately they would never be the world powers they once were, but combined (and including much of the rest of Europe) they could be.

Drooper
25th January 2003, 03:05 AM
Originally posted by kittynh
WE all know Paris is the most beautiful and romantic city in the world, and I am addicted to it despite it being popluated by Frenchmen and women.
I am not the first to point out that the fine buildings and museums and wonderful lay out of the city are the finest in Europe because they were pretty much sheep in WWII (all excpeting the great French resistance and DeGaul -they showed more guts than perhaps any other group during the war)
No bombs, pretty buildings!
Napoleon showed what the French are capable of, though he's Corsican. When you visit the military museum you see how proud they are of their rich history. But I think they are still trying to get over WWI...
The French themselves seem to be getting VERY conservative lately, and very anti-immigration. Their legndary tolerance has finally worn out.
But why oh why did they allow EuroDisney (and they actually like it - or at least my French buddies claim they do....)

IMHO Rome is the most beautful and romantic city in the world, very closely followed by Venice.

Kimpatsu
25th January 2003, 03:08 AM
Personally, I find it very difficult to say which is better, they are both romantic cities.
Do you realise that as an impresario, I often mix up Paris and Rome?
:cool:

a_unique_person
25th January 2003, 03:12 AM
Originally posted by Plutarck
1) No, don't care about France.

2) Why is anyone on the board of anything? Answer: Historical accident.

3) France might care about France...but I doubt it.

4) I think they invented thongs. That was nice of them. As for the high-heels, I never have figured those out. I think they're supposed to be close-combat weapons or something.

you mean americans haven't discovered the joys of oral sex yet?

Kimpatsu
25th January 2003, 07:54 AM
Anyone who doesn't understand the glory of a woman in high heels doesn't understand sex.
It's that simple. ;)

Plutarck
25th January 2003, 08:57 AM
Originally posted by a_unique_person


you mean americans haven't discovered the joys of oral sex yet?

Of course. We were the ones that came up with The Star Report, you know. "The only government document you'll ever want to read with one hand."


...did France invent oral sex? I thought that one was quite a bit older than that...

Kimpatsu
25th January 2003, 09:06 AM
Originally posted by Plutarck
...did France invent oral sex? I thought that one was quite a bit older than that...
No, the French didn't invent it, but they were the first to copyright it. As to high heels... Invented in France, 18th century. The world has never been the same...

Graham
27th January 2003, 06:30 AM
Hi Shane,

First of all, sorry for taking so long to reply, I don't have much time for internetting when I'm home at the weekends (plus I prefer to surf on my boss's dime if possible!).

Anyway, I'll try to address your points as best I can and without recourse to incoherent nonsense.


No, I'm speculating about the long term trends using the facts at hand right now.

I'll support my position with a "for instance" - for instance, you say:

But why should this be inevitable? What is your justification for saying this? Where is there any indication that European politicians, and indeed the people who elect them, are willing to undergo the reforms necessary for an improvement in the economic situation?

There is no indication, to my knowledge, that the current crop of politicians are so willing. However, it seems to me that you are making predicitions about the future based solely on circumstances at this exact moment. If you were to make similar predicitons based on circumstances in the US immediately prior to the Great Depression, what would the predictions be? And yet the US today is an economic giant in the world.

France is a big country with a large population, they have a strong system of government, education and health services, plenty of natural resources and international assets. They are equipped to survive a period of economic recession. If that is what they are headed into then I think it is reasonable to argue that they will eventually come out the other side.

My claim was that the influence and relevance of nations is in a constant state of flux.

OK, now I'm lost. Isn't that what I was arguing? I thought you were arguing that France was trapped in an unstoppable downward spiral? Was that me?

In the middle ages the Islamic world led the west in terms of learning and technology. But this didn't last, and we've been waiting for about three centuries for the Islamic world to leave this "phase", to use your terminology. Or am I "taking a short-sighted view of a situation that evolves in a much longer term"?

Spain: The most powerful empire on earth during the reign of Phillip II. Unimaginable wealth from it's New World possesions, and the military might to keep much of Europe under it's thumb and threaten England with the Armada. Three centuries later it was a decrepit backwater, poverty stricken and utterly irrelevant in European geopolitical terms.

Ditto Turkey. The Ottomans threatened to overrun all of Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries, yet 300 hundred years later the Ottoman Empire was the sick man of Europe. In the case of both Spain and Turkey there was an inability to respond to changing economic, technological and philosophical trends. I see a similar situation in continental Europe now, one that can't be dismissed in terms of cyclical trends, given the historical precedents.


Pardon me if I'm being dense here but doesn't this argue more for my case than yours?

Here's a timeline (http://ydelta.free.fr/history.htm) of French history. It's a bit sparse on detail but in the course of 3,500 years ( ! ) there have been a few ups and downs.

If ever, Spain was the most powerful nation on earth until the reign of Philip II. Philip was poor diplomat and kept his nation in almost constant conflict with France, which was draining on morale and finance. He was also taken advantage of (robbed) by Elizabeth and the English. Philip's father, Charles I think, was Holy Roman Emperor, as well as King of Spain, and thus a very powerful man indeed. Even in his time, however, they only had direct rule over Spain itself and the Netherlands which, no offense to the Dutch or the Spainish, but hardly constitutes keeping much of Europe under its anything.

By the time of Philip's death, France had recovered her position and was on her way to becoming a major world power once more but was unfortunately sidelined by a series of internal religious wars which threatened to tear the country apart (but ultimately didn't).

To misquote Homer Simpson "Nation goes up, nation goes down, nation goes up, nation goes down".

Their political system allowed Jean Marie Le Pen into a run-off for the presidency. Is there any other civilized nation where an individual like Le Pen could get almost a fifth of the votes?

I said they have a political and diplomatic system at least the equal of any other civilised country and better than some. - how does your point refute this?

But then the Inidans were never regarded as being full US citizens. The French revoulutionaries ended up slaughtering peole they ostensibly regarded as citizens.

The original point (if you want to scroll back that far) was that a similar list of unpleasant situations could be found for almost any major country not that a list of exactly the same circumstances could be found. The fact that the bluecoats only slaughtered a bunch of no good injuns really has no bearing on the matter.

Why?

Given the controlling position France holds in the EU at the moment, it seems unlikely that they would allow a situation to develop where they are marginalised. Now, of course, I'm guilty of what I was accusing you of above but it seems to me that maintaining a powerful position in the EU will probably remain an important issue to successive French Governments whereas sometime in the future they might decide not to destroy their economy.

