The main quarrel … quickly degenerated into a power struggle between a Franco-German camp and a rival group led by Britain and Italy … Jacques Chirac … has been increasingly dismayed by the inability of the Franco-German duo to continue getting its way in an enlarged EU of 25 countries. Instead of reconsidering his tactics, the French president became more and more indignant, accusing smaller countries who were sitting on the fence of moral cowardice, and threatening the Italians with a serious deterioration in bilateral relations. …Remember what the French are always saying to Americans? We French are your friends, and friends don't always need to be in agreement. Friends shouldn't expect other friends to just follow along, but should allow them to voice their differences honestly. In fact, you should expect them to tell you openly and forthrightly when they think you are wrong, and that without fear of retaliation.
This flexing of Franco-German muscle only stiffened the others' resistance. [Chirac's] deep resentment of the British role in rallying opposition to Franco-German dominance was … crucial.
You know what this is, don't you? This opinion, I mean — this "moral" viewpoint we are always hearing from France. As I've always said, it's nothing but double standards, through and through. As the evidence proves over and over again, it is nothing else than self-serving prattle. Use principles when they benefit us, discard them when they don't.