THE QUESTION

Does it matter who the next French president is, or is France doomed to decline?

Posted by Fareed Zakaria & David Ignatius on April 23, 2007 10:21 AM

FROM THE PANEL

Miriam Leitao is a reporter and columnist for O Globo and Radio CBN in Brazil. She is also a commentator on Globo TV Network and runs her own blog, www.miriamleitao.com, hosted at Globo online at www.oglobo.com.br. She was awarded Columbia University’s Maria Moors Cabot Prize in 2005.

New Energy at the Ballot Box

France is showing strong commitment to the democratic process, and that process is bearing fruit. This first round of voting has been characterized by many novelties, including high voter turnout and two winners from a new generation of politicians.

Posted by Miriam Leitao Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | 4 COMMENTS
Apr 25, 2007 at 9:52 AM
Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff is a Senior Director at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a transatlantic public policy and grant-making foundation. He overseas the fund's policy programs. He was previously the Washington bureau chief of the German newsweekly, Die Zeit.

Leadership Matters

Of course it matters how and by whom a country is led. Nothing is predetermined, in France no more than in the U.S. Chirac has played the French game in Europe poorly -- as Bush has throughout the world. But does anybody believe America cannot recover?

Posted by Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff Germany | 30 COMMENTS
Apr 24, 2007 at 8:03 AM
Dr. Ali Ettefagh serves as a director of Highmore Global Corporation, an investment company in emerging markets of Eastern Europe, CIS, and the Middle East. He is the co-author of several books on trade conflict, resolution of international trade disputes, conflicts in letters of credit, trade-related banking transactions, sovereign debt, arbitration and dispute resolutions and publications specific to the oil and gas, communication, aviation and finance sectors. Dr. Ettefagh is a member of the executive committee and the board of directors of The Development Foundation, an advisor to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and an advisor to a number of European companies. Dr. Ettefagh speaks Persian (Farsi), English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Turkish.

It's Cyclical, France Will Be Back

France's society and demographic fabric have been changing. This year's elections already show increased voter turnout from first-time voters -- minority and immigrant communities. France may be at the end of a cyclical decline, ready to move into a new era.

Posted by Ali Ettefagh Tehran, Iran | 40 COMMENTS
Apr 23, 2007 at 11:55 AM
Bill Emmott is the former editor of The Economist magazine, a leading international current affairs publication from England. He is now an independent writer, speaker, and consultant on international affairs.

Not Decline, But Rupture with the Past

The moment when people start saying that a country is “doomed to decline” is generally a good time to buy its stock. France suffers from a paralysis common to many mature developed countries, but its population may be ready to elect and outsider with the power to change that.

Posted by Bill Emmott Great Britain | 32 COMMENTS
Apr 23, 2007 at 10:48 AM
Mikio Ikuma is the Deputy International Editor of Yomiuiri Shimbun in Japan.

French Kids Are Coming

The Anglo-Saxon market economy is widely regarded as superior to other economic models, including the French, in many ways. But the French system has succeeded in the single most important realm: producing future generations.

Posted by Mikio Ikuma Japan | 20 COMMENTS
Apr 23, 2007 at 10:36 AM
Miklós Vámos is a Hungarian novelist, screenwriter and talk show host. He is one of the most read and respected writers in his native Hungary. He has taught at Yale University on a Fulbright fellowship, served as The Nation’s East European correspondent, worked as consultant on the Oscar-winning film Mephisto, and presented Hungary’s most-watched cultural television show. Vámos has received numerous awards for his plays, screenplays, novels and short stories, including the Hungarian Merit Award for lifetime achievement. The Book of Fathers is considered his most accomplished novel and has sold 200,000 copies in Hungary.

Elect a Woman President

It always matters (a bit) who the elected politicians are, as they have the power to shape the future of any country. But they are limited in what they can do by short terms in office -- and in the end, show me one country that isn't doomed.

Posted by Miklos Vamos Budapest, Hungary | 3 COMMENTS
Apr 23, 2007 at 10:32 AM

READER RESPONSE

» Fleur de Lys, Canada | What a question! How about: "Does it matter who the next US president is, or is the US doomed to decline?", as a reality check?... France is a wonder...
» D. Hodara | It is indeed very important that the new president be Nicolas Sarkosy, because the programme he presented contains a number of items to correct numero...
» anon. in oxon hill | This is a loaded question--'doomed to decline'. A much better question is what are the implications of this destiny to fail in the context of the "w...
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PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.