Recently, the Observer reported on US plans to punish Germany by pulling out US troops. This would hit Germany’s economy fairly hard.
Glenn Reynolds covered this in one post.
Two days later, Chirac threatened Romania and Bulgaria for their pro-US stances. Reynolds covered this, and covered this, and covered this, and covered this, and covered this, and there are another four or five references which I won’t link.
Atrios, who’s more or less Glenn’s counterpart on the left, hit the Rumsfeld issue once and hasn’t commented on Chirac’s threats. No points for ignoring Chirac, but points for relative consistency.
I think both Chirac and Rumsfeld were over the line, and I think it’s hypocritical to harp on one while ignoring the other. It seems to me that both statements reflect a fundamental confusion about the definitions of ally and enemy; or, more accurately, they reflect a failure to realize that there’s something in between. Germany and France are not saying that they’ll oppose the United States militarily if we invade Iraq, they’re saying they don’t think we should do it and they won’t vote for it in the Security Council. Similarly, the European countries supporting the United States aren’t threatening to invade France if France doesn’t stand aside, they’re just disagreeing.
It is somewhat disturbing to see disagreement treated as if it were active threats. The first country to threaten force in the US/Europe dispute was, um… us. The second was France. Neither the French or US citizens should be proud of either action.