With malice towards few. . .

In this Washington Post op-ed piece, Robert Kagan urges President Bush to resist the temptation to punish erstwhile allies who opposed the war. Kagan is a sensible observer with a good track record, so his comments should be taken seriously. And to the extent that Kagan is advocating general efforts to make amends with Germany, Russia, and Turkey, his argument has merit. However, when it comes to post-war Iraq, I would suggest the following: (1) we cannot do business with France, Kagan admits as much — just as those who attack us militarily must must pay a military price, so must those who attack us diplomatically pay a diplomatic price, (2) to cut France out of Iraq, we must deny influence to those institutions in which France plays a major role, such as the U.N. and the EU, and that means effectively cutting out Germany and Russia too, and (3) quite apart from any temptation to punish France, the countries that Kagan wants us to placate, and the institutions through which these countries exert influence, do not share our goals and our vision with respect to Iraq, which makes it imperative that they have no meaningful say in how matters proceed there, so that the full benefits made possible by the sacrifice of American blood are realized.

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