|"It's quite clear, Watson, that French opposition to the United States and the United Kingdom in Iraq is only partially real, and is in large part a manuever designed to maximize pressure on Hussein."
"Extraordinary claim, Holmes, but what evidence can you provide?"
"Elementary, Watson. Several days ago, allied aircraft bombed surface to surface weapon sites in Iraq. Recall if you will the reaction of outrage from Paris."
"But there was no outrage was Paris, Holmes, you know that!"
"Precisely, dear doctor! The dog that didn't bark! Yet, these strikes were obviously beyond the envelope of what would be permitted to protect a 'no fly zone', mind you something the French don't approve, as the weapons hit were incapable of threatening aircraft. Surely if the French we indeed opposed to allied policy, they would protest the actual employment of that policy as loudly as they protest the politics, speeches, and rhetoric?"
"But Holmes, if what you're saying is true, then why should they make a pretense of protest against allied policy at all?"
"Ah, the game's afoot, Watson. By being selective in their opposition, the French have Saddam exactly where we want them. You see, Saddam knows that if French opposition to war vanishes, then so will Russian, and then it's only hours until the allied armies are knocking his doors down. And the French have never said never. Therefore, Saddam's regime can continue only with the permission of the French, which could be withdrawn at any time. The only leverage Saddam can possibly play against the allies is to turn against the UN inspection system again, or try to support terror or weapons development covertly. Either will have the result of undermining the French position that the inspection system is working. Therefore, if the French don't muster up their outrage over the allied bombing, neither can Saddam."
"So it seems, Holmes, that the French have taken the position that if a tree falls in the forest, and the French don't protest, then it didn't really fall."
"A clever tactic, Watson, but in the short term, it works to our advantage. Saddam is effectively neutralized as long as the French sit on the fence."