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President Jacques Chiracs høytflyvende stil er ikke uten en viss ufrivillig komikk. Nylig hadde han et møte med fem amerikanske senatorer.

Chirac fremholdt som han pleier at trenger å være multipolar, og at det også er hva den er. I amerikanske ører klinger dette annerledes:

«He still doesn’t like the idea of the unipolar world with the United States as top dog,» Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Delaware Democrat, said in an interview after the meeting.

Frankrike har konsekvent nektet å bli innblandet i Irak: det har påtatt seg å trene 1.500 politifolk utenfor Irak. Det er alt. Frankrike har vært sikre på at USA kom til å mislykkes i Irak. Valget kom som en overraskelse.

On the other hand, he seemed taken aback by the high voter turnout in the election, criticized the Bush administration for disbanding the Iraqi Army and reaffirmed that French soldiers would not set foot in Iraq.

«My read of Chirac, as a plain old politician, is that he was saying, ‘O. K., you did better than we thought you’d do,’ » Mr. Biden said. «I think he was saying: ‘I’m not ready to step in and do the heavy lifting with boots on the ground. But you might make it, so I want to get in on the deal.’ He’s calculating he wants to keep one foot on the platform and one foot on the train because the train might leave.»

Chirac mener hans lange erfaring gir ham unik innsikt i utenrikspolitikk: han vil gjerne dele sine råd med Bush. Ikke alle er sikre på om det er så lurt:

One of the 2_kommentar obstacles to improving the relationship between the Bush administration and the French has been chemistry. Mr. Chirac truly believes that his decades of experience in global politics have made him an expert on just about any place in the world.

At one point in the meeting with the senators, he said he would love to have some private time with Mr. Bush, without any aides present, when the two men dine together in Brussels as part of Mr. Bush’s trip to Europe later this month.

«Several of us said that would be a great idea, to try to start over again,» Senator Patrick J. Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said in an interview after the meeting.

But another participant said perhaps that was not such a good idea, noting that in some of their previous meetings, Mr. Chirac has pointed his finger at Mr. Bush and lectured him on what he does not know.

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