Prof, I'm Romanian. Nine people out of ten that I've met didn't know Romania existed. Of that remaining person, there is a 75% chance he or she can't even place it on a map. Our language is spoken practically only in our country, and it is one of those tongues that no one takes the time to learn. I am one of those people you're talking about.
Romanian is one of the most unique languages of all, because of its surroundings. The Roman conquest of the Dacians in present-day Romania and its surroundings made Romania one of the five Romance languages, along with Italian, French, Spanish, and Portugese. While Italian is the closest to Latin in sound, Romanian is perhaps the closest to Latin in grammar (this I know from my mom, who knows, in addition to Romanian, English and French fluently, can read and understand Italian, Spanish, German, and Latin). But Romanian is unique because it is surrounded by Slavik countries: Ukraine to the North, Hungary and Yugoslavia to the East, Bulgaria to the South, and we've had an interesting history with the Turks. Mix the beauty and grandeur of Latin with the often gritty sounds of Slavik languages and you have Romanian.
So let me tell you, I would fucking hate it if everyone in Romania had to suddenly speak English.
But the issue in today's world is communication between countries, in an era of multi-national relations, the UN, etc, etc. I can see some arguing there should be one language that all should speak, in addition to their native tongue. I can see some saying that everyone should be versed in the languages of the most prominent countries, English, German, French, Japanese, Chinese, etc.
I can't say which one is the best of the two. Of course it would be easier if there was only one language to learn, such as English, but this would go to the head of an already too proud, too naive country, and obviously it pissed off Chirac. But there aren't many alternatives here. Interpreters only go so far when representatives from practically all the world meet in one room.
So, I, for one, am saying to bite the bullet and learn English, for the sake of practicality (if that's a word). It doesn't mean that individual cultures have to die out. And I know this isn't a great solution, but I don't see many alternatives. If you find one, be sure to let me know.