It appears that every time Jacques Chirac meets with Condoleezza Rica he makes a point to imprint an elegant kiss — on her hand in the old—fashioned way. This is certainly a very nice gesture and a nostalgic remainder of pre—feminist times when women were shown far greater respect in public. The problem with Chirac is that after kissing Condi's hand, he rushes to our enemies to share with them the confidential and classified information he obtained during the meetings. This debonair Frenchman is in fact a common backstabber.
As if this was not bad enough, Jacques Chirac is also is a woefully incompetent leader who has brought his country to the brink of collapse. This man so skilled in fine points of high etiquette is a glaring failure in almost everything else he does. He is also one of the ringleaders of the European crowd who think themselves infinitely superior to those unsophisticated Americans. Rather than being superior, Chirac embodies much of what is wrong with Old Europe. Puffed up with a false sense of pride, he can hardly do anything right these days. His posturing has a comic quality which makes him something of a clown in addition to being a certified bungler (and a treacherous one at that).
Americans really have nothing to feel intimidated about when facing these people. It's just a pity that the suave Chirac and his champagne sipping friends remain unappreciative of Americans' infinite politeness, for it surely must take a great deal of effort not to burst out into laughter.
Vasko Kohlmayer 3 31 06