In contrast to the Russians teasing us with their veto, apparently the French are pretending to be surprised and hurt that we thought they might use theirs:
PARIS - Leading lawmakers from President Jacques Chirac's party have begun speaking out about the damage France's anti-war stance is having on relations with the United States and the future of the United Nations.Huh? Isn't that exactly what they've been doing?
Herve de Charette, a former foreign minister and lawmaker with the ruling party, was the latest to add his voice to a string of warnings about the consequences of any French veto in the Security Council.
Mr. de Charette said he believes war on Iraq is inevitable and told LCI television that any veto of a U.S.-backed resolution seeking authorization for war "is a decision that has great ramifications, of great gravity."
He noted that France, one of five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, has not used one against the United States since the crisis over the Suez Canal in 1956.
The ruling party's president, Alain Juppe; its parliamentary head, Jacques Barrot; and Edouard Balladur, the head of parliament's foreign affairs commission, also have all said that a veto risks a breakdown in relations with the United States and some European countries.
France has "avoided committing a mistake, which some are pushing for, that would have left it isolated: wrongly brandishing its right of veto," Mr. Juppe said during a debate on the Iraq crisis in parliament Wednesday.
"A veto is unimaginable," Claude Goasguen, another ruling party lawmaker, told the daily Le Monde in yesterday's edition. "We are not going to break the United Nations and Europe just to save a tyrant," he said, referring to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.I believe this might be the part of the dance we call "damage control". And since I don't believe for a moment they actually believe what they're saying, I'm torn between disgust and amusement.