With the enlargement of the EU the population of the "community" will swell to about 420 million. Only 60 million will live in France. That's 14% of the total. Hardly a critical mass. BTW I love how you describe any European superstate as being "at least to some degree" democratic!

Someone on these boards is fond of reminding people that the US is a constitutional republic. The US is to some degree democratic - it's not a true democracy. The EU is certainly not a true democracy but there is a degree of democracy involved. What's your point?

This is incoherent nonsense.

Thanks.

How does it automatically follow that the EUs opinions will be those of the French people in all instance? And how will their voice grow if a great deal of their sovreignty has been surrendered?

E Pluribus Onum or whatever. Isn't there supposed to be some advantage to that? If you are a part of a democratic(ish) society do you have more or less control over word events than you would if you declared yourself and independent, one-man nation? As a part of a greater whole, theoretically, the French will have a greater voice in world affairs.

That's it for no. Incoherent, no doubt but I'm sure you be able to correct my failings with your usual politeness.

Graham

Jon_in_london
27th January 2003, 07:45 AM
Originally posted by Drooper


IMHO Rome is the most beautful and romantic city in the world, very closely followed by Venice.

Obviously never been to Coventry ;)

Kimpatsu
27th January 2003, 07:47 AM
Originally posted by Jon_in_london
Obviously never been to Coventry ;)
No, but I've been sent there. :(

Shane Costello
27th January 2003, 09:42 AM
Originally posted by Graham:
There is no indication, to my knowledge, that the current crop of politicians are so willing. However, it seems to me that you are making predicitions about the future based solely on circumstances at this exact moment.

And you are making your predictions on the basis of what, exactly? Presumption?

If you were to make similar predicitons based on circumstances in the US immediately prior to the Great Depression, what would the predictions be? And yet the US today is an economic giant in the world.

This is silly, considering the time in question was half a century before I was born. Stick to the topic in question.

France is a big country with a large population, they have a strong system of government, education and health services, plenty of natural resources and international assets. They are equipped to survive a period of economic recession. If that is what they are headed into then I think it is reasonable to argue that they will eventually come out the other side.

Large population: Hasn't done Russia or Mexico a great lot of good. Ditto Nigeria. In the case of France it has an ageing population. Drooper mentioned that large scale immigration might be necessary, yet Le Pen recieved a fifth of the vote in the recent presidential election.

Education and Health services: I've read that the French health system is doing little more than create a nation of hypochondriacs. And given the top heavy demographic pyramid in France how can these services be sustained at present levels?

Plenty of natural resources: This hasn't done Russia much good.

International assets: A link please.

OK, now I'm lost. Isn't that what I was arguing?

You argued that the maintainence of French influence was most probable, and that their present problems would inevitably be overcome. The examples I provided give credence to the belief that unless structural reforms take place, this is far from certain.

If ever, Spain was the most powerful nation on earth until the reign of Philip II.

From when? It didn't even exist until the previous century.

If ever, Spain was the most powerful nation on earth until the reign of Philip II. Philip was poor diplomat and kept his nation in almost constant conflict with France, which was draining on morale and finance. He was also taken advantage of (robbed) by Elizabeth and the English. Philip's father, Charles I think, was Holy Roman Emperor, as well as King of Spain, and thus a very powerful man indeed. Even in his time, however, they only had direct rule over Spain itself and the Netherlands which, no offense to the Dutch or the Spainish, but hardly constitutes keeping much of Europe under its anything.

They also ruled Naples and Portugal. And this supports my thesis. At the time I'd imagine you could have argued "Yeah, Phillip's a crummy ruler, but he won't be around forever, and look at Spains vast military strength and foreign empire, they'll be out of this muddle soon enough". Didn't turn out like that, though.

To misquote Homer Simpson "Nation goes up, nation goes down, nation goes up, nation goes down".

Shane Costello
27th January 2003, 09:44 AM
Originally posted by Graham:
There is no indication, to my knowledge, that the current crop of politicians are so willing. However, it seems to me that you are making predicitions about the future based solely on circumstances at this exact moment.

And you are making your predictions on the basis of what, exactly? Fact: Only one candidate in the recent French presidential election espoused free market views and supported the type of economic reforms that France probably needs. He got about 3.5% of the vote. Have you any solid evidence that their is an embryonic movement for economic reform in France?

If you were to make similar predicitons based on circumstances in the US immediately prior to the Great Depression, what would the predictions be? And yet the US today is an economic giant in the world.

This is silly, considering the time in question was half a century before I was born, and I lack the knowledge to make such a call. Stick to the topic in question.

France is a big country with a large population, they have a strong system of government, education and health services, plenty of natural resources and international assets. They are equipped to survive a period of economic recession. If that is what they are headed into then I think it is reasonable to argue that they will eventually come out the other side.

Large population: Hasn't done Russia or Mexico a great lot of good. Ditto Nigeria. In the case of France it has an ageing population, which means the current level of social services available isn't sustainable. Drooper mentioned that large scale immigration might be necessary, yet Le Pen recieved a fifth of the vote in the recent presidential election.

Education and Health services: I've read that the French health system is doing little more than create a nation of hypochondriacs. And given the top heavy demographic pyramid in France how can these services be sustained at present levels?

Plenty of natural resources: This hasn't done Russia much good.

International assets: A link please.

OK, now I'm lost. Isn't that what I was arguing?

You argued that the maintainence of French influence was probable, and that their present problems would inevitably be overcome. The examples I provided give credence to the belief that unless structural reforms take place, this is far from certain.

If ever, Spain was the most powerful nation on earth until the reign of Philip II.

From when? It didn't even exist until the previous century.

Philip was poor diplomat and kept his nation in almost constant conflict with France, which was draining on morale and finance. He was also taken advantage of (robbed) by Elizabeth and the English. Philip's father, Charles I think, was Holy Roman Emperor, as well as King of Spain, and thus a very powerful man indeed. Even in his time, however, they only had direct rule over Spain itself and the Netherlands which, no offense to the Dutch or the Spainish, but hardly constitutes keeping much of Europe under its anything.

