Who in their right mind actually considers France an ally? French president Jacques Chirac gave an interview to the media yesterday that indicates he is opposed to sanctions against Iran, repudiating the earlier French backing of a tough stance.
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 18 — In a potential break with the Bush administration, French President Jacques Chirac said Monday that he is "never in favor of sanctions" and suggested that the United States and other nations could begin talks with Iran on its nuclear program before Iran formally suspends its nuclear activities.
Chirac's remarks came as President Bush prepared to address the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, part of an intensifying U.S. drive to secure international sanctions against Iran. The French president, in a 45-minute interview on European radio, appeared to upend that diplomatic drive and signaled a widening breach on Iran between the United States and European partners, reminiscent of the debate over the Iraq invasion four years ago
Perhaps mindful of those tensions, some U.S. officials both publicly and privately played down Chirac's comments, insisting there was little daylight between the U.S. and French positions. But others said that the remarks took them by surprise and that they would seek an explanation from the French at meetings on Tuesday.
In his speech, Bush plans to take a far less aggressive approach to Iran than he did four years ago in arguing for action against Iraq, U.S. officials said, casting the debate over Iran as part of a noble effort to bring democracy to the Middle East. The officials said that Iran will not be the major focus of the speech and that Bush also plans to announce he will name a special envoy to spearhead efforts to end the violence in Sudan's Darfur region.
Chirac's comments represented another potential hurdle for Bush, who is coming to the United Nations this week seeking considerable assistance from the world community, including peacekeeping troops for Lebanon, financial aid for the reconstruction of Iraq and political support for his efforts to shut down Iran's nuclear program. At the same time, however, U.S. leverage has been weakened by the ongoing war in Iraq, and diplomats are skeptical that the lofty theme of Bush's speech Tuesday — bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East — will be of much practical significance in swaying countries to Bush's side.
Absolutely the only thing the French can be relied upon for is their ability to perform a volte face on every single issue. Oh, and to backstab. They do that really well, too.
UPDATE: Le Worm. I believe that should be le Ver. Although le Poulet is also fitting.
UPDATE: Bob at Confederate Yankee has cheese eating French troops! Babelfish says "fromage mangeant des singes de reddition". Dunno how correct that is.