By Jug Varner
During most of our country’s existence, France has been our friend and ally. In the two major conflicts of the 20th Century - WWI and WWII - the United States came to Europe’s aid and was a major factor in saving France’s Republic. Our Statue of Liberty is a symbol of some two centuries of mutual friendship and good will between our two nations.
Unfortunately, France has changed from our good friend to no friend at all.
This is not something that happened overnight and there are many complexities born of politics and leadership, but recent years have brought great changes in France, not the least of which is the insidious creep of Islam that will soon result in more than one-third of France’s population being Muslim - or perhaps better stated “being radical Muslim.” Moreover, the government’s sanction of Islam as a “political” entity has given French leadership “much more chain than it can swim with” or can possibly ever control.
French leadership’s hostile anti-American efforts in the United Nations before the current Iraq conflict began, and their desperation to deter our invasion to protect their Iraqi oil source, to keep Saddam in power and to protect their continued sale of military arms and equipment to the dictator, easily overrode any allegiance they once had to the U.S. Times changed, and they changed, too - as the old saying goes.
Recently, a friend forwarded a brief article promoting the boycott of all French products and services sold in the U.S., with a long list of them which I include below. While a boycott sounds like good revenge, I doubt that the average American would give much time and interest to such activity (or would even care). The range and types of French-made items marketed here surprised me, however, as did the names of a few former American companies now owned by the French.
Here are the names of more than 100 French companies/products marketed in the U.S., including a few that are practically household names - and this is not an all inclusive list:
Air France, Air Liquide, Airbus (aircraft), Alcatel, Allegra (Allergy medication), Aqualung (including Spirotechnique, Technisub, US Divers and SeaQuest), AXA Advisors;
Bank of the West (BNP Paribas), Beneteau (Boats), B. F Goodrich (Michelin), BIC (Razors, pens and lighters)
Biotherm (cosmetics), Black Bush, Bollinger (Champagne);
Car & Driver Magazine
Cartier, Chanel, Chivas Regal (Scotch), Christian Dior, Club Med (Vacations), Culligan (Owned by Vivendi);
Dannon (yogurt and dairy foods), Dom Perigonon (Champagne), DKNY, Durand Crystal;
Elle Magazine, Essilor Optical Products, Evian;
Fina (Petroleum products), First Hawaiian Bank;
George Magazine, Givenchy, Glenlivet (Scotch);
Hennessy (liquor products), Houghton Mifflin (Books);
Jacobs Creek (Pernod Ricard), Jameson (Whiskey), Jerry Springer (Talk show);
Krups (Coffee and cappuccino makers);
Lancome - Le Creuset (Cookware), L'Oreal (Health and beauty products), Louis Vuitton;
Marie Claire, Martel Cognac, Maybelline, Mephisto (Shoes & clothes), Michelin (Tires & auto parts), Mikasa (Crystal and glass), Moet (Champagne), Motel 6, Motown Records, MP3.com, Mumms (Champagne);
Nissan (Automobiles - majority owned by Renault), Nivea, Normandy Butter;
Parents Magazine, Peugeot (Automobiles), Pierre Cardin, Playstation Magazine, ProScan (Thomson Elec-tronics - France), Publicis Group (including Saatchi & Saatachi Advertising);
RCA (TV & electronics - Thomson Electronics), Red Magazine, Red Roof Inns (Accor group in France)
Renault (Automobiles), Roquefort cheese (all Roquefort cheese is made in France), Rowenta (Toasters, irons, coffee makers), Royal Canadian;
Salomon (skis) , Sierra Software & Computer Games, Smart & Final , Sofitel (Hotels, Accor group), Sparkletts (Water, owned by Danone), Spencer Gifts, Sundance Channel;
Taylor Made (Golf clubs & equipment), Technicolor, T-Fal (Kitchenware), Total Gas Stations;
UbiSoft (Computer games), Uniroyal (Tires), Universal Studios (Vivendi), U.S. Filter;
Veritas Group, Veuve Clicquot Champagne, Vittel, Vivendi;
Wild Turkey (Bourbon), Woman's Day Magazine;
Yoplait (Sodiaal owns 50%), Yves Saint Laurent; and
Zodia Inflatable Boats.
Perhaps a list of other nations, China in particular, would be equally surprising as Corporate America continues to seek manufacturing in foreign markets while our once-great industrial centers gradually become extinct and our work force is diluted to a choice between menial labor or high-tech, with a great void in between.
Those of us who have lived during the golden age of America find this turn of events difficult to believe.