Jacques, quo vadis?
French president Jacques Chirac expresses his willingness to use nuclear weapons against states launching terrorist attacks on France (I hate to quote AFP):
This is quite important. Chirac's latest statement comes at a moment where the nuclear showdown with Iran is about to really begin. Now, does Chirac really want to suddenly show determination and strength after some European leaders have excluded military actions in the case of Iran? Would he be willing to act in consequence? His speech could be an expression of his willingness to use force if necessary. The reference to France's nuclear "force de frappe" should then maybe not be understood in a literal way. Anyway, this would certainly be very welcome indeed. Already in the case of Syria-Lebanon has the french president showed an ability to face reality and to join the Americans in their moves against Syria. However, the next weeks will give evidence of his real intentions.
The other possibility is that Chirac is fully aware of the fact that Europe is more and more becoming "irrelevant" in international politics (as Henry Kissinger is said to have found back in the seventies). He could then just be trying to improve his or the European's position in the coming Iran-bargain. For example: "See, I'm not afraid. But why don't we wait a little longer and send in some additional inspectors and thus ensure Peace for our time?".
I still don't trust Jacques.
UPDATE (20.01.2006, 07:40): That had to be expected. The European henhouse is all stirred up after Chirac's nuke-speech. According to Der Spiegel, German politicians have called it "unacceptable", a "dangerous rhetoric escalation" and that it was "not helpful given the European efforts to make Iran quit its nuclear program". These people still follow the motto "Ask kindly and by no means carry a big stick, it could hurt your counterpart's feelings." They deliberately choose political insignificance. This is a very strong signal to Iran as well. In Deutschland nichts Neues.