The Telegraph notes that Jacques Chirac went out of his way to antagonize George Bush at the NATO summit yesterday, lashing out in personal terms after hearing that Bush endorsed Turkey’s application to join the EU:
President Jacques Chirac shattered the carefully contrived show of transatlantic amity at the Nato summit yesterday when he made an unprecedented attack on President George W Bush for meddling in the European Union’s business by supporting Turkey’s membership. … yesterday the French president lost any such reserve when he told Mr Bush that EU affairs were none of his business.
Stung by Mr Bush’s call for the EU to give Turkey a firm date for accession, Mr Chirac responded: “He not only went too far but he has gone into a domain which is not his own. He has nothing to say on this subject. It is as if I were to tell the United States how it should conduct its relations with Mexico.”
Pardonnez-nous? Was it not Monsieur Chirac who repeatedly lectured President Bush on how to defend the United States during the war on terror? Has it not been the French, and their German sidekicks, who have obstructed American diplomacy in an effort to keep the Oil-For-Food money flowing from Saddam Hussein? Maintenant, the French President once again wants to instruct heads of state when they should take the opportunity to remain silent. However, I suspect that Bush will make sure that he reminds Chirac that America is not Eastern Europe, and we do not hold French controls on diplomacy in high regard. (For that matter, neither does Eastern Europe, but that’s another story in France’s fantasy of world-power status.)
The Telegraph recounts other examples of Chirac’s gall, demonstrating that if diplomacy between France and its allies seem a bit strained, the only constant in the equation is Chirac himself:
The comments will rank alongside his other recent broadsides: his rebuke to Tony Blair in October 2002, when he called the Prime Minister “very rude”, and his patronising response in February 2003 to eastern European candidate countries that supported America’s policy in Iraq, telling them they had “missed a good chance to keep quiet”.
And yet this is the man that John Kerry wants to placate most of all. He may be the only one who actually can do it; they seem to have the same people skills.