They also ruled Naples and Portugal. And this supports my view. At the time I'd imagine you could have argued "Yeah, Phillip's a crummy ruler, but he won't be around forever, and look at Spains vast military strength and foreign empire, they'll be out of this muddle soon enough. The Inquisition? They won't be around forever either, and it's naive of you to presume they will". Didn't turn out like that, though. From being the most powerful empire on Earth, By the 19th century Spain was an irelevance in terms of world affairs.

To misquote Homer Simpson "Nation goes up, nation goes down, nation goes up, nation goes down".

Spain isn't a superpower anymore. It hasn't been on the up in that respect for centuries.

The EU is certainly not a true democracy but there is a degree of democracy involved. What's your point?

The EU has failed to respect the will of the people in a number of Countries. In Austria, Ireland and Denmark.

Shane Costello
27th January 2003, 11:26 AM
Originally posted by Graham:
E Pluribus Onum or whatever. Isn't there supposed to be some advantage to that? If you are a part of a democratic(ish) society do you have more or less control over word events than you would if you declared yourself and independent, one-man nation?

Out of many, one? So do the French, along with the rest of Europe, adapt the German language and system of government, or the British one, or should the rest of Europe become French? The Latin you've quoted is the motto of the USA. IMO an analogy cannot be drawn between America and Europe, although many think it can.

Declare yourself an independent, one man nation? Silly.

As a part of a greater whole, theoretically, the French will have a greater voice in world affairs.

And if the greater whole tells the French where to shove their opinions on a regular basis?

I said they have a political and diplomatic system at least the equal of any other civilised country and better than some. - how does your point refute this?

No other civilized nation has given an individual such as Le Pen such a high proportion of it's vote at a nation election. Contrast this wiht the fortunes of the far-right in Britain, or Pat Buchanan in the US.

The original point (if you want to scroll back that far) was that a similar list of unpleasant situations could be found for almost any major country not that a list of exactly the same circumstances could be found. The fact that the bluecoats only slaughtered a bunch of no good injuns really has no bearing on the matter.

Yes it does, IMO. The Indians were slaughtered to clear the way for white settlers, and there was never any illusion about that. The reign of terror in France came about in the furtherence of "libertie, egalite, et fraternie".

Segnosaur
27th January 2003, 11:56 AM
Originally posted by Douglas
I have other words.
Corrupt, dishonest, self-absorbed, decrepit, pretentious, has-been. Those are a few of the words I can come up with off the top of my head.

You forgot "Back Stabbing".

Canadians may remember this... A large number of people in the province of Quebec want to separate from the rest of Canada. (Quebec has always had their own way of doing things.)

During a visit to Canada many years ago, the french leader (I believe it was De Galle) made a speech where he said "Vive le Quebec libre". (Long life free Quebec... pardon my spelling and translation). Even though Canada went to war to help France in World War 2 (which the majority of English people supported, but ironically the Quebec population was against action), the leader made the comments which would help spur on Quebec separatists and cause all sorts of political problems within Canada.

Drooper
27th January 2003, 12:58 PM
Originally posted by Jon_in_london


Obviously never been to Coventry ;)

Oh but I have. It just slipped my mind. ;)

Mike B.
27th January 2003, 01:03 PM
No culture here in America...
Strange when I was in Germany and France there were numerous advertisements for American films. They were also the highest grosses in those countries.

Plus I heard quite a bit of rock and roll. A music that ultimately goes back to black American music.

So...

Perhaps the statement of no culture in the US is a hasty one.

I mean all through out Europe I saw instances of American cultural icons. So my guess is that a large number of Europeans actually enjoy parts of American culture, yet sit and pat themselves on the back that their culture is superior.

In fact don't the French complain of cultural impearalism?

DanishDynamite
27th January 2003, 01:10 PM
Originally posted by Mike B.
No culture here in America...
Strange when I was in Germany and France there were numerous advertisements for American films. They were also the highest grosses in those countries.

Plus I heard quite a bit of rock and roll. A music that ultimately goes back to black American music.

So...

Perhaps the statement of no culture in the US is a hasty one.

I mean all through out Europe I saw instances of American cultural icons. So my guess is that a large number of Europeans actually enjoy parts of American culture, yet sit and pat themselves on the back that their culture is superior.

In fact don't the French complain of cultural impearalism? Hey, just because we like American movies, music, TV programs, fastfood, etc., doesn't mean that....uh.....

Never mind.:)

ZeeGerman
27th January 2003, 01:23 PM
Originally posted by Mike B.
No culture here in America...
Strange when I was in Germany and France there were numerous advertisements for American films. They were also the highest grosses in those countries.

Plus I heard quite a bit of rock and roll. A music that ultimately goes back to black American music.

So...

Perhaps the statement of no culture in the US is a hasty one.

I mean all through out Europe I saw instances of American cultural icons. So my guess is that a large number of Europeans actually enjoy parts of American culture, yet sit and pat themselves on the back that their culture is superior.

In fact don't the French complain of cultural impearalism?

Wow, I call that a late reply to my post.
I admit, I was teasing (but just a little bit, the part about the cooking and the wine still holds) ;)
Seriously, I like the US, lived there for a while and I do enjoy many american movies and a lot of the music. Hey, I even had a look at ol Liberty Bell in Philly (bit disappointing though). Anyway, I was talking about GREAT culture and I still think that France has a bit more to offer in that area than the states. But then, I'm just a Kraut whom most french people would consider a barbarian anyway, so dont hit too hard on me :D

Zee

zakur
27th January 2003, 01:40 PM
Remember when the U.S. bombed Libya?

France denies the U.S. passage through its airspace for the bombing raid, adding 2600 total nautical miles to the journey from England and back.

U.S. bombs "accidentally" fall on the French embassy in Tripoli.

Mike B.
27th January 2003, 05:32 PM
Originally posted by ZeeGerman


Wow, I call that a late reply to my post.
I admit, I was teasing (but just a little bit, the part about the cooking and the wine still holds) ;)
Seriously, I like the US, lived there for a while and I do enjoy many american movies and a lot of the music. Hey, I even had a look at ol Liberty Bell in Philly (bit disappointing though). Anyway, I was talking about GREAT culture and I still think that France has a bit more to offer in that area than the states. But then, I'm just a Kraut whom most french people would consider a barbarian anyway, so dont hit too hard on me :D

Zee

I think you and everyone else that ever visted this city left feeling the same way about the darn bell...

I think Randi himself once said, "Didn't they close Philadelphia due to a lack of interest?":D

Graham
28th January 2003, 05:46 AM
Holy long posts Batman! OK, here we go again:

And you are making your predictions on the basis of what, exactly? Presumption?

