THROUGH A CRASS EYE: Robert Kagan has France’s number:
The debate over Iraq, though, has been a special godsend. Seen through French eyes, the world is suddenly a wonderful place, at least for France: There is the United States, the rogue colossus. There is Tony Blair, America’s poodle. There is Schroeder, impaled — internationally if not domestically — upon his unilateralist, “German way” pacifism. And then there is France, tougher-minded than the Germans, prouder and more independent than the British and, because of its seat on the Security Council, the only modern, civilized power in the world able to tame and civilize the American beast. It is a mission worthy of a great country.
Who would ever want to wake from such a dream? The real world of terrorists, tyrannical aggressors and weapons of mass destruction is a much less accommodating world for France than the legalistic, one-country, one-vote world of the Security Council or the postmodern paradise of the European Union. If the United States ever does invade Iraq, the French must either stand by helplessly or take their place by America’s side, and that is not nearly as enjoyable. It’s more fun to play Don Quixote, tilting at American windmills. And who knows? If France can prolong the game for a few more months, as Powell suggests, Bush’s chance to remove Saddam Hussein will have passed and the Iraqi leader will be safe again. What a triumph that will be for France’s vision of a just international order. What a triumph that will be for France’s vision of a just international order. And then only the American people and all of Iraq’s many neighbors will have to stay awake, waiting for the next catastrophe to strike.
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