Patriot Games



From Today's Wall Street Journal Editorial Page:

Patriot Games

The U.S. and Old Europe haven't exactly been seeing oeil-to-eye of late.
But American politicians looking for payback ought to be careful lest they
aim at the French and hit Americans instead.

Consider the Senate amendment tucked into last week's war funding bill
that would tighten U.S.-ownership rules for air-cargo carriers and disrupt
Deutsche Post's bid to acquire a portion of Seattle-based Airborne. The
sneaky provision is courtesy of delivery rivals UPS and FedEx, which are
only too happy to block more formidable competition.

We like a French joke as much as the next guy. And it's amusing to see
French's mustard (invented by New Yorker Robert T. French in 1904) hurry
out a release saying that the "only thing French about French's mustard is
the name!" French hotel conglomerate Accor even rushed to remove its
French flags in front of its U.S.-based Sofitels.

But in today's global economy a boycott against a "French" or "German"
company can easily be a blow against American workers. Our politicians are
figuring this out, albeit slowly. A number of House Members recently sent
a letter to the Pentagon demanding that the U.S. Marines end a contract
with the French-owned catering firm Sodexho Alliance. But then
Representative Chris Van Hollen pointed out that Sodexho's U.S. unit was
based in his home state of Maryland, has 110,000 American employees (in
all 50 states) and pays $646 million in U.S. taxes.


I have mixed feelings on the article being an American first and a UPS retiree and shareholder second. I do however feel that the best way to DIRECTLY pay back the French is not to travel to their pitiful country. They depend greatly on vacationers to support their economy and therefore their government. Few, if any Americans will be injured by this tactic.

I for one am planning my travels without stopping in France. There is plenty of the world to see without setting foot there!


This editorial can be found on Opinion Journal. Reader responses follow.


I've been to France, as well as many other countries in Europe, and France was by far the worst place I went. Believe me there has always been anti-American feelings coming from that country. I was an Army brat and my dad took us all over Europe whenever he could. We went through many towns in France on the way to Paris. Some of the small towns were barible but for the most part they were pitiful. Paris was H...O...R...R...I...B...L...E!!! People were rude, much like in the rest of the country, and the city was nasty. Oh I tell you there is nothing more fun than being forced to walk through an old nasty city visiting old museums all day. I'll stick with the Netherlands as being my favorite place over there.


For the life of me, I could never figure out why an American would schedule a stop in a country that hates Americans.

To hell with them! There are too many beautiful places right here in the good old U.S.A. for us to visit.


The Netherlands?,,, It couldn't be the availability of drugs could it as to why that's your favorite place?
As for France, Forest Gump said it best, "rude is as rude does".
( actually stupid is as stupid does)
I lived and worked in Frace for 2 1/2 years,and the only rudeness I witnessed was deserving because of most Americans' attitude of "I'm better than you because I'm an American".
Spend some time in Normandy, you'll see that Americans are treated with respect and gratefullness for our roll in freeing them.
Every street in Paris is washed everyday..trash is picked up twice a day. Paris is the cleanest city you'll find in the world (next to Singapore).
I guess one has to have an appreciation for art and history to realize the beauty Paris has to offer.


When I was in Paris I was 7 or 8 years old and it was VERY VERY nasty then and we have numerous pictures that were taken in in many parts of the city (not just tourist areas) to prove it. Maybe they've cleaned the place up a bit since I was last there? And no I don't do drugs so that theory of why I like the Netherlands is discarded. The only people I saw pretending they were better than anyone was the people in Paris and certainly not any of the Americans I was with. As far as being the cleanest city in the world goes....I think saying it is second only to Singapore is a bit exaggerative. According to everyone I know that's been to Paris more recently it hasn't improved that much and I've heard from allot of those same people that their attitude towards Americans has actually gotten worse. And of course Americans have an attitude towards the French and it is actually for the same reason that was stated to justify their attitudes towards Americans. Out of all the countries I've been to in my life the French definitely were the most arrogant and hateful of them all. And that was back between 1982-1986. I'd hate to experience them these days. I definitely have an appreciation of art and history but my preferences do not allow me to enjoy staring at vast amounts of old boring (in my opinion) paintings lined through the halls of ancient run down building that could actually be considered art as well but are equally as boring to look upon. I have a very good appreciation of history and, in fact, I majored in history in college. But back to what this was all's undeniable that among the "old Europe" countries the French have the worst attitude towards Americans and it makes since that most Americans resent that.


Paris is an absolutely beautiful city, but the just like any other large city there are areas that are well maintained and others that are not. There are sophisticated well educated people, and lot of junkies in the parks. I've been all over France and it is a very diverse place. My problem isn't with France or even the majority of the French citizens, it is with Jacque Chiroc and the French government.

French try to repair relationship with US,11882,928491,00.html

What's really up with Iraq and France Anyway?

"Germany and the other countries of the European Union (EU) have extensive trade links with Iraq and (had) hope(d) to expand them after the lifting of international sanctions. Currently, France is Iraqs biggest trading partner within the EU, with a total trade balance of $1.5 billion. Following France is Italy, with total trade worth $1 billion. Europe accounts for the bulk of investment in the Iraqi oil industry as well, including the French concern TotalFinaElf, the Italian (ENI) and Russias (LukOil). With a total trade balance of $4 billion, Russia is Iraqs biggest trading partner worldwide."

(Message edited by browncow on April 10, 2003)


Letters to the Editor

UPS/FedEx Objections to Cash-Rich Monopoly

In response to your April 8 editorial "Patriot Games" about UPS and FedEx opposing the current attempt by Deutsche Post, the German government postal monopoly, to acquire (through its subsidiary DHL) certain assets of Airborne.

UPS's concern with Deutsche Post is not that it is German, but that it is state-owned, and it uses government subsidies to compete unfairly in the private sector. In 2001 and 2002, the European Commission, in two lengthy investigations, concluded that the Deutsche Post competes unfairly, using "funds it received from the state . . . to finance an aggressive pricing policy intended to undercut private rivals in the parcel sector. . . ."

Additionally, there is good reason to believe that this giant, cash-rich monopoly has used and continues to use government resources to extend the reach of its unfair competition by paying more than $8 billion for companies that compete in the private sector. In the words of one industry analyst, "Arguably, it has overpaid for some transactions . . . it did so at a time when its cost of capital was particularly low because it was state-owned." The proposed Airborne acquisition continues this abuse. Another analyst points out that Deutsche Post would pay around $1 billion for Airborne's ground operation, while Airborne's "enterprise value" (including its ground and air operations) totals only about $900 million.

Long before the war in Iraq, UPS challenged the unfair competitive practices of Deutsche Post. More recently, UPS and FedEx challenged the citizenship of Deutsche Post-owned DHL Airways since 2001 by petitioning the Department of Transportation to open the process by which it determines U.S. citizenship of an airline. We believe, and the recent DOT Inspector General's report agrees, that notwithstanding DHL's complex ownership and operating structure, serious questions about its true citizenship need to be further explored and that greater transparency in the DOT's decision-making process should be applied.

David A. Bolger
UPS Public Affairs


Ahh yes, those lovely wonderful French with their beautiful capital city. And of course, their opposition to war in Iraq was just a natural expression of their high morals, and had nothing to do with the fact that they were one of Saddam's biggest arms suppliers:>:(field(DOCID+iq0099)
Their biggest competitor in helping to keep Saddam's brutal dictatorship in power and supplied with the latest weaponry was none other that paragon of international decency, the Soviet Union:>:(field(DOCID+iq0098)