Long term trends as I see them.

This is silly, considering the time in question was half a century before I was born. Stick to the topic in question.

This is silly, that's silly, what silly little people we are. Sorry, I thought it was a reasonably good example of making a prophecy based solely on the moment without consideration to anything else. Perhaps I was wrong.

Large population: Hasn't done Russia or Mexico a great lot of good. Ditto Nigeria.

My point was that France has a number of factors going for it that will stand in its favour if it comes to ecomomic recovery. A large population in and of itslef might not necessarily lead to recovery and, indeed, an over-large population might hinder recovery. However, having enough people around for industry, etc is a good thing. Likewise the other factors I listed all might be a good basis on which to found the recovery, if it ever happens. The raw material is there if they need it, is what I'm saying.

In the case of France it has an ageing population. Drooper mentioned that large scale immigration might be necessary, yet Le Pen recieved a fifth of the vote in the recent presidential election.

First of all, large scale immigration might be necessary - that point itself is debatable and Drooper (no offense to him ;) ) cannot be quoted as an authority without some evidence of his qualifications/experience.

Secondly, you've picked up on the Le Pen thing before. I think this is irrelevant to our discussion but let me just say this: Le Pen got 20% of the vote - that doesn't mean anything like 20% of the population voted for him. Firstly, votor turnout for the first round was relatively low. Secondly, we all know (don't we?) that if anyone votes it's the fanatics and it's the relatively normal people that often don't bother. Thirdly, a proportion of people voted for Le Pen instead of spoiling their ballots, to make a point to the government, thinking he would never in a million years get elected. The mass of the French public was as surprised by the result as the rest of the world and the final result confirms that support for Le Pens policies was much lower than the inital result would have suggested.

Education and Health services: I've read that the French health system is doing little more than create a nation of hypochondriacs. And given the top heavy demographic pyramid in France how can these services be sustained at present levels?

The French could be keeping half their patients in the corridors and they'd still have an health service the equal of many. Top heavy demographics are a problem in every civilised country. The fact that France has that problem too makes them no worse and no better than the rest of us.

Plenty of natural resources: This hasn't done Russia much good.

See above re population.

International assets: A link please.

Is it not reasonable to assume that France, as a former colonial power, has some fairly substantial international assets? No? Alright then, I withdraw the point with apologies.

You argued that the maintainence of French influence was most probable, and that their present problems would inevitably be overcome. The examples I provided give credence to the belief that unless structural reforms take place, this is far from certain.

It is probable, IMO and it is far from certain. The two are not necessarily contradictory. Initially I was just arguing that France shouldn't be written off just yet. I never said France would inevitably take over the world.

From when? It didn't even exist until the previous century.

During the reign of Philip's father, who was also Holy Roman Emperor.


They also ruled Naples and Portugal. And this supports my thesis. At the time I'd imagine you could have argued "Yeah, Phillip's a crummy ruler, but he won't be around forever, and look at Spains vast military strength and foreign empire, they'll be out of this muddle soon enough". Didn't turn out like that, though.

Philip's possession of Portugal was rather brief IIRC but whatever. If it supports anyone's thesis it's mine. You may have a low opinion of Spain as it is right now but actually, it's not so bad. They are an independent nation, on good terms with their neighbours, whose statistics (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/sp.html) while bearing no comparison to, say, the USA, hardly rate them as Third World.

(to be continued . . . )

Graham
28th January 2003, 05:50 AM
Spain isn't a superpower anymore. It hasn't been on the up in that respect for centuries.

I didn't realise a country had to be a superpower in order to qualify as important on the world stage. So it's just the US tha tmatters and no-one else then? Now who's being silly? :p

The EU has failed to respect the will of the people in a number of Countries. In Austria, Ireland and Denmark.

The phrase I used was "a degree of democracy" not "full unabridged democracy" - yes, certain moves by the EU could be seen as not-democratic, I have no disagreement with that.

. . . moving on . . .

Drooper
28th January 2003, 05:57 AM
You would have to accept though, that the EU could not be called democratic due to the tenuous link between the populous and the legislative procedure.

Graham
28th January 2003, 06:05 AM
Out of many, one? So do the French, along with the rest of Europe, adapt the German language and system of government, or the British one, or should the rest of Europe become French? The Latin you've quoted is the motto of the USA. IMO an analogy cannot be drawn between America and Europe, although many think it can.

I wasn't really trying to draw an analogy between the two, certainly not with the US as it has ended up. "Out of many, one" is, or should be IMO, one of the guiding principle of any republic. Otherwise, what is the point of democratic society at all? Why not just give it all up and leave every man for himself? There are plenty of countires in the worl that use more than one language, to greater or lesser degrees and plenty of countries where two or more cultures are integrated quite well. Why should Europe not manage it somehow?

Declare yourself an independent, one man nation? Silly.

There's that word again. Perhaps you should discuss the matter with Prince Leonard of Hutt River, a one man independent natio within the boundaries of Australia. You can find him at snopes.com.

And if the greater whole tells the French where to shove their opinions on a regular basis?

If they do then France would have no voice on the world stage. I don't think that's likely but again we're discussing possibilities.


No other civilized nation has given an individual such as Le Pen such a high proportion of it's vote at a nation election. Contrast this wiht the fortunes of the far-right in Britain, or Pat Buchanan in the US.

I said they have a political and diplomatic system at least the equal of any other civilised country and better than some. - how does your point refute this?

I dealt with the Le Pen result above but, even if 20% of the population did really want Le Pen for their leader - so what? The "better" man won in the end because their electionsystem worked as it should have.


Yes it does, IMO. The Indians were slaughtered to clear the way for white settlers, and there was never any illusion about that. The reign of terror in France came about in the furtherence of "libertie, egalite, et fraternie".

The original point was that a similar list of unpleasant situations could be found for almost any major country not that a list of exactly the same circumstances could be found. the American Revolution did/did not result in slaughter of its citizens/non-citizen-statused-natives followed/not followed by autocracy is irrelevant.

Almost every civilised country on the globe has a bloody history of one sort or another, France is no different.

. . . and on . . .

Graham
28th January 2003, 06:09 AM
Sorry Shane, I thought there was another post of yours to reply to.

Originally posted by Drooper
You would have to accept though, that the EU could not be called democratic due to the tenuous link between the populous and the legislative procedure.

I would accpet that the EU could not be called a democracy.

