Jacques Chirac, in the last week of October, called off the Anglo-French summit scheduled for December after angrily accusing British Prime Minister Tony Blair of speaking to him with extraordinary insolence over the future of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Africa. The French president told Mr. Blair, “You have been very rude, and I have never been spoken to like this before!” on October 25 at the E.U. enlargement summit in Brussels.
Indignant at a complicated $30-billion E.U. farm-subsidy deal made behind his back by France and Germany, Mr. Blair had bluntly told M. Chirac that he wanted to keep E.U. markets closed to developing countries and to block a new round of World Trade Organization talks. He argued that the West should open the developed markets of Europe, which would require an end to production subsidies.
Mr. Blair’s dabbling in such francophile pursuits as frequenting bistros, drink-ing wine, and eating brie notwithstanding, it seems that he wants to follow in the footsteps of his more illustrious predecessors by subscribing to the Churchillian-Thatcherite dictum “Love America, bash France.” He often goes over-board—so much so that, as Simon Jenkins put it in the Times of London, “If Genghis Khan were in the White House Mr. Blair would be praising his leadership qualities.”
Why did he do it? ...