Has Jacques Chirac left anyone off his "to offend" list? Fresh from his brush-off of the United Nations and the U.S. over Iraq, the French President has now irked Britain's Labour government and Tory opposition, democratic activists in Africa and the world over, and the rest of the European Union by inviting Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe</a> for a visit to Paris. The dictator and his family were banned from entering the EU after Mugabe, in his golden years, <a href="http://www.globalaffairs.org/forum/showthread.php?postid=12546#post12546 ">decided to destroy Zimbabwe's democracy and starve his own people.</a> Paris now wants to give Mugabe fresh legitimacy on the world stage by hosting him for the France-Africa summit on February 20-21. That meeting takes place two days after the current EU travel ban runs out. On Monday the EU failed to renew the ban for another year because of the squabbling over France's invitation. Rumor has it, the French told Britain and Sweden, which favor a hard line on Zimbabwe, to give Mugabe a pass for their party in Paris (exceptions are allowed) or France would block the entire package of sanctions, including the travel ban. That appears to be what happened. Meanwhile, the U.S. on Monday advised Americans to consider leaving Zimbabwe, which is "in the midst of a political, economic and humanitarian crisis." With his maneuver, Mr. Chirac (once again) pokes the British Prime Minister in the eye. Why? I guess he doesn't appreciate Tony Blair's stance on Iraq, wants to prove that France and Germany again rule the roost in Europe, and to get an upper hand on its old rival in Africa. But this Gallic unilateralism seems to be founded on strange notions of national interest -- not to mention decency and morality. And yes, this is the French we are speaking of.