I would still contend, however, that it is somewhat democratic since the various governments involved are all democratically elected and thus ultimate responsibility devolves to the various electorates.

I should add, however, that my knowledge of the exact procedures of the EU is a little shaky and I may be wrong on the above point.

Graham

Drooper
28th January 2003, 06:40 AM
Legislation is proposed and drafted in the Commission. A mix of political appointments and aparatchiks.

Note that the Commission is "independent of national interest" and the representation is not representative of relative population.

This legislation is haggled over by the Council of Ministers and after final drafting sent to the Parliament to be rubber stamped.

The only ways the interests of the populous can come to bear is via:

- the Commission. However, this is once removed from the populous, not represantative of the electorate (e.g. 4 million Irish scupper the interests of 80 million Germans) and is by intention "independent of national interest".

- the Council of Ministers. However, much of the legislation in the EU still requires a majority vote. Litte old Luxembourg can veto something everybody else wants. They can only provide decisions based on the proposals they receive: they do not conceive the proposals.

- the Parliament. This is the democratic body in the EU legislative procedure. However, it is just a rubber stamping organisation. It does not propose or amend any legislation. As a result it has no influence on the legislation formulated by the EU.


This is not the structure of a democratic institution.

Graham
28th January 2003, 07:45 AM
Originally posted by Drooper
Legislation is proposed and drafted in the Commission. A mix of political appointments and aparatchiks.

snip

This is not the structure of a democratic institution.

I won't repeat all that but it was very informative, thank-you.

One small question:

the Council of Ministers. However, much of the legislation in the EU still requires a majority vote. Litte old Luxembourg can veto something everybody else wants. They can only provide decisions based on the proposals they receive: they do not conceive the proposals.

Do you mean that decisions require a unanimous vote or a majority vote? If it's a majority then Luxembourg alone could not veto anything (right?).

It would seem to me that the institution is still somewhat democratic on a "country scale" and that, since the government of each country are democratically elected the EU therefore remains somewhat democratic.

It's democracy Jim, but not as we know it!

Drooper
28th January 2003, 08:05 AM
Sorry, I meant unanamous vote. For some issues it is "qualified majority" voting. This sort of means a 2/3 majority by member states.

A good example is Ireland needed to have a second referendum on the Nice Treaty, becasue the voted no first time around and this would have led to the collapse of the Treaty. You could also argue that this is a classic example of undemocratic behviour being indirectly forced on a member country: "and keep voting until you get it right!!". Note that this also occurred in Denmark with the Maastricht Treaty. Also, the German electorate was taken into EMU without being consulted by the teir Government and despite overwhelmiing evidence that the German people did not want to abolish the DM.


Further on the democratic issues. I don't know how you can say it is democratic at a country level (in fact the exmpales in the paragraph above show where things are running the other way: EU => National Governments => National electorate).

The EU is a pan-European law making and law enforcing institution. It is either constructed in a way that it acts in response to the will of the people of Europe or it does not. Saying that it acts in response to the will of some of the Governments of Europe doesn't cut it.

Graham
28th January 2003, 08:17 AM
Originally posted by Drooper
Sorry, I meant unanamous vote. For some issues it is "qualified majority" voting. This sort of means a 2/3 majority by member states.

A good example is Ireland needed to have a second referendum on the Nice Treaty, becasue the voted no first time around and this would have led to the collapse of the Treaty. You could also argue that this is a classic example of undemocratic behviour being indirectly forced on a member country: "and keep voting until you get it right!!". Note that this also occurred in Denmark with the Maastricht Treaty. Also, the German electorate was taken into EMU without being consulted by the teir Government and despite overwhelmiing evidence that the German people did not want to abolish the DM.

Furter on the democratic issues. I don't know how you can say it is democratic at a country level. It is a pan-European law making and enforcing institution. It is either constructed in a way that it acts in response to the will of the people of Europe or it does not. Saying that it acts in response to the will of some of the Governments of Europe doesn't cut it.

This is not something I've put a huge amount of thought into, I'm making it up as I go along, so bear with me if I lapse into incoherence (again!).

Does it not act in response to the will of all the Governments of Europe? Isn't that the whole point of requiring a unanimous vote - everyone has to agree.

I'm not familiar with the details of Germany changing to the Euro but as to the re-vote in Ireland, my impression (being in the country at the time) was that people felt the second vote was being forced on them not so much by the EU as by our own government who felt embarrased in front of their EU colleagues and were not willing to stand behind their own people's decision. I seem to recall various EU personalities saying that Ireland's refusal to ratify the treaty could be worked around if necessary. Maybe Shane could make a more coherent comment on this.

Graham

Graham
28th January 2003, 08:20 AM
Originally posted by Drooper
(in fact the exmpales in the paragraph above show where things are running the other way: EU => National Governments => National electorate).


OK, now you're just trying to make me look bad! You added this bit later, admit it!

As I said, I'm not familiar with the German situation (or Danish) to argue it with you but that was not my impression of the Nice situation in Ireland.

Drooper
28th January 2003, 08:25 AM
Originally posted by Graham


This is not something I've put a huge amount of thought into, I'm making it up as I go along, so bear with me if I lapse into incoherence (again!).

Does it not act in response to the will of all the Governments of Europe? Isn't that the whole point of requiring a unanimous vote - everyone has to agree.

I'm not familiar with the details of Germany changing to the Euro but as to the re-vote in Ireland, my impression (being in the country at the time) was that people felt the second vote was being forced on them not so much by the EU as by our own government who felt embarrased in front of their EU colleagues and were not willing to stand behind their own people's decision. I seem to recall various EU personalities saying that Ireland's refusal to ratify the treaty could be worked around if necessary. Maybe Shane could make a more coherent comment on this.

Graham

On the points of fact first.

The Treaty could not be enacted until Ireland signed. If, due to the referendum result, Ireland could not sign, the Treay would need to be amended into something that Ireland could sign. An example is Maastricht. The UK wouldn't sign it because of EMU. This held everything up until the idea of an "opt out" was written into the Treaty for the UK, Denmark and Sweden.

On this point:

Does it not act in response to the will of all the Governments of Europe? Isn't that the whole point of requiring a unanimous vote - everyone has to agree.

Just because the Governments all vote in favour of something doesn't translate into democracy. You highlight this point youself and don't seem to realise it. The Irish Government were acting for the will of its EU partners by subjecting the country to a second referendum. How democratic is that? Not at all, but it was a result that stemmed directly from the structure of the EU.

