Here’s an early sign that Jacques Chirac’s power play is going to rebound on him. The left wing ‘Liberation’ is now referring to him as the “king of peace without a crown”, while criticism from his political allies (including former prime minister Juppe – a long-term Chirac ally) is beginning to rise. The Guardian notes that the center-right’s parliamentary leader has called on Chirac “to show his public support for the courage of the Americans and British in bringing down a dictatorship”, while another MP has said that Mr Chirac had “to act swiftly to lessen the impact of violent anti-American remarks and rethink a number of provocative statements made without reflection”. Chirac’s problem? If he backs down from his anti-American stance, he forfeits the widespread, but (I suspect) shallow popularity that he has won across the country. My heart bleeds for him.