For France, Iraq is not the issue

Charles Krauthammer explains what France is really up to in the debate about Iraq. For France, the issue is not Iraq. To be sure, France has contracts and loans that it wishes to protect. But, as Krauthammer explains, “the lengths to which France has gone to oppose the United States show that the stakes are much higher. France is reaching to become not only the leading power in Europe. but also the leader of a new pole of world power opposite the American “hyper-power.”
But why is France seeking this role? Recalling the shenanigans of Charles De Gaulle during the cold war, Krauthammer sees Chirac’s actions as typical French posturing. David Ignatius of the Washington Post takes the analysis a bit further, explaining that “France still has the ambitions and assertiveness of Napoleon. But it lacks the military or political power to express that national will independently and positively.” It is reduced, therefore, to vindicating its national glory by attempting to negate the military and political power of the United States. The alternative, it fears, is to become marginalized to the point where, in Ignatius’ words, it is nothing more than “a Disneyland for adults.”