Tuesday, November 16, 2004
I remember there being a little bit of buzz (squeezed in with all the mandate talk) of how "old Europe" would have to strike a more conciliatory posture following Bush's reelection. Basically, the argument was, that the "old Europeans" were hoping Kerry was elected so that they could come back into the American fold, but that since Bush was elected they couldn't afford another four years without that good American loving and would have to come back like children, sullen but having spent all their energy with their little Iraq tantrum last year. Well, given the latest statements from Jacques Chirac about Tony Blair and the US, that doesn't seem to have been completely the case.
"I'm not sure, the US being what it is today, whether it is possible for anyone, even the British, to play the role of the friendly go-between," [Chirac] said.Hmm... maybe Chirac is just using one of those, what's it called, exagger-AY-shuns. Of course, I'm sure as soon as Condi is installed as Secretary of State she'll be able to fly over there, pull in the reigns, and make sure none of this is an issue. Right?
The French president's words came in direct contradiction to Tony Blair, who insisted last night that Europe needed to work with America and could help shape its policies. Mr Blair used a keynote speech in the Guildhall in London to warn Europe to stop "ridiculing American arguments and parodying their political leadership" and to concentrate on persuading Washington that "terrorism won't be beaten by toughness alone".
But Mr Chirac said Britain's special relationship with the US had brought few dividends. "When the divergence of views between France and Britain was at its height, when the English wanted to follow the Americans and we didn't ... I said to Tony Blair, your position should at least serve another purpose," Mr Chirac said.
"You should obtain in exchange for it a new start for the peace process in the Middle East. Because that is vital. Well, Britain gave its support (on Iraq) - but I have not been impressed by the payback."