From “The Iraqi Endgame”
As to American power, Mr Chirac has won glowing reviews as the man who is doing a fair job of taking the superpower down a peg or two. France would not be France if its president did not occasionally try to puncture the grandiosity of an America accused as ever of taking the acquiescence of smaller nations for granted. But what if, now that he has picked this particular fight, Mr Chirac proceeds to lose it?As Glenn Reynolds would say: “Indeed”
This could now happen in very short order. America and Britain have given themselves only a couple of weeks to pass their new resolution. Should they fail—either because they cannot muster a majority or because another of the permanent five casts a veto—Mr Bush will almost certainly feel compelled to fulfil his promise to go to war anyway. If the war goes badly, bringing disaster all round, Mr Chirac will be able to claim a barren sort of vindication. But if it goes even half-way towards achieving Mr Bush's vision of a democratic future for the Middle East (see article), France will have absented itself from a history-changing intervention in a part of the world where it has long claimed a special influence. It will also have demonstrated the impotence of the Security Council, the very institution from which the French (and British) derive so much standing by virtue of being veto-wielding members.