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Viewing cable 06PARIS7795, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FRIED'S MEETING WITH JACQUES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06PARIS7795 2006-12-14 13:01 2011-02-10 08:08 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Paris
Appears in these articles:
http://abonnes.lemonde.fr/documents-wikileaks/article/2011/02/09/wikileaks-les-visiteurs-de-l-ambassade_1477418_1446239.htm
VZCZCXRO5939
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHFR #7795/01 3481337
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 141337Z DEC 06 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3792
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 0462
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0578
RUEHC/DEPARTMENT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 PARIS 007795 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

DEPT ALSO FOR EUR/WE, DRL/IL, INR/EUC, EUR/ERA, EUR/PPD, 
AND EB 
DEPT OF COMMERCE FOR ITA 
DEPT OF LABOR FOR ILAB 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2015 
TAGS: PGOV ELAB EUN PINR SOCI ECON PREL FR
SUBJECT: ASSISTANT SECRETARY FRIED'S MEETING WITH JACQUES 
ATTALI 

PARIS 00007795 001.2 OF 003 


Classified By: Ambassador Craig Stapleton for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 

SUMMARY 
------- 

1. (C) Assistant Secretary Fried met with recognized 
intellectual and long-time Segolene Royal confidant Jacques 
Attali on December 6. Attali underlined that Royal, even 
though she is a leading contender for France's presidency in 
next spring's elections, has had very little experience 
making and implementing foreign policy. Attali said that 
Royal's "worldview is still unformed," and that she is riding 
a steep learning curve during her current round of trips 
abroad. Attali repeatedly used the word "amazing" to 
describe what he characterized as Royal's uncanny talent for 
successfully braving her way through the minefields of 
international issues -- he cited her trip this week to 
Lebanon, Israel and Palestinian Authority territory -- and, 
despite near-fatal missteps, and notwithstanding her 
inexperience, emerging unscathed. Attali pointed to Royal's 
visit to Israel earlier this week as an example of how deft, 
attentive handling of her initial, defensive hostility can be 
turned to sympathetic good-will. Attali recommended that the 
U.S. take a cue from the Israelis' success and give Royal 
"red-carpet respect" during her upcoming trip to the U.S. -- 
and replace her unformed, distrustful pre-disposition 
(typical of the French left) with an attitude more inclined 
to listen to and understand U.S. views and policies. 

2. (C) Summary, continued: A/S Fried and Attali agreed that 
"Europe is at a very challenging moment" -- and Attali went 
so far as to say that "expansion has cost Europe its 
identity." A/S Fried and Attali agreed that Turkey's 
decreasing interest in joining Europe, along with Europe's 
"slamming the door" on Turkey were leading "to a strategic 
disaster" that could separate Turkey from the community of 
Western democracies. A/S Fried and Attali also agreed that 
the growing authoritarianism of Putin's rule in Russia was a 
grave setback for the spread of liberal democracy. End 
Summary. 

ATTALI'S SUGGESTION FOR GOAL OF ROYAL VISIT TO U.S. 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 

3. (C) In his meeting at the Embassy with A/S Fried on 
December 6, Jacques Attali characterized Socialist Party 
presidential front-runner Segolene Royal's world-view as 
"still unformed." Attali recalled that he had "known Royal 
for nearly 30 years now" and had been instrumental in 
recruiting her for Mitterrand's staff in 1981, just after 
Mitterrand's election to his first term. Attali also said 
that "about seven years ago I got the idea that Royal could 
become president of France -- I wrote to her about it, and 
she didn't believe me. But later, little by little, she 
began to see the possibility herself." (Note: Though Attali 
has no official position in Royal's campaign organization nor 
in the Socialist Party (PS), we believe he remains one of her 
more influential advisors. End Note) Attali made no effort 
to hide his concern that Royal's lack of experience in 
foreign affairs could lead to a damaging performance on her 
part -- for example, during a hastily planned visit to the 
U.S. when crossed expectations might well "set her off on the 
wrong foot" in connection with her still uninformed views of 
the U.S. But he argued that a deftly handled Royal visit to 
the U.S. could be a key "formative experience" for her, 
central to her development into a leader -- should she become 
president of France -- able to both understand and trust the 
U.S. 

