NOW MY TAKE ON FRANCE:
I agree with the Jane’s analysis but would go much farther. French hostlity to American interests did not arise out of thin air as a result of George W. Bush’s election or limited solely to Iraq. It was present in the 1990’s during the allegedlly golden years of the Clinton administration when American policy makers were wise enough to follow the nuanced sophistication of the Europeans into such disasters as Bosnia. The French have pushed against American interests over trade, harmonization of tax policies, easing sanctions against Iraq, the Kyoto standards, Rwanda, PA support for terrorism, contributions to NATO expenditure and a range of other issues. French opposition in other words is strategic, not transitory. Even if Chirac dropped dead of a heart attack tomorrow his successors, right or left, would continue in much the same vein.
France is pursuing a strategy of becoming a leveraged great power via the EU whose governmental machinery it dominates with German support and by becoming the leader of an adversarial bloc of “ Have-not” nations in the world resentful of American power. This is a result of the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR which freed France of any real need for American military protection and not as a result of the policy of any particular administration in Washington. So important is this goal of acquiring “Leveraged Leadership” for French elites, not merely Chirac, that Paris has been willing to put at risk its alliance with Britain, the United States and Turkey, offend all of the EU candidate member states and seriously divide both NATO and the EU. The reason that France and not potentially more powerful states like China and Russia is the putative leader of this adversarial entente is because France trades on her status as a major American ally in the process.
Therefore the United States needs to put aside romantic nostalgia of yesterday’s ally and treat France as the opponent that it chooses to be – a diplomatic organizer of forces hostile to vital American interests. Costs need to be imposed for such behavior on Paris and not – as was done when DeGaulle pulled out of NATO’s military structure – be passively tolerated by the United States through clenched smiles. Likewise, friends who help the United States need to be rewarded and not treated on par with those who kick Uncle Sam in the shins during a time of trouble.