Collin May at Innocents Abroad has begun what promises to be a fascinating series on the decline of France as understood by the French themselves: France Falling - According to the French (link to blog; permalink dysfunctional). Here's his summary of the current situation:
French thinkers, from a variety of backgrounds and persuasions, have begun a discussion, not so much about American imperialism or the situation in Iraq, but about the state of the French soul. From across the political spectrum – liberals, conservatives, Trotskyites, communists, socialists and the far-right – the argument is being made that in all domains, France is collapsing. Economically stagnant, socially divided, politically paralyzed, militarily enfeebled and diplomatically isolated – this, according to numerous French thinkers, is the plight of contemporary France. Some have gone so far as to suggest that France is turning into something of a democratic pariah among advanced western democracies.
He intends to focus each week on a different notable French author, and finally to provide some of his own reflections.
I've been looking forward to May's further work on such themes since his "Europe, Anti-Europe" post last April, which provides a useful background for those trying to understand how European anti-Americanism functions and what purposes it serves.