Whoever follows in President Jacques Chirac's footsteps, he or she will undoubtably be a relative foreign policy novice. To account for the lack of experience and lack of attention on foreign policy in this campaign, The New York Times has a great overview of how Royal or Sarkozy might behave on the world stage, and their rough and tumble experiences so far.
Actually the most interesting part of the article was the comments that have come from US leaders. According to one unnamed senior White House official, Sarkozy's September 2006 visit to President Bush made quite the impression.
"What struck everybody is how strong a person he is and how strong a leader he could be. He was rather impressive, to tell you the truth."
Sarkozy even collected support from left-wing Senator Barack Obama, who said:
“I shouldn’t be predicting French elections, but I know that he has a good opportunity to lead France in the future.”
Forgive me for not accepting Obama's laissez-faire approach. Finally, (I know I'm ignoring the important stuff) the article sums up Sarkozy's and Royal's English language skills in comparison to Chirac's fluency.
The English-language skills of Ms. Royal, who was an au pair in Ireland in the summer of 1971, are rough. A short news clip of undetermined date and origin circulating on YouTube has her saying, in part, “Or with this government, investment in research has decreasing a lot, and that’s bad. I can see, as the presidency of the region, that we need money to invest in research and environment.”
As for Mr. Sarkozy’s English, it is more mind over matter. As he told New York City Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta during a visit last September: “I run. This morning. In Central Park. With T-shirt firefighters.”
Technorati tags: Ségolène Royal, Segolene Royal, Nicolas Sarkozy, Le Pen, Bayrou, UMP, PS, politics, politique, présidentielle, actualité, news, France