The Corner

The one and only.



Chirac’s statement on Iran was perhaps as soft as raspberry marmalade, but it was more than Bush had to say, and it did not rule out sanctions:

International legality must prevail against the threats of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In the crisis with Iran, confidence has been impaired by the existence of illegal programs. [Emphasis mine; see below. – ML]  We have extended to that major country ambitious offers of cooperation, provided it restores confidence by suspending its contentious activities. Dialogue must prevail. Let us talk in order to enter into negotiations. Given the seriousness of what is at stake, the international community must stand firm and united. We do not aim to call regimes into question. We aim to ensure security in accordance with international law and with due regard for the sovereignty of all countries.

I highlight the word “illegal” in reference to Iran’s nuclear programs (revealed in 2003) because it comes from the “check against delivery” English-language text distributed by the Elysée Palace prior to the speech.  But the phrase Chirac actually used was ”prgrammes clandestins” which of course implies no illegality.   French diplomats are the best in the world when it comes to manipulating translations of their public statements for calibrated effect in multiple audiences.  I wonder which word the Iranians heard. 

Meanwhile, in a great contrast to Chirac’s Gallic nuance, Polish president Lech Kaczynski, speaking next, proudly signed on to America’s democracy agenda:

Poland’ s experience with shedding a totalitarian regime and taking up the task of modernizing the country affords us a special comprehension of the needs of countries that follow a similar path and the essence of their transition. This is why, we are committed to efforts to extend the area of democracy and freedom around the world. Today Poland is a rapidly developing country. We are turning into a country that is able to donate to the global community, much to our satisfaction. Indeed, I would like Poland to become even more active in this respect. Today, in the 21st century, Poland is a strong sovereign state and an active member of the European Union, as well as an ally of the United States of America.