February 24, 2003

How Nasty Could it Get?

How Nasty Could it Get?

Zeev Schiff writing in Haaretz reports that the U.S. presented additional sensitive intelligence information to the French regarding Iraq's WMD capability. According to Schiff, the French were unimpressed (seemingly locked into a beef-up-the-inspections-position and not willing to be swayed).

Is Washington considering other pressure tactics?

"While the demonstrations and activities designed to foment hatred for the U.S. continued in public, behind the scenes the Americans took off the gloves. They decided to go back to the Security Council with the aim of getting a resolution passed that will enable them to use force against the Iraqis. It has been learned that in order to forestall a French veto, the Americans have warned Paris that their reaction to a veto will include rules and regulations that will be aimed against the French economy and the economic relations between the two countries. A similar American threat worked against the Japanese in the past."

Schiff's source was probably exagerrating U.S. economic threats in case of a French veto. But the mood is getting so poisonous a la Schroder, who knows? It bears noting that individuals like Richard Perle are increasingly reserving their special scorn for the French rather than the Germans. Sanctions on Brie and Burgundy? Doubtful, but one smells a turn towards nastier diplomatic brinksmanship may be in the offing regardless.

Posted by Gregory at February 24, 2003 07:02 PM
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