"France . . . would never be the Arkansas of a United Europe"
Arkansas made the international news, belatedly, of course. . . . as in years belatedly!
Tom Buhrow, an evening news anchor for ARD, one of Germany's television networks, reports in "We've Waited Too Long for Europe" (IHT, April 27, 2010) that just prior to the expansion of the European Union, European politicians realized "that deciding by consensus would not work any longer, and a real federation was discussed . . . [b]ut Jacques Chirac, then president of France, said his country would never be the Arkansas of a United Europe" (emphasis mine). Upon being "told that France could be California, he said this too would never happen."
Well, as irony would have it, the California got the Austrians, France got the Maghrebines, Germany got the Ottomans, but Arkansas is still free of occupation, thank God!
But, more seriously, what did Chirac mean? That in a United States of Europe, France would be poor, isolated, uninfluential, and the butt of hillbilly jokes even if Chirac himself were the Euro-President?
I suppose that's all true of Arkansas if not of France, but isolation has its charms, as the above photo reveals . . .