Fracois Hollande

BEFORE his election last year as French president, François Hollande had no foreign-policy experience. He had never met Barack Obama. And he led a party which invented the term "hyperpower" to deplore American military might. Today Mr Hollande has cast himself as a war leader for the second time in a year, after the French-led military intervention to evict Islamist rebels in Mali in January. He finds his country described as America's "oldest ally" by the American secretary of state, after Britain's parliament rejected military strikes against Syria. And yet his ability to project French military power in this case depends on the outcome of a vote in the American Congress. After bold words, France is finding itself uncomfortably constrained, and politically divided over what to do next.