TIME FOR CHIRAC TO PUNT:
President Bush punctured many balloons tonight in his press conference- French pretensions to being a diplomatic superpower; the decade-long campaign by the intellectual Left to create new international law to govern the use of American military power; the pretense that the members of the Security Council give a rusty damn whether Saddam actually has weaponized anthrax, VX gas or plutonium. Amidst all the posturing Bush said essentially," this is what America will do, tell the rest of the world where you stand ".
Chirac faces a painful choice. To use the French veto is to cross the rubicon and create a fundamental rift in relations with the United States for a generation. The reaction of the Bush administration to a Security Council veto by France would go far beyond cutting the French out of their Iraqi oil concession -the U.S. would begin to more actively involve itself in EU affairs to the detriment of Paris and Berlin. The United States would begin engaging in economic and diplomatic agreements with the states of " New Europe " in earnest and push hard against French interests in Africa, NATO and in international bodies. Russia and China could very well abstain on the next Iraq vote at the last minute, leaving France as the sole target of American wrath.
Chirac made his bed when he put France in the role of Saddam's accomplice in proliferation, lets see how he enjoys lying in it when nations are forced to vote their interests rather than their rhetoric.