HAIL CHIRAC THE MAGNIFICENT!….Several people have suggested to me that my disgust over Jacques Chirac’s apparent flip-flop on sending French troops to Lebanon is misplaced. Their basic argument is that no one ever expected France or anyone else to commit troops to Lebanon in the first place, and Chirac was merely involved in creating a convenient fiction that allowed everyone to back off to the old status quo without actually admitting they were doing so. It was great diplomacy, and if you look at what everyone’s real goals were, Chirac didn’t betray a thing.

I’m not sure I buy this, but I admit it’s more sophisticated than my view and perfectly plausible as well. If you’re interested in a somewhat more detailed version of this argument, Matt Yglesias makes it here.