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June 28, 2004

CHIRAC LOSES IT IN ISTANBUL, playing right into Bush's hands by isolating himself from both Turkey and Britain. Perhaps the Bush folks decided to capitalize on reports like this one:

But the increasingly volatile Chirac is in no mood for pandering to the British.

'He's tetchy, unhappy, doesn't quite know which way to go - his officials are all frightened of him and nobody's giving him any advice,' says one Foreign Office source.

Interesting development, anyway. It certainly doesn't sound as if he's brimming with delight over the results of his past two years of politicking and diplomacy. But then, as the story says (first link) "Mr Chirac's outburst reflects the unresolved tensions over Iraq and France's declining influence in the EU and Nato. " Ouch.

UPDATE: Reader Nathan Machula emails:

Another Chirac quote from the article:

"He has nothing to say on this subject. It is as if I were to tell the United States how it should conduct its relations with Mexico."

...or it's as if Chirac were to tell the US how it should conduct its relations with Iraq.

Ouch, again.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Bush is hanging tough: "In remarks prepared for delivery at a Istanbul university, Bush refused to back down in the face of Chirac's criticism on Monday that Bush had no business urging the EU to set a date for Turkey to start entry talks into the union."

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Yet another diplomatic success for the Bush Administration: "Schroeder Says Germany and France Plan to Back Turkey's EU Bid." A bit of, er, weasel-room if you read the whole story, but clearly a defeat for Chirac any way you look at it. Heh.