Steven Den Beste says that France may be reading the writing on the wall and switching sides vis-a-vis Iraq.
For Paris to now suck up, and say, "Shucks, we was just fooling around; actually, deep down, we were always on your side. Let’s let by-gones be by-gones, OK? Friends again?" is the height of cynical hypocrisy.
But since cynical hypocrisy has been the hallmark of French foreign policy for the entire duration of the Fifth Republic, that’s exactly what I expect. But it isn’t going to work the way they think it will.
Den Beste then explains that Bush isn’t going to allow French troops to participate in any Iraqi operations, nor will we honor French oil contracts in a post-Saddam Iraq.
I have a feeling his analysis is correct – we’re not going to let the French weasel out of this one so easily. The French decided to stake their foreign policy on obstructing the US, and now that Germany is being punished for that stance, the French are backpedaling as quickly as they can. What they fail to realize is that it’s not solely about Iraq. The real problem with the governments of France and Germany is a sense of elitism, a failure to understand basic economics, and a desire to play top dog in the EU. Neither Chirac nor Schroeder were particularly popular when elected – they had the sole advantage of being placed up against two very reactionary politicians with narrow anti-immigration agendas. That did not give them any strong mandate, and despite the big show at Versailles last month, it is clear that hopes for a Franco-German dominated EU are quickly falling apart.