4. (C) Attali underlined that Royal, in her personality and 
her politics, is instinctively combative, and has long, and 
successfully, defined herself by championing the underdog and 
defying the powers-that-be. Attali observed that many people 
in France, particularly those reared politically on the 
French left, congenitally mistrust American capitalism and 
American power, and Royal is not any different. A/S Fried 
and Attali agreed that Royal's experience in the U.S., should 
she visit in the near future, should have the effect of 
defusing this defensiveness, and lay the groundwork for a 
more instinctively sympathetic view of the U.S. Attali held 
out Royal's recent visit to Israel as an example of how to 

PARIS 00007795 002.2 OF 003 


shape successfully her perceptions to long-term advantage. 
According to Attali, Royal arrived in Israel disposed to be 
"pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli," but deft "red-carpet 
respectful" handling by the Israelis -- including a private 
dinner hosted by Foreign Minister Tipi Livni -- clearly 
prompted Royal to question her pre-conceptions. Attali 
suggested that the U.S should use a similar tactic, 
especially given Royal's reflexive reservations about the 
role of American power in general, and the Bush 
administrations' policies in particular. 

"SHE HAS LITTLE EXPERIENCE -- BUT SHE'S LEARNING FAST" 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 

5. (C) Attali underlined that Royal is the most formidable 
political figure in France today -- "if the election were 
held today, she would win, hands-down." (Note: this is a view 
supported by current polls. End Note.) Attali repeatedly 
used the word "amazing" to describe how the force of Royal's 
conviction carries her through -- as often as not with flying 
colors -- despite her inexperience, particularly in 
connection with foreign relations issues. As an example of 
this talent for unflinchingly braving her way through 
anything, Attali pointed to Royal's recent trip to Lebanon, 
and how she emerged unscathed notwithstanding some close 
calls with statements that required considerable 
clarification after the fact. It remained to be seen if this 
teflon quality would carry through the election and beyond, 
but, as Attali also stressed, Royal has persistently proved 
wrong all who have underestimated her. "She's leaning all 
the time, and learning fast," Attali concluded. Attali 
pressed on A/S Fried his view that the U.S. would do well 
pro-actively to take advantage of Royal's current, relative 
"malleability" with regard to her views about the U.S. 

EUROPE 
------ 

6. (C) Attali called EU enlargement "a disaster." He said 
the extension of Europe to 25/27 member states "had cost 
Europe its identity," in addition to making the union 
"unmanageable" and therefore incapable of making any 
meaningful plans for the future. As evidence for this view, 
Attali pointed to the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of the 
Rome treaty next year, and "the way there's nothing on the 
agenda because we can't do anything." Mentioning the German 
presidency of the EU (January - June 2007) Attali 
rhetorically asked, "Do you know when Germany will hold the 
Presidency again?" He then mentioned the next French 
presidency (January - June 2008), and asked the same 
question. The respective answers, 2021 and 2022, in Attali's 
view, speak volumes about why the EU system of governance 
promises to produce paralysis, not leadership. 

TURKEY 
------ 

7. (C) A/S Fried called Turkey's potential separation from 
the community of Western democracies a "strategic disaster 
for all of us." A/S Fried and Attali discussed how growing 
indifference in Turkey towards joining Europe and rejection 
of Turkey's inclusion in Europe among Europeans were 
reinforcing each other, pushing Turkey in the wrong 
direction. Commenting on burgeoning anti-Turkey sentiment in 
European publics, Attali lamented the "shortsightedness of 
Europeans," saying that "short-term political use" of the 
issue could easily scuttle any chance of binding Turkey, 
inseparably, to Europe and democracy. Referring to the role 
the issue of Turkey's membership in the EU is likely to play 
in France's upcoming presidential campaign, Attali identified 
France as "being in the lead" with regard to this 
shortsightedness. 

RUSSIA 
------ 

8. (C) While pointing out that "we'll work with the Russians 
where we can," A/S Fried commented that Putin's growing 
authoritarianism was a grave setback to the spread of liberal 
democracy. He pointed to Vice President Cheney's speech in 
Vilnius last May as a noteworthy example of the U.S. speaking 

PARIS 00007795 003.2 OF 003 


out against Russia's current trending toward de facto 
dictatorship. Attali lamented "the cowardice of the 
Europeans," excoriating them for not standing up to Putin's 
power grab lest the Russians use the "oil and gas weapon." 
Attali compared the rise of revanchist sentiment in Russia 
(over the "unfair" loss of the Cold War) to analogous feeling 
in Weimar Germany over defeat in WWI, adding, "but the 
Russians have oil -- and Hitler didn't." A/S Fried suggested 
a better parallel might be the USSR after America's defeat in 
Vietnam, suggesting that U.S. difficulties in Iraq and with 
Iran were emboldening the Russians. 

9. (U) A/S Fried has cleared this message. 



Please visit Paris' Classified Website at: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm 
STAPLETON