Friday, March 07, 2008

Michael Gerson questions some of the presuppositions about America's popularity abroad:
Few American presidents have enjoyed a warmer embrace than John Kennedy visiting France in June of 1961. French newspapers swooned at the first lady's perfect French and the better Parisian shops sold silk scarves embroidered "Jackie." But President Charles de Gaulle remained more interested in the cultivation of French self-esteem than in trans-Atlantic unity. Having withdrawn the French Mediterranean fleet from NATO in 1959, he later ordered the removal of NATO troops from French soil. President Lyndon Johnson (in one of his finest hours) instructed his secretary of state to ask de Gaulle: "Does your order include the bodies of American soldiers in France's cemeteries?"

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