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from a brit that lived in paris - don't let the bastards grind you down.
from a brit that lived in paris
The British make few laws, but obey them all, and the French make many laws, but if you know the right people, you can ignore the ones you don't like. This is really related to the first example - the French will pay lip service to the EU, NATO, the UN or whoever, but they don't really believe in them, because they're not French, and they don't consider themselves to be bound by their rules.
That's why France is being so awkward in the Iraq situation. They know Saddam of old, and culturally he's a lot closer to them than any Anglo-Saxon nation is. In the US and UK, we see government as a means to facilitate the lives of citizens, but in France and Iraq, the citizens are a means for the government to carry out its policies. Saddam plays by the French rules, personal relationships and mutual bribery, rather than Anglo-Saxon rules, where there is a clear difference between business and personal relationships. Iraq pours money into the coffers of French corporations, while the government looks the other way, then it taxes those corporations to shore up its position at home. (According to the news on TV last night, France's contract to sell goods and services to Iraq for oil extraction is worth $50B, and Russia's $43B.)
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