Graham
28th January 2003, 08:37 AM
Originally posted by Drooper

On the points of fact first.

The Treaty could not be enacted until Ireland signed. If, due to the referendum result, Ireland could not sign, the Treay would need to be amended into something that Ireland could sign. An example is Maastricht. The UK wouldn't sign it because of EMU. This held everything up until the idea of an "opt out" was written into the Treaty for the UK, Denmark and Sweden.

That would seem correct (and what I said was Ireland's refusal to ratify the treaty could be worked around if necessary either by amendment to the existing treaty or by a new treaty altogether. Which is why . . .

On this point:

Just because the Governments all vote in favour of something doesn't translate into democracy. You highlight this point youself and don't seem to realise it. The Irish Government were acting for the will of its EU partners by subjecting the country to a second referendum. How democratic is that? Not at all, but it was a result that stemmed directly from the structure of the EU.

. . . the Irish government are spineless wretches. Could the EU have forced them to inflict a second referendum on their country? They couldn't have and, I think, wouldn't have. Bertie (that's our esteemed leader, btw) and his cabinet of gangsters (knowing as they always do exactly where the money comes from) decided of their own volition to change the vote instead of changing the treaty.

That's Irish democracy for you but no reflection on the EU.

Graham

Drooper
28th January 2003, 08:45 AM
Looks like we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. :cool:

Graham
28th January 2003, 08:49 AM
Originally posted by Drooper
Looks like we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. :cool:

If you like. Until next time then :)

Graham

Shane Costello
28th January 2003, 11:28 AM
Originally posted by Graham:

This is silly, that's silly, what silly little people we are. Sorry, I thought it was a reasonably good example of making a prophecy based solely on the moment without consideration to anything else. Perhaps I was wrong.

If prophecy's your thing, then your on the wrong forum. I certainly wasn't prophecisng. What I was doing was speculating on the future considering historical precedent and the facts as they are to hand.

However, having enough people around for industry, etc is a good thing.

Exactly. The problem with France is that the retirement age is low, the demographic pyramid is top heavy, so that a decreasing number of economically active people will be relied on to maintain the welfare state at current levels. Having enough people around for industry is a resource France is running short of.

Secondly, you've picked up on the Le Pen thing before. I think this is irrelevant to our discussion but let me just say this:
Let me say this: Part of our discussion is about the strength of the French system of government and the country as a whole. When someone like Le Pen gets 20% of the vote ina presidential election then it is very relevant, IMO.

Secondly, we all know (don't we?) that if anyone votes it's the fanatics and it's the relatively normal people that often don't bother. Thirdly, a proportion of people voted for Le Pen instead of spoiling their ballots, to make a point to the government, thinking he would never in a million years get elected.

Can you back up your assertion about a greater proportion of loonies voting and Le Pen garnering a protest vote with evidence?

The mass of the French public was as surprised by the result as the rest of the world and the final result confirms that support for Le Pens policies was much lower than the inital result would have suggested

Le Pen got a similar share of the vote in both rounds of the election.

Top heavy demographics are a problem in every civilised country. The fact that France has that problem too makes them no worse and no better than the rest of us.

Wrong. Both the US and Ireland, to name at least two, have a birth rate that's around replacement level, and a much more favourable demographic outlook thatn most of continental Europe.

Is it not reasonable to assume that France, as a former colonial power, has some fairly substantial international assets? No? Alright then, I withdraw the point with apologies.

Why did you make the point to begin with if you hadn't the first clue as to whether it was factual?

Philip's possession of Portugal was rather brief IIRC but whatever. If it supports anyone's thesis it's mine. You may have a low opinion of Spain as it is right now but actually, it's not so bad. They are an independent nation, on good terms with their neighbours, whose statistics while bearing no comparison to, say, the USA, hardly rate them as Third World.

I didn't realise a country had to be a superpower in order to qualify as important on the world stage. So it's just the US tha tmatters and no-one else then? Now who's being silly?

This is a strawman. I never opined on modern day Spain. What I pointed out was that Spain saw a decline in it's influence from it's heyday in the 16th Century to the middle of the 20th. From threatening England with the Armada to igniminious defeat in the Spanish-American war in 1898. From having almost the whole of the New World at it's disposal to being a backward poorhouse, no longer counted among the great powers. Your point was that these things go in cycles, by which we should have expected intermittent periods of Spanish influence and prestige over the past few centuries.


I dealt with the Le Pen result above but, even if 20% of the population did really want Le Pen for their leader - so what?

So what? An anti-semitic xenophobe who once ran a catalogue business selling Nazi war songs gets 20% of the vote in a presidential election and all ypu can say is "so what"?

There are plenty of countires in the worl that use more than one language, to greater or lesser degrees and plenty of countries where two or more cultures are integrated quite well. Why should Europe not manage it somehow?

Lookwhat happened in Yugoslavia. Nor has Belgium been very successful in creating harmonious relations between it's two linguistic groups. The only exception that I can think about is Switzerland.

. the Irish government are spineless wretches. Could the EU have forced them to inflict a second referendum on their country? They couldn't have and, I think, wouldn't have.

But they did.

Buzzsaw
28th January 2003, 10:40 PM
Originally posted by iain

So the answer is that however you look at is, yes France is relevant.

Of course France is relevant! They are a nuclear power, a member of NATO, and occupy a strategic position on the continent.

That being said, we owe the French a perpetual ounce of thanks (minimum) for their assistance in the American War of Independence. Yes, they were helping the "enemy-of-their-enemy", but the fact is they were our first "friend" and the first major power to recognize the US as an independent entity.

Check this out:

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/ar/14312.htm

http://www.ai.mit.edu/people/sfelshin/saintonge/frhist.html

Despite any modern friction, we owe France a debt of gratitude; they are an old friend.

a_unique_person
28th January 2003, 11:18 PM
Originally posted by rikzilla



Oh and Zee German, leck mich am Amerikaner arsch!

is the US the greatest country of repressed homosexuals in the world?

Graham
29th January 2003, 06:45 AM
If prophecy's your thing, then your on the wrong forum. I certainly wasn't prophecisng. What I was doing was speculating on the future considering historical precedent and the facts as they are to hand.

By my reading you were speculating on the future using only "the facts as they are to hand". If I misread you, I apologise.

