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President Clinton is facing yet another serious international crisis. A bill working its way through the French legislature would make it a crime to use English words in legal documents and advertising.

Of course, this calls for retaliation.

Granted, English is the mother tongue of that isle across the channel. But we know wherein the impetus for this outrage lies. It's the worldwide influence of the United States that has made English the preferred language of business and diplomacy.

It's American cinema (er, films) and music that have led to charges that the French language is being corrupted.

So, U.S. restaurateurs (er, eating place owners), be prepared to tell the chef (er, cook) to drop a la carte from your menus (er, bills of fare) and pie a la mode from the dessert list. And economists, speak no longer of laissez-faire. Yogi Berra, forget deja vu all over again. Publishers of new magazines, you can be at the forefront of change, but not avant garde. Nor will anyone have carte blanche to do whatever he or she chooses, or be able to excuse social blunders as faux pas.

The French action is very declasse. We must fight this battle until a victory is fait accompli.

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