United Nations

Nations Unies

agreement, conciliate
big, bureaucracy, pretty
bureaucracy, powerless
cooperative, joint effort
diplomats, control
figurehead, puppet
Governing body, peace keepers
justice, peace, ineffective
Kofi Annan, AIDS, world
Manhattan, Kofi Anan, council
New York City, Empire State Building, international postage
peace, justice
peace,World War II
social justice, manipulated
unity, cooperation, interdependence
unity, mediation, peace
weak, useless, anti-democratic
World, Peace
worldly, political, problem solving, diplomatic

capitalisme, vietnam, cow-boy, kkk,
concept, beauté, réunion, utopie
ensemble, union, entraide, inegalités
lien entre plusieurs peuples, hypocrite
mondialisation, Globalia, armée
médiation, peu ou plus convaincante et efficace
ONU, Travail, ensemble, aide
organisation, réunions
paix, monde, guerre, désaccords
rien ,
secretaire bleu
volonté, espoir, faiblesse, domination, ONU


UN comparison

Perhaps because the United Nations Headquarters is located in New York, USA, the Americans have a stronger familiarity with its specifics, and thus associate proper nouns such as "Kofi Annan", "Manhattan", and "New York". The French use no such specific terms. Is there general knowledge in France as to where the UN is located? Another surprinsing observation is that the French typically associate more negative words with the UN than the Americans do. I find this ironic, due to the recent disregard for UN policies on behalf of the US, regarding the conflict in Iraq. In France, do most people have disdain for the UN because it lacks credibility? In the US, any dislike for the UN generally stems from its overly passive demeanor.

The UN in a negative light

Overall, I found the American and French responses to this phrase to be very similar. There were negative words thrown around on both sides, a circumstance that I imagine has stemmed from recent US activity. Positive terms, along the lines of 'cooperation' and 'diplomacy,' were frequent on both sides as well, giving the impression that the UN is generally thought of as having an idealistic goal that has become unattainable, causing the organization to be perceived as 'ineffective' and 'weak.' I don't think the French had an obviously more negative view of the UN, but I would like to know how French people think of it. Even if we both agree that the UN has lost some of its clout, and criticize it for its "faiblesse," there have to be subtle differences in how we view it.

One possibility

Perhaps one difference is that most Americans dislike the UN because they feel it is week and ineffective. They feel that it does not stop people like Saddam for instance and instead it tries to stop America from helping the Iraqis. Indeed, they feel that the UN is an undemocratic tool used by 'Old Europe', Russia, China, and Middle Eastern countries to further their own domestic agendas while not trying to solve and help the problems of the rest of the countries. They feel it is undemocratic because most of the countries therein have no government even resembling democracy. On the other hand, the French may see the UN as a tool of the US to further its own superpower dominating agenda and as a source of legimaticy for it.

There is a big difference

It would be good to hear from the French side, but I think that although there are negative words on both sides, it's apparently for very different reasons.
I didn't see "capitalism" or "globalization" on the MIT side, and "weakness" appears only once on the French side. The French seem to criticize the UN for what it does, and the Americans for what it doesn't do.