Upon the rise of an election year in the United States, President George W Bush discussed holding-down the military death toll in Iraq, and praising his administration's efforts to create jobs in the United States, even though his country faces the highest unemployment rate in three decades (9.7 percent.)
There is no comparison whatsoever between the economies of France and the United States. France celebrates peace-time and a tight, but stable economy; while the U.S. experiences its greatest debt ever, offers citizens no affordable health-care, and attempts to sell the world on its ability to manage problems at home and in the Middle East.
Throughout 2003 I watched my 401K increase in value. Understanding the currency wars between the US dollar and the EURO in March '03, I made a drastic switch. My investments went to the European Union (EU).
My 401K recovered from 60 percent losses in 2002, and gained enough during 2003 to not only compensate for losses, but increase in overall value by 18 percent.
The EU economy is succeeding against the USA, with little debt, and stable social, welfare, and unemployment statistics. Keep in mind, unemployment statistics in Europe are true, once unemployed you stay in the system until you are employed, that is not so in the USA. (Your number vanishes after six months -- employed or not.)
France's President Chirac, as well as German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder knew they are on the brink of becoming the world's next economic power as part of the EU when they stood against the White House's planned invasion of Iraq. They've been focusing on economic issues, boosting industry, and cutting expenses; while the White House has fallen into a deep black hole of debt and continues a 40-month trend of manufacturing job losses at home.
But who needs whom? President George W Bush and his White House administration have understood only three simplistic ideas:
2.) The only way to increase US dollar share is to grow dependency upon natural resources. (Owning Afghanistan and Iraq accomplishes this temporarily.)
3.) There is only one winner. (Winning is everything.)
Meanwhile, the relations between France and the USA remain distant -- almost like a parent who ignores the child who married an unemployed slob. Only the child is an equal adult willing and able to make his or her own decision without parental assistance. France has evolved since WWII. Despite what Wall Street analysts say, neither France nor the EU needs the USA to experience economic growth in 2003 as it did in 1945.
Chirac made a decision for France in February 2003 when he vehemently opposed the US planned invasion of Iraq. France wanted United Nations (UN) weapons inspectors in Iraq, followed by UN-led invasion if necessary.
The White House's response was to rename "french fries," to "freedom fries." It was an intelligent response for a presidential administration who thinks fried potato wedges are French.
So far, with no weapons in Iraq, and with the number of US military casualties rising each day, France is in the position to say, "We told you so." « Nous vous avons dit. » Having made their own mistakes in the past, the French keep to task and continue to push for UN involvement in Iraq.
Bastille Day (14 July 2003) provided great show of support across France for their new found "guts," ( US-slang meaning 'going against the powers that be.') Both political and social circles alike are proud to be French, having not succumbed to the almighty George W Bush. Will this be enough to guarantee Chirac's third term; no, the French will decide when the time is right.
Paris's newspapers, Le Fiagro, and Le Monde continue to report difficulties (perhaps more than true) of US military casualties and social problems facing the US in Iraq. Even early into the US-led invasion of Iraq, in March '03, I recall Le Monde's front page cartoon depicting a US army trooper marching over dead, bloodied Iraqi bodies. It makes for a great souvenir since no US newspaper, even the infamous rags like The Star and the The National Enquirer, would have printed such an image. It isn't nice to go after the White House -- except when oval office blow-jobs play a role.
Chirac is after a cooperative world, and one where the same rules apply to each country. Europe has lived through multiple iterations of single countries exercising might against the others. The United States' success with power is, for the long term, under duress. Even if the US remains the world's power for 30 more years, it will not remain so for 100. In any case, the US is sure to fall sometime, that is the nature of the world. It appears to me as though the slip and fall started three years ago in Florida.
The dozen French people I call "close friends," keep their views separated between identifying the White House administration and the voters who built it, (sort of.) I've heard remarks ranging from "Bush is a dictator," to "Bush is a religious zealot." I've listened to my friends explain Bush's mental illness, as per a Parisian newspaper psychologist. They've read about citizens in the USA
|"You must remember, we [USA] have the most uneducated population of any industrialized nation," I say.|
The United States has Mc Donald's on nearly every corner and Starbucks next door, people are tuned out to what pops-up around them. I tell them before sipping another glass of bordeaux, "You must remember, we have the most uneducated population of any industrialized nation." I add, "We have a higher percentage of people in prison too." And when they get out of prison they can work at Mc Donalds, that is afterall democratic capitalism.
Change of any kind is slow. While my 401K results defy our debt-heavy US economy, I am only riding on a wave roaring towards shore. The United States will not afford the path of debt it rides today. Chirac and other up-and-coming economic powers agree.
Unselfishly, the French do not see themselves as the next super power, for such a role is outdated and egotistical. Making the commerce engine work for all industrialized countries benefits everyone. Everyone wins in other words. That philosophy is sound business advice, unless you are playing football in somewhere like, Midland - Odessa, TX, where losing equals being called "white trash." Meanwhile, I plan to play investments in Europe. No hard feelings, but I think I found the winners.