French Connection

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 5, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the “Unresolved Problems" segment tonight, as you know, most of Europe doesn't like the USA very much right now. But British Prime Minister Tony Blair (search) was re-elected today. And he's our friend.

Relations with France (search), however, remain tense, as you know. We are boycotting French products because that country has consistently hurt America in the war on terror. And many of you agree as "Boycott France" bumper stickers have flown out by by the thousands.

But France still doesn't seem to get the message. With us now is Richard Chesnoff (search), author of the new book "The Arrogance of the French: Why They Can't Stand Us and Why the Feeling is Mutual.” Mr. Chesoff maintains a home in France.

All right, what's the headline of the book? What are you going to tell us that we don't already know?

RICHARD CHESNOFF, AUTHOR, THE ARROGANCE OF THE FRENCH: I'm going to tell you that France is not what it used to be and refuses to admit that, and is terribly jealous and envious of the United States. We'll do anything to double deal us on any level.

O'REILLY: Really? It's all driven by envy? Is it?

CHESNOFF: It's like a love-hate relationship and it has the passions of a love-hate relationship. They love lots of things about us. They drink Coca-Cola more than red wine now.

But they dislike our values. They dislike our leadership, and they are envious of the fact that this pipsqueak nation is ahead of them when they're 1,000 years old.

O'REILLY: OK. Now how can a secular nation like France, which makes no judgments about behavior, dislike our values? What values do they — offend them?

CHESNOFF: Well, they have an antiquated concept of American values. Kids in France, university students, will tell you America has no sense of culture. America has no sense of propriety. America has no sense of righteousness, that there's either absolute poverty in this country or a very, very tiny group of people who are extremely wealthy and money driven.

O'REILLY: Are you saying they have a distorted view of life here? They don't know what they're talking about? They're ill-informed?

CHESNOFF: I think they have a very distorted view of life, because education in France is repeat. It's not innovative thinking. And France suffers from a lack of innovative thinking.

O'REILLY: Is there a conscious cabal of educators and press to feed this kind of anti-American propaganda, almost like Cuba? Is it like that? Is it that bad?

CHESNOFF: Absolutely. You'll remember, the degree to which left-wing values were important in France in all the years after the war. And there's a lot of that still left over. And so you have the media, the government, and the professorial level of people telling all of France that America is not worth anything.

O'REILLY: Doesn't the French government understand we're doing their dirty work for them? You know, in terrorism, hunting down al Qaeda (search), removing Saddam (search), although they love Saddam because they were doing so much business with him.

CHESNOFF: They made money with him, right?

O'REILLY: Like that. But don't they understand we're doing their dirty work? That sooner or later al Qaeda and the 10 percent of French Muslims now are going to turn on them?

CHESNOFF: They're very hypocritical about it. At the same time as they are condemning us, they are themselves invading countries in Africa. They're in the Ivory Coast without being invited to, because they want to protect their own interests there.

O'REILLY: So it's an economic driven thing.

CHESNOFF: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: All right. Final question. You have a home. You spend a lot of time in France.


O'REILLY: And they know you're American?


O'REILLY: Do they treat you badly?

CHESNOFF: On an individual basis, I have friends, but I'm considered the American. I'm an outsider. And there are many times when I run into unpleasant people. I write about that in...

O'REILLY: Do they confront you?

CHESNOFF: Yes. They will say, you know, "We like you, but America really is not a very good place. You are — you're arrogant. You are arrogant and you are trying to control the world."

And you try to argue with them and explain to them the type of problems we all face, vis-à-vis terrorism, and they don't get it. They don't understand it.

O'REILLY: They don't want to.

CHESNOFF: They don't want to.

O'REILLY: They don't want to.

CHESNOFF: Absolutely not.

O'REILLY: But France, I've been there many, many times. I think I've been to every province in France. And it's a beautiful place to go.

CHESNOFF: It's marvelous.

O'REILLY: They don't like the Germans, obviously, all right? They don't like the British. Right?

CHESNOFF: Definitely not.

O'REILLY: They don't like the Spanish.

CHESNOFF: Not too much. No.

O'REILLY: Look down on them. Italians, I don't think they care one way or the other, and they don't like us. They don't really like anybody.

CHESNOFF: They don't even like each other. In my village...

O'REILLY: They don't like each other?

CHESNOFF: In my village, they say the worst foreigners come from Paris. So there. That explains the whole situation.

O'REILLY: But still, you live there.

CHESNOFF: I like it. I love the peace and quiet that I can create for myself there. And I write there.

O'REILLY: Yes, it's a totally — outside of Paris it's a totally different lifestyle.

CHESNOFF: Totally different.

O'REILLY: Very interesting book. Mr. Chesnoff, thanks for coming in. We appreciate it very much.

CHESNOFF: Thank you very much.

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