August 30, 2002

LOOKS LIKE THE ADMINISTRATION’S DIPLOMATIC STRATEGY is bearing fruit.

The new center-right French government has decided to stop criticizing American war planning against Saddam Hussein and instead maximize its leverage with the United States by stressing areas of agreement, according to senior French officials.

Under the previous center-left government, French-American relations were often poisonous, characterized by repeated spats over issues ranging from perceived American unilateralism to policy in the Middle East. . . .

The move may also help protect France’s national interests in Iraq, including its oil trade, should the United States wage war and win, the officials said.

This sounds as if we’ve convinced them that we’re going to do it, and they’re convinced that we’ll win, and relatively quickly.