BTW, prophecy does not necessarily mean "using supernatural powers"

[/QUOTE]From Merriam Webster Online (http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary)

1 : an inspired utterance of a prophet
2 : the function or vocation of a prophet; specifically : the inspired declaration of divine will and purpose
3 : a prediction of something to come

Or were you just being an ass?

Exactly. The problem with France is that the retirement age is low, the demographic pyramid is top heavy, so that a decreasing number of economically active people will be relied on to maintain the welfare state at current levels. Having enough people around for industry is a resource France is running short of.

France
0-14 years: 18.5% (male 5,675,269; female 5,401,661)
15-64 years: 65.2% (male 19,503,556; female 19,479,646)
65 years and over: 16.3% (male 3,948,433; female 5,757,418) (2002 est.)

USA
0-14 years: 21% (male 30,116,782; female 28,765,183)
15-64 years: 66.4% (male 92,391,120; female 93,986,468)
65 years and over: 12.6% (male 14,748,522; female 20,554,414) (2002 est.)

Ireland
0-14 years: 21.3% (male 425,366; female 403,268)
15-64 years: 67.3% (male 1,307,469; female 1,305,038)
65 years and over: 11.4% (male 191,927; female 250,091) (2002 est.)

Source: CIA Factbook (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/fields/2010.html)

There doesn't appear to me to be a significant difference between these profiles. Maybe the middle category is too broad though. Either way, it doesn't appear as if France's demographic pyramid is significantly more top-heavy than many others.

Let me say this: Part of our discussion is about the strength of the French system of government and the country as a whole. When someone like Le Pen gets 20% of the vote ina presidential election then it is very relevant, IMO.

It's replusive certainly but the main thrust of the discussion is whether France is relevant on the world stage. The fact that a proportion of the poulation are ignorant racist pigs does not mean that they are not.

Can you back up your assertion about a greater proportion of loonies voting and Le Pen garnering a protest vote with evidence?

Le Pen got a similar share of the vote in both rounds of the election.

No, I can't. I stand corrected too on the latter point. My misunderstanding came from the fact that Chirac got just over 20% of the vote in the first round and 82% in the second. Without thinking about it I assumed this meant Le Pen did much worse in the second round. My first point was pure speculation, which I should have been more careful in labelling it as such.

Wrong. Both the US and Ireland, to name at least two, have a birth rate that's around replacement level, and a much more favourable demographic outlook thatn most of continental Europe.

Back to the CIA:

France: Birth Rate (BR) 11.94/1000 Death Rate (DR) 9.04/1000

US: BR 14.1/1000 DR 8.7/1000

Ireland BR 14.62/1000 DR 8.01/1000

So whilst the populations of Ireland and the US are (excluding immigration/emmigration) growing faster than that of France, France's rate remains significantly higher than replacement level.

Germany and Italy, for instance, are well below replacement level but not France, sorry.

Why did you make the point to begin with if you hadn't the first clue as to whether it was factual?

It seems like common sense to me but I don't have the statistics to back it up. I apologised and withdrew the point. Have some grace and accept that.

This is a strawman. I never opined on modern day Spain. What I pointed out was that Spain saw a decline in it's influence from it's heyday in the 16th Century to the middle of the 20th. From threatening England with the Armada to igniminious defeat in the Spanish-American war in 1898. From having almost the whole of the New World at it's disposal to being a backward poorhouse, no longer counted among the great powers. Your point was that these things go in cycles, by which we should have expected intermittent periods of Spanish influence and prestige over the past few centuries.

You brought up the example of Spain as an example of the
terminal decline and disappearance of many economic and political powers

In doing so, you suggested that Spain as an economic and political power had terminally declined and disappeared. Spain is still there (do I need to find a source for that or can you take my word for it?) . That sounds to me like an opinion on modern day Spain.

Yes, Spain has declined since the time of King Philip but it has been much, much lower in between now and then than it is now. During the Napoleonic period, for instance.

So what? An anti-semitic xenophobe who once ran a catalogue business selling Nazi war songs gets 20% of the vote in a presidential election and all ypu can say is "so what"?

Again, it's repulsive and reflects badly on the French electorate. It doesn't reflect on France's status as a world power. When Russia was under the control of Stalin, was it not a world power? It's wasn't a very nice world power but that's beside the point.

Lookwhat happened in Yugoslavia. Nor has Belgium been very successful in creating harmonious relations between it's two linguistic groups. The only exception that I can think about is Switzerland.

An bhfuil cead agam dul amach, mas e do thoil e? That's all the Irish I can remember but this is a bilingual country too and we haen't descended into genocide just yet.

But they did.

No, no they didn't, certainly not in any explicit fashion.

Kimpatsu
29th January 2003, 06:50 AM
Originally posted by Shane Costello
When someone like Le Pen gets 20% of the vote in a presidential election then it is very relevant, IMO.
Yes, it's almost as obscene as Dubya gerrymandering an election with the connivance of his Floridian brother. ;)

Shane Costello
29th January 2003, 07:04 AM
Originally posted by kimpatsu:
Yes, it's almost as obscene as Dubya gerrymandering an election with the connivance of his Floridian brother.

Or Mr. Blair gaining a 200 seat majority in the commons on the basis of gaining 41% of the vote on a 58% turnout?

Supercharts
3rd February 2003, 04:23 PM
At one point, they greeted Western journalists with chants: "We don't hate the French! It's the government of France" we hate!"


"They want to chase Ivorians from Ivory Coast. We will never allow it," demonstrator Annick Hamon said, swaying to the music.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid=535&e=6&cid=535&u=/ap/20030203/ap_on_re_af/ivory_coast

Jon_in_london
4th February 2003, 09:55 AM
Originally posted by Buzzsaw


Of course France is relevant! They are a nuclear power, a member of NATO, and occupy a strategic position on the continent.

That being said, we owe the French a perpetual ounce of thanks (minimum) for their assistance in the American War of Independence. Yes, they were helping the "enemy-of-their-enemy", but the fact is they were our first "friend" and the first major power to recognize the US as an independent entity.

Check this out:

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/ar/14312.htm

http://www.ai.mit.edu/people/sfelshin/saintonge/frhist.html

Despite any modern friction, we owe France a debt of gratitude; they are an old friend.

Im not a nationalist. In fact the only thing I hate more than nationalists are Frogs.

richardm
4th February 2003, 10:09 AM
Originally posted by cavin
and don't forget all those poor French brides sent over to Scotland where they quickly died during the winter.


