To Lose Face, Or Lose Contracts?

Illustration for TIME by Alex Nabaum

The cartoon in the International Herald Tribune said it all. It depicted Chinese leaders saying: "From now on, French fries are 'communist fries!' " as an angry crowd demonstrated in front of a French megastore in China. From tilting against the U.S. in 2003 to challenging China now, is France becoming the world's default Don Quixote? Five years ago Paris flamboyantly opposed the war of the American "hyperpower" in Iraq; now it opposes human-rights violations committed in Tibet by tomorrow's superpower, China. The parallel undeniably flatters the French ego, since it suggests the supremacy of ethics over realpolitik in French diplomacy....

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