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The new Anglo-French war

The Brits! What are they good for? Absolutely nothing. French President Jacques Chirac does generously acknowledge one major contribution that Cool Britannia has made to the world: Mad Cow disease. Here's how he put it: "The only thing [the British] have ever given European farming is mad cow."

What's actually funnier is that he made the remark -- along with rude comments about British cuisine -- while chatting with German chancellor Gerhard Schroder and Russian president Vladimir Putin in a cafe. Here's what passes for witty banter among world leaders:


"You can't trust people who cook as badly as that," he said. "After Finland, it's the country with the worst food."
"But what about hamburgers?" said Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, referring to America.
"Oh no, hamburgers are nothing in comparison," Mr Chirac said.
Mr Putin and Gerhard Schröder, the German chancellor, laughed. Mr Chirac then recalled how George Robertson, the former Nato secretary general and a former defence secretary in Tony Blair's Cabinet, had once made him try an "unappetising" Scottish dish, apparently meaning haggis.
"That's where our problems with Nato come from," he said.
And we wonder why they can't just get along.

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