What Goes Around…

A number of people have e-mailed me the story of a Danish pizzeria that has banned French and Germans from the store as a protest against their anti-war stand.

Aage Bjerre, who owns Aage’s Pizza in Nordby on the island of Fanoe, has said he is tired of French and German attitudes toward the United States, calling them "disloyal" and "anti-American".

My reaction to all this is that Mr. Bjerre has every right in a free society to associate with whomever he wants. My aunt, who lives in Seoul notes that many restaurants have signs that read "Americans not welcome", and the world media ignores those messages. If Mr. Bjerre wants to express his political dissatisfaction with the German and French governments, then he is free to do so.

The anti-American elements in France and Germany don’t realize what they’ve gotten themselves into. There is a lot of animosity towards both their governments in the United States and elsewhere. The French have become a national whipping boy in America, and the Germans aren’t far behind. When tourist season begins, you can bet that a lot of Americans will be visting Prague and London this year rather than Paris or Berlin.

Americans have a code of honor and loyalty that is largely defined by our Jacksonian frontier tradition. We don’t like it when countries that are supposed to be our allies try to act in a way that is adversarial rather than principaled. If Germany and France are against war, that’s fine. However, their attempts to undermine the UN are counter-productive, and their stand essentially puts them closer to the totalitarian regime of Iraq than it does to the democratic United States.

The governments of France and Germany can side with Saddam Hussein and against the United States if they so choose. They’re soveriegn states, and they can act as they wish. However, their actions will have consequences, and this Danish pizzeria’s ban is only the tip of the iceburg.

3 thoughts on “What Goes Around…

  1. Fewer American tourists in France is not a major concern. France gets the most tourists of any nation in the world, averaging just under 67 million.

    Here is the % breakdown

    19% UK and Ireland
    17% Germany
    11% Belgium and Luxembourg
    9% Holland
    9% Italy
    35% others

    This is from the world desk reference. Americans account for less than 9% of all tourists in France, and that is to assume it is that high, and secondly that numbers would drop off that much.

    Americans do not feel threatened in France or Germany, there is no danger there, and to clump these nations with rogue states in terms of something to boycott tourist wise is just silly and intellectually dishonest.

  2. Odd, I figured US tourism would represent a larger fraction. (I’d wager it makes up a disproportionate number of dollars per tourist however…)

    The sense I’ve been getting isn’t one that we’re threatened by either France and Germany, it’s that France and Germany are behaving in a patently anti-American way, and there are a lot of people (myself included) who don’t want to reward such shoddy treatment by purchasing products from those countries.

  3. I consider boycotts of foreign companies to be, in this globalized day and age, pointless. Any large “French” or “German” company will probably have manufacturing plants in 10 nations and stockholders in 100. Regardless of country of origin, companies today are international. James Carville made a great point on Crossfire the other night when he picked up a bottle of french mineral water only to find a Coca-Cola insignia on the other side… that says it all.

    Hell, if you want to boycott a country for being bastards, boycott China. As I’ve said, they have more prisoners held without due process than the entire population of Iraq, they’re idea of criminal justice is executing 500 people in a week by gunshot (in a single city), they pollute to high heavens- and they’re opposed to the UN resolution against Iraq. However, boycotting Chinese goods also means that you’ll have to throw out nearly all your electronics (except for those high end GERMAN and Japanese ones), household appliances, and burn all your clothing in a bonfire in the front yard- which, given the time of year and location, probably isn’t a very good idea for me OR you. 🙂

    Bash boycotts- up with Globalization!

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