We all know that Chirac's name is mud to American conservatives. American liberals are more circumspect, tending to see in the man's classic Gaullist policy of screwing around with America, coincidentally or not, advocacy of a more "responsible", U.N.-oriented style of foreign policy. As for me, I think Chirac was wrong on Iraq, but on the other hand, as of 2006, I'm starting to think we're spending too much money on it. Too much free money. We ought to have arranged for long-term loans to Iraq in lieu of largesse. And the war itself is draining our coffers.
But from the standpoint of his own supporters, isn't Chirac a disappointment of sorts? He's lost the fight over the EU constitution; he's had skirmishes with Blair and others that leave the EU looking all the worse for wear; he's had internal strife on his watch; and France's economy is not exactly the engine that moves the world.
Is de Villepin raring to show up his erstwhile mentor, eager to show that he can out-Chirac Chirac? Or is Chirac such damaged goods that no one wants to be associated with him anymore?
Your thoughts would be appreciated. Vive la difference!
[Edited 2006-01-06 07:22:20]