15 DECEMBER 2012


Once upon a time, Michel Rocard was the Great White Hope of every Francophone liberal. Casually elegant and intellectually eloquent, the Socialist leader had competed in popularity with President Francois Mitterrand way ahead of other similarly youthful emerging politicians.

Actually, he did become Prime Minister.

Then, unlike other politicians of his generation, like Bernard Kushner and Laurent Fabius, he somehow rode into the sunset, hardly heard or seen except in obscure social columns.

When some of his old admirers heard of a December visit to United Nations Headquarters in New York, they looked forward to some refreshing venture or at least an inspiring posture. It turned out that former Prime Minister Rocard met the U.N. Secretary General merely as "Ambassador in charge of International Negotiations on the Polar Region-Arctic and Antarctic!"

What a disappointing downturn.

Why would such a once towering figure slide on such thin ice?

Why would someone who once inspired a whole generation of French youth and Francophone intellectuals end up plodding his way into an almost deserted U.N. compound on a cloudy cold December day to claim such an almost farcical title?

Is it Diplomatic Privileges? If so is it worth it? Especially for a once proclaimed Socialist?

Is it an urge for a limelight, however fading? Is it a revived ego trip?

Or is it merely life and the way we are easily tempted?

Whatever it is, as the French would say: "Ca n'est pas serieux."

Francois Hollande, France's first Socialist President in decades, must be smiling in the corridors. He had all those Party leadership stalwarts like Fabius and Aubrey file behind him; now he has Rocard line behind THEM in search for a fictitious title.

Special Envoy to the Polar regions of Arctic and Antarctic?

What a farce! .