France, the lead architect of the anti-US position over Iraq, the country willing to divide Europe and America's allies to strike its leadership position as a counterweight to US supremacy, and a nation at the core of European integration, has plunged all of Europe into chaos.
Apart from the economic considerations, briefly touched on in Part I of this series, there are several geo-political ramifications of the French and coming Dutch vote. The US is in a stronger position to set the international agenda and form the foundational alliances for the 21st century. The result of the French vote will cause at minimum a 5- to 10-year period of deep European introspection. While this introspection will likely be a healthy period for a stronger, more democratic European movement, it nevertheless removes a unified "European voice" from the international stage. Fence sitting Eurosceptical countries such as the United Kingdom will have the opportunity to play a more active role in leading Europe as the French are now politically damaged because of their rejection of the EU proposed constitution.
From capitals in New Delhi, Brasilia, Jakarta, Tbilisi, Kiev and Baghdad, the vote against the French government and deeper European integration does not invite confidence in the proposals and platitudes of diplomats in the Quai D'Orsay or the politicians and bureaucrats in Brussels. France has created a European power vacuum such that nations interested in their own security and regional security issues will find America as the only power with the focus, attention, and long-range commitment to its friends and allies to do business with. France caused the US and Tony Blair a great deal of grief and frustration leading up to the toppling of Saddam's brutal regime. Much as Kruschev overplayed his hand in 1963 with the US over the Cuban Missile Crisis, Mr. Chirac has overplayed his.
Countries like China, hoping for a strong Europe to counterbalance the US, will find little comfort in the French vote. Rising Asian powers will focus their energies on reciprocating American gestures towards building better alliances, expanding trade, and cooperating on mutual security concerns.
While Europe looks introspectively, America will continue to successfully prosecute the War on Terror, expanding its hard and soft power as one of several pretenders falters.