Belmont Club has an excellent appraisal of Chirac’s position,
France and its allies must convert every campaign against terrorists into a diplomatic demarche because such solutions are the only ones available to them, absent a credible military capability. If American power consists of “hard” and “soft” components, France’s claim to great nation status relies almost entirely on its membership in “soft” institutions of diplomacy which compels it to torture problems into these venues even when confronted by situations like providing security in the lofty Central Asian mountains. Yet far from welcoming an effort to provide Europe with a nascent expeditionary capability, Chirac may misgive it. For if once the NRF [NATO Response Force], with an eventual projected size at divisional strength exists, it may be used by a America to suck Europe into overseas commitments. After all, the only sure way to avoid drawing a sword is to cast it away.. . .
The question will be whether Europe is prepared to accept the cost and inconvenience as part of the price of meeting the terrorist threat. . . The real major fronts on the War on Terror are generational problems: nuclear containment, homeland security, dealing with failed states, combating terrorist organizations and their state sponsors and providing maritime security. In Afghanistan, France has basically told America to go it alone. As Chirac said, “We are friends and allies but we are not servants.” Perhaps France will help in the Straits of Malacca.
As long as Jacques’s top cat, I’m not holding my breath. Already the Brits know that President Chirac has become impossible to work with