I've forgotten them, or at least have never heard of them. What is it you are referring to?

Kimpatsu
5th February 2003, 02:19 AM
Originally posted by Jon_in_london
Im not a nationalist. In fact the only thing I hate more than nationalists are Frogs.
Why should you hate amphibians so much? Is it because you're a toad?

BillyTK
5th February 2003, 05:38 AM
In fact, why is Britain still relevant? It's got a smaller economy than France, less troops, artillery, transport (well, we've four more warships than they have), nuclear warheads and missiles, so surely if France is no longer relevant then Britain certainly isn't. Other than the UK government is more likely to do whatever Washington asks?

Kimpatsu
5th February 2003, 06:33 AM
Originally posted by BillyTK
In fact, why is Britain still relevant? It's got a smaller economy than France, less troops, artillery, transport (well, we've four more warships than they have), nuclear warheads and missiles, so surely if France is no longer relevant then Britain certainly isn't. Other than the UK government is more likely to do whatever Washington asks?
Britain will always be relevant because it's England! After all, ours is the only true culture in the world, and we are born closer to god than everyone else. Once everyone else accepts this fact, everything will run MUCH more smoothly. We'll start by reclaiming the colonies of Africa, India and North America, and then go from there. Oh, and the North Amercian colonies owe us 250 years back taxes on a certain tea shipment... :p

BillyTK
5th February 2003, 07:22 AM
Originally posted by Kimpatsu

Britain will always be relevant because it's England! After all, ours is the only true culture in the world, and we are born closer to god than everyone else. Once everyone else accepts this fact, everything will run MUCH more smoothly. We'll start by reclaiming the colonies of Africa, India and North America, and then go from there. Oh, and the North Amercian colonies owe us 250 years back taxes on a certain tea shipment... :p

Take a deep breath and repeat after me: England is not Britain, England is not Britain... :p ;) :D But reclaiming the unpaid tea tax sounds like an excellent plan! What would it be worth now with all that interest?

Kimpatsu
5th February 2003, 07:36 AM
Ah, c'mon, the whole point of the post was to insult EVERYBODY! Otherwise, what fun would it be?
Anyway, the Japanese media keeps calling Scotland "north England", so why should I disagree? :D

BillyTK
5th February 2003, 08:17 AM
I think you missed out the Inuits ;) :)

Even the London media call Scotland the North of England (hell, they think London is England!) so it's understandable if the Japanese get it wrong! :D

Shane Costello
5th February 2003, 11:08 AM
Originally posted by Billy TK:
In fact, why is Britain still relevant? It's got a smaller economy than France, less troops, artillery, transport (well, we've four more warships than they have), nuclear warheads and missiles, so surely if France is no longer relevant then Britain certainly isn't.

Britain's economy has overtaken that of France. Don't forget that the French Army consists a large number of conscripts (or did the last time I looked). French conscripts always rise to the occasion, right?

ntech
5th February 2003, 04:37 PM
I could care less what any other country thinks anymore. We have a right to protect our families.

The French have always been like this.

Ed
5th October 2005, 05:39 AM
They kill Greenpeace members occasionally. They can't ba all bad.

Jorghnassen
5th October 2005, 05:46 AM
Uh, why was this thread suddenly resurrected?

Luke T.
5th October 2005, 06:12 AM
Uh, why was this thread suddenly resurrected?

I expect now that we have a "Similar Threads" feature at the bottom of threads with the new forum software, a lot of old threads will be suddenly resurrected.

Kerberos
5th October 2005, 07:10 AM
Legislation is proposed and drafted in the Commission. A mix of political appointments and aparatchiks.

Note that the Commission is "independent of national interest" and the representation is not representative of relative population.

This legislation is haggled over by the Council of Ministers and after final drafting sent to the Parliament to be rubber stamped.

The only ways the interests of the populous can come to bear is via:

- the Commission. However, this is once removed from the populous, not represantative of the electorate (e.g. 4 million Irish scupper the interests of 80 million Germans) and is by intention "independent of national interest".

- the Council of Ministers. However, much of the legislation in the EU still requires a majority vote. Litte old Luxembourg can veto something everybody else wants. They can only provide decisions based on the proposals they receive: they do not conceive the proposals.

- the Parliament. This is the democratic body in the EU legislative procedure. However, it is just a rubber stamping organisation. It does not propose or amend any legislation. As a result it has no influence on the legislation formulated by the EU.


This is not the structure of a democratic institution.

It might not be the structure of a democratic institution, but it isn't the structure of the EU either. You're grossly overstating the power the commission and grossly understating the power of the Parliament and particularly the council. At the half-annual summits the European Council can make any decision that they can agree on. Also both parliament and council can request that the Commission draft legislation, this in not technically binding, but according to the Danish EU information it's almost always followed. On foreign and security issues the Council has power of initiative i9ndependently of the commission.
Also the parliament can fire the commission with 2/3 majority and refuse to accept a commission with simple or absolute majority (I can't quite remember). Both these powers have been used (technically the commission withdrew voluntarily in both cases, but that's simply jumping before you're pushed). The EP is far less powerful than most parliaments, but it's grossly inaccurate to term it simply a rubber stamp, they have gotten progressively greater powers with time, a trend likely to continuo if or when a new treaty is passed. As for the part about majority voting and Luxembourg I assume you mean unanimous rather than majority, and I'll just point out that something that extreme very seldom happens, that majority voting just like parliamentary power has been increasing and is likely to continuo to do so when or if we get a new treaty.

Jon_in_london
5th October 2005, 09:30 AM
In terms of blunt GDP, France is only 6th ($1.51 Trillion) behind US ($10.82) China ($5.56) Hapan ($3.45) India ($2.5) and Germany ($2.17)



*ahem* cough * cough* arent you leaving someone out in those figures?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_GDP

Jorghnassen
5th October 2005, 10:08 AM
*ahem* cough * cough* arent you leaving someone out in those figures?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_GDP

In Graham's defense, his numbers are from at least 2 years ago. The GDP of France might have been slightly higher than the UK's at that time. See, that's what happens when someone resurrects an old thread.

Jon_in_london
5th October 2005, 11:00 AM
In Graham's defense, his numbers are from at least 2 years ago. The GDP of France might have been slightly higher than the UK's at that time. See, that's what happens when someone resurrects an old thread.


Oh, right. I was wondering where the frog-bashing was coming from...