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Devant L'Empire: France and the Question of “American Empire,” from Theodore Roosevelt to George W. Bush

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Many observers of contemporary French politics would find it difficult to resist the temptation to conclude that France, alone among the European allies of the United States, has consistently had the greatest difficulty in adjusting to the reality of America's power. When that power occasions, as it frequently does, debates about “American empire,” French opposition to American influence seems to become even more pronounced. In fact, there has in recent decades been a distinctive French negative assessment of the merits of American empire, but it would be a mistake, or so this paper argues, to assume that French interests have invariably been at odds either with American power or with American empire. Using four eponymous figures to illustrate the French perspective on American empire in the past 100 years, this essay highlights how and why that assessment has evolved.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2008


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