The toppling of the Chirac regime was the inevitable application of this ideology. It was not imperialism. Washington had no desire to stick around when the cameras had already been directed to a new rogue. It was rather adventurism. American foreign policy did mergers and acquisitions, not management. They could topple but, as they found in Kabul and Baghdad, they had no clue about rebuilding. They just wanted to make a point. Upset Uncle Sam and you will lose your power, your palace, your art treasures and bring death and destruction to your cities.
Tony Blair cheered the fall of France. He, too, had his reasons. He had longed to see M Chirac with a bloody nose. Since 2002 he had supported Americas new coercive diplomacy and grown hugely popular as a result. Not since Palmerston had nations quaked when a British leader said he had no plans to attack them. Now Mr Blair might be Americas chosen candidate for president of Europe. Anyway, Britain was in bed with America and could hardly climb out now. Washington would not like that. Mr Blair would not want a nasty hole at the end of The Mall, would he?