Again, Steyn nails it:
There are many idiotic incoherent leaders in the world, several of them francophone (hint), but Jacques Chirac is not among them. Say what you like about M. le President — call him irresponsible, call him unreliable, throw in shifty, devious, corrupt, and almost absurdly conceited. But he’s not stupid. The issue for the French is very straightforward: What’s in it for us?
The answer to that may vary, but frame the question as a negative and the reply is always the same: What’s not in it for France is that America should emerge with its present pre-eminence even more enhanced. France is in the business of la gloire de la republique, and right now the main obstacle to that is the post-Soviet unipolar geopolitical settlement. They are not temperamentally suited to being anyone’s sidekick: If Tony Blair wants to play Athens to America’s Rome, or Tonto to Bush’s Lone Ranger, or Sandy the dog to Dubya’s Little Orphan Annie, fine. The French aren’t interested in any awards for Best Supporting Actor.
This is not about Saddam. This is not about WMD. This is not about a threat. This is simply about the French exerting what little control they have left. To them, at least.
How do you say spoiled brat in French? Steyn does defend the French, sort of:
The trouble is the cheese-eating surrender paradigm is insufficient. If you want to go monkey fishing, there’s certainly no shortage of Eurowimps: Since the unpleasantness of 60 years ago, the Germans have become as aggressively and obnoxiously pacifist as they once were militarist; they loathe their own armed forces, never mind anybody else’s. But France is one of only five official nuclear powers in the world, a status it takes seriously. When Greenpeace were interfering with French nuclear tests in the Pacific, they blew up the damn boat. Even I, a right-wing detester of the eco-loonies, would balk at killing the buggers.