Tuesday, November 16, 2004

In a Reuter's article yesterday, Jacques Chirac again opined on how inconsequential he is in world affairs. Noting that the Yanks did not revive the Pastestinian-Israeli peace process as a result of Brits' support for the invasion of Iraq, what does Chirac mean to tell us? According to the report:
Chirac said he had urged Britain before the invasion to press President Bush to revive the Middle East peace process in return for London's support.

"Well, Britain gave its support but I did not see much in return," Chirac was quoted as saying in the Times. "I am not sure that it is in the nature of our American friends at the moment to return favors systematically." ...

"Chirac, who will hold talks with Blair when he makes a state visit to Britain on Thursday, recalled a Franco-British summit last year when he asked his British counterpart to try to influence U.S. policy on the Middle East.

"I said then to Tony Blair: 'We have different positions on Iraq. Your position should at least have some use'. That is to try to obtain in exchange a relaunch of the peace process in the Middle East."
Chirac seems to be saying Yank intransigence is the problem. It is not clear, however, if Chirac sees the crux of the problem being that A) the Yanks don't believe in bartering when it comes to national security, or B) the Yanks are not susceptable to blackmail.

But wait. There is another possibility. Chirac goes on to say:
Chirac questioned whether Britain could act as a bridge between the United States and Europe to help heal the rift that developed over the Iraq war. France and Germany were among the most vocal opponents of U.S. military action to oust former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

"I am not sure with America as it is these days that it would be easy for someone, even the British, to be an honest broker," Chirac was quoted as saying in the Times.
Could it be that Chirac is suggesting the Brits did not act as an honest broker between France Chirac and the US? In what way? Not being successful? No, that does not make sense. Not holding out, even if to the detriment of US efforts against Saddam; maybe, the Brits did not even push it as a trade, much less a 'take it or leave it' trade, as it appears Chirac wanted. That might be a good reading of his use of 'honest' broker. It could reasonably be understood that the Brits didn't do what Chirac wanted and, therefore, the Brits weren't 'honest'. I suppose it isn't easy for those with influence to pull a 'Chirac', when it comes to trading on policy issues.

Note, for the record, that Chirac needed a broker - someone, anyone to intercede with the US on behalf of France's Chirac's desired policy. (Never mind that Chirac went to Britain in search of a poodle and found that Britain is not a poodle for anyone.) France also hides behind the 'European' mantle of unity, conveniently obscuring the "European' support for the US position in dealing with Saddam's Iraq. (Is that something like pretending you are a poodle dogpound?)

Chirac alternates between frantic and spiteful that his preferences for the direction in which world events are managed have been so marginalized. This current spiteful spouting, masquerading as artful diplomatic position analysis, should be seen for what it is - foreboding by Chirac that, with Bush having been re-elected, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process may likely be resolved without France's involvement but not without Chirac's obstruction.

Not to be spiteful in return ... aw heck, why not. Here's hoping the P-I treaty is not even be translated into French.


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