When it comes to energy use, Americans should be more like the French — so says an article in today’s New York Times. The author believes France was incredibly wise to impose huge taxes on gas. (The tax on a gallon of gas in France is about $3.75 — think of that the next time you fill up your tank.) But that’s not what really irritated me about the article. What really irritated me was a line in the third paragraph about France’s “perceived diplomatic obstructionism,” with respect to Iraq. Perceived? What exactly must the French government do for the perception of obstructionism to become a reality in the eyes of NYT writers and editors? Just last week, the French prime minister declared: “The Iraqi insurgents are our best allies.” My perceptions tell me that this is not the rhetoric of a friend.