I suppose it’s quite unusual for a German to agree with a headline of the British tabloid “The Sun“. But here I do (I did not bother to read the rest of the article – so if I say headline, I mean headline…). I think President Chirac has clearly sent the wrong message to the world about his motives for military restraint in the ongoing quarrel with Iraq when inviting Robert Mugabe, the Zimbawean dictator, to the Franco-African summit held in Paris this week.
And it’s not just “The Sun”. More important for Mr Chirac, “Le Monde” is also pretty clear in its judgment of the invitation – albeit not mentioning the probable Iraq-related repercussions of such a move –
“La présence de Robert Mugabe Ã Paris pour le 22e sommet franco-africain est une insulte pour les victimes de son rÃ¨gne arbitraire au Zimbabwe.”
Translation (my own) –
“The presence of Robert Mugabe in Paris for the 22nd Franco-African Summit is an insult for the victims of his arbirtrary reign in Zimbabwe.”
It’s hard to argue with that.
In recent weeks, Chirac has repeatedly proven his political and diplomatic talent, managing to become the key player regarding a second UN resolution explicitly allowing war on Iraq. But starting with the over-the-top and entirely unnecessary threats against Eastern Europe earlier this week, he has shown his uglier face. Drunk on power? I certainly hope he’s not. That would indeed make poor Gerhard a lonely man.