Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Tale of Two Embassies

The man to your left, Craig Roberts Stapleton, is one of the most important figures in Franco-American relations. He is currently serving as US Ambassador to France. One would imagine that a major prerequisite for having such a post would be the ability to speak and understand French.

He can't.

Well, OK. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he's got another redeeming talent that earned him this position.


It just so happens that not only did he give the GOP mountains of cash, but he also is related to Dubya.

The immediate past ambassador wasn't much better (although, having been no relation of Dubya's, I'm more inclined to be kinder to him) - Howard Leach. What a descriptive last name! Though he was born in Salinas, California, the setting for so many of John Steinbeck's great novels chronicling the trials and tribulations of the downtrodden, he never looked back. After giving $399,359 to the GOP from 1999 to 2000, he managed to buy himself perhaps the cushiest job in the world. A friend of mine had the opportunity to attend an event in Paris at which Mr. Leach was present. She said he was like a child, nodding and smiling, but saying nothing - because he simply couldn't. What a wonderful face to show to the world.

It's absolutely pathetic that these men who aren't even remotely qualified to hold these positions were given them simply based on the money they were able to contribute (or the family secrets they're using as blackmail...). There are thousands of people in this country who have devoted their lives to the study of foreign languages, and the stiff we have over there can't even buy himself a sandwich at McDo.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Jean-David Levitte, the French Ambassador to the US. Besides being generally better looking and probably in far better health, this man has impressive credentials, including fluency in several Asian languages. I have no doubt that he also speaks English. What a novel idea - an ambassador actually speaking the native language of his post!

What will they think of next?


BeckEye said...

I want to be the Ambassador to Ireland. So, all I have to do is donate a bunch of cash to Dubya? Ok...I need to find a sugar daddy first to bankroll this endeavor so I can becme the Irish ambassador, and then I can drop the sugar daddy for a nice, blue collar Irishman.

Sangroncito said...

Disgusting. But what can one expect from the Bush Regime? If I remember correctly, Bush belittled an American news reporter who asked him a question in English and French (the reporter said he used French so the other people in the room could understand the question).

Fitèna said...

This is really interesting. I always wondered what qualifications or attributes made one a good ambassador. The first logical one is speaking the country's language. Seems like this is not a MUST. I don't think that this problem pertains to the US only. But it is a problem which's existence is a shame on the posting countries.
The french, you can count on to be à cheval where such issues such as culture and a maitrise des choses du pays are concerned!