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The French WayHow France Embraced and Rejected American Values and Power$
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Richard F. Kuisel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151816

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151816.001.0001

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Reverie and Rivalry: Mitterrand and Reagan-Bush

Reverie and Rivalry: Mitterrand and Reagan-Bush

(p.99) 3 Reverie and Rivalry: Mitterrand and Reagan-Bush
The French Way

Richard F. Kuisel

Princeton University Press

This chapter blends the narrative of relations between Paris and Washington with the response of the French media, elites, and public. Despite the outward appearance of strong ties between the two countries, there were sharp disagreements, mutual mistrust, and even some nasty spats—which occurred mostly off camera. It is argued that the degrees of separation from the United States, more than the strength of the partnership, determined self-esteem and France's role as a major player in global affairs. Independence helped define what it was to be “French” on the international stage, and it was the U.S. superpower that deprived France of attaining this status. The chapter begins by sketching a picture of French attitudes toward American power, policy, and leaders on the eve of the elections of presidents Reagan and Mitterrand.

Keywords:   Ronald Reagan, Francois Mitterand, France, United States, foreign relations, American power

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