Saturday, December 2, 2006

Segolene criticizes America, & gets US encouragement

French Socialist Segolene Royal got in a bit of hot water yesterday for agreeing with the comments of a Hezbollah politician. In a meeting of the foreign policy committee of the parliament, Ali Ammar condemned the "unlimited insanity of the American administration," to which Ms. Royal responded "There are a lot of things you have said that I agree with, [including] the analysis of the role of the United States." Apparently someone in her entourage was aware that she had made a sizable error, because later in the session she backtracked:

I am told that what I said earlier could cause confusion, so I will specify the meaning of my thoughts concerning what I said about the Bush administration's intervention in Iraq. I would not want it to be taken for an overall condemnation of the United States' acts. One must not confuse this assessment of things with an overall condemnation of the United States, which is a country of which France is also a friend and with which we have many points in common. I wanted that to be clear.

Her original statement may have been made only in good faith and polite manners, but it stands out during an otherwise well crafted trip. Royal's actions up to this point have only helped boost her lacking foreign policy credibility, but this comment, no matter what it's intent, will be fodder for Sarkozy. Diplomacy, as she will have to learn, is just as much about appearance than fact.

In another part of the Middle East, US Secretary of State Condoleezza RIce gave indirect words of encouragement to Segolene Royal saying to French journalists that "I’m very glad that women are running, and women are winning in many places." She has won high public approval from the American people despite her close connection with George Bush and the Iraq policy, and her name was even floated as a possible presidential candidate in 2008. However, she continues to say that will not run.

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