September 22, 2003


Chirac ducks second UN battle with Bush over Iraq resolution (Anton La Guardia and David Rennie, 23/09/2003, Daily Telegraph)

Jacques Chirac caved in to American power yesterday when he promised not to veto a US-sponsored United Nations resolution on rebuilding Iraq, even if he disagreed with its contents.

The French president, who was instrumental in preventing America and Britain from securing UN authorisation for war, said the US should quickly cede power in Iraq.

But he made clear that he was not ready for another bruising fight with President George W Bush.

"We don't have the intention to oppose," he told The New York Times in an interview published yesterday. "If we oppose it, that would mean voting no, that is to say, using the veto. I am not in that mindset at all."

What? Did Colin Powell speak German to him?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 22, 2003 9:13 PM

Is it posssible that this US/France/UN debate is getting a little too subtle? The French are great at games and the posts of the last twenty-four hours make it clear that nothing is clear or dependable from them. Whatever happened to the principled challenge to the whole UN mindset of a system of international law and multilateral relations devoid of moral underpinnings?

Posted by: Peter B at September 22, 2003 9:24 PM

From a WP article:

...Chirac and Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, however, see nothing to apologize for, said James B. Steinberg, director of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution and deputy national security adviser to President Bill Clinton.

"They are very self-confident about their views of the world," said Steinberg, "and very much in the mode of saying the best way to be a friend to the United States is to be brutally candid about the world and to pull no punches."


Just so long as they realize it goes both ways.

F phrawnce!

Posted by: Sandy P. at September 22, 2003 11:39 PM

But you didn't extract this quote from M. le president:

"M Chirac told The New York Times he would only veto if the US presented a 'provocative' text."

Which could mean anything and everything Chirac decides it means.

Chirac may have burned his bridges; but a politician skilled in subverting the US at every turn (a.k.a the art of international diplomacy) always keeps a spare rope ladder in his pocket.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at September 23, 2003 10:10 AM


All Frenchman keep a rope in their pocket, so they can sell it to the enemy to hang us with.

Posted by: oj at September 23, 2003 11:49 AM

True story: I'm travellign through France to get to the coast so I can take the ferry to Ireland. I was in Europe for junior year abroad in Germany and was good in that language, but had absolutely no French. My companion knew some, but not a lot, and insisted that I always talk with the French for some strange reason.

Anyway, I was at the train station in Strasbourg and we needed to make sure which track our train would be on. I went to the desk and asked politely in travel guide style French if he spoke English. He looked at me with sneering disdain and uttered some phrase. I then asked if he knew German, and said yes, a little. I then yelled at him in German demanding to know which track my train would be on. I never got better service in my life.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at September 23, 2003 1:20 PM