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What the French Want

CNN asked several Parisians what it is that they want from the 2012 American election:

There are two interesting (and similar) comments. The first is at 0:37. The woman being interviewed responds, "What I want is... America understands that it's a global world." At 0:55, another woman says, "There are a lot of us in this world, it's not just the United States and everyone needs to work together with regards to the economy."

Both women gave good advice. The French should follow it themselves.

It is true that recognizing we live in a global world is very important. But the French government doesn't always act that way. In 2010, the lower house of parliament passed a ban on burqas 335 to 1. Last month, President Sarkozy threatened to pull France out of the passport-free travel agreement known as Schengen due to a disagreement over European immigration policy. (He wants to cut the number of immigrants allowed into France.) And for good measure, he demanded support for the economically protectionist "Buy European Act," which would force EU governments to purchase European products over foreign ones. If Sarkozy doesn't get his way, he has threatened to implement the plan unilaterally.

The French are correct that the U.S. should embrace a globalized world. But the French need to recognize that there is a world beyond the borders of the European Union.