French President Jacques Chirac warned Thursday of a "catastrophe" for global diversity if the United States' cultural hegemony goes unchallenged.Needless to say, once John Kerry has been elected, once Bush has been defeated, France's warnings over the "catastrophe" of a world "choked" by US values will vanish into thin air, there will be no more ranting about "cological catastrophes", the French will once again stand side by side by their American friends, and everything will be alright again…
Speaking at a French cultural centre in Hanoi ahead of Friday's opening of a summit of European and Asian leaders, Chirac said France was right to stand up for cultural and linguistic diversity.
The outspoken French president warned that the world's different cultures could be "choked" by US values.
This, he said, would lead to a "general world sub-culture" based around the English language, which would be "a real ecological catastrophe".
Citing Hollywood's stranglehold over the film industry as an example, Chirac stressed that only with government assistance could countries maintain their cultural heritage.
Vietnam is a former French colony, but only around 375,000 of its 81 million people speak French. English is considered by most people a far more valuable and practical second language, particularly among businessmen.
(Thanks to Gregory Schreiber)