Thursday, March 02, 2006

French and American Patriotism.

Steven Pearlstein, a Washington Post business columnist in his article called Ports Furor Is Just Protectionism, With a French Accent, drew an interesting and daring parallel between France and the US:
it [the furor over the burying of US ports by Dubai] shows Americans acting just like the French. I'm talking, of course about "economic patriotism," the charming phrase coined by France's poetic prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, for what is nothing more than pig-headed protectionism.
It is all the more fascinating that the French firms been indeed among the most aggressive to cross-border mergers and acquisitions in Europe. Even the French press has expressed similar criticism of such old-fashion "economic patriotism" which is not only outdated but also very hypocritical for a government who is supportive of European integration. As Pearlstein comments though, this is the sign of a more general attitude:
To be fair, France is hardly the only country that is having serious second thoughts about European integration and cross-border investment.
It seems to me that if you agree with Pearlsteinthat "Americans [are] acting just like the French," - which is debatable - you could also easily argue for the exact opposite, that the French are acting more American.

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