Rifts deepened within the NATO alliance Monday after France, Germany and Belgium blocked efforts to plan for Turkey's defense in case Iraq attacked NATO's only Muslim member.

Turkey immediately requested emergency consultations under Article 4, NATO's mutual defense treaty, the first time a nation has done so in the alliance's 53-year history.

"I am not seeking today to minimize the seriousness of the situation. It is serious," said NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, calling the atmosphere at the meeting of alliance ambassadors "very heated."

Meanwhile, U.S. officials on Sunday blasted a separate Franco-German proposal over the weekend that aimed to head off war by tripling the number of weapons inspectors in Iraq, installing a U.N. peacekeeping army within the country's borders and extending the "no-fly" zones to all of Iraq.

French whine: Drink up, or put a cork in it?

A sample of your responses:

Mere mention of our grass roots effort to boycott german Autos(inckluding Chrysler) and French Wines, will send the weasels scurrying back to the security council. It is something a single American can do to support the war on terror. Also our effort is due to the disrespect shown our war dead in their soil and their unwillingness to protect Turkey.
Tom K.
Cary, NC

As a generally Pro American, Pro Tony Blair Englishman, I must express sadness and disappointment about your reporting of the French (German and Belgian) objection to US/UK actions which will escalate the possibility of war. I believe those of us who believe in the justness of our sparring with Saddam Hussein should make every effort to sell our argument, rather than ridicule the legal and democratic opposition of our allies.
Alan M.
Sheffield, UK

After owning a business where we had regular dealings with the French, we know how underhanded they can be. It would not surprise me at all to find out that the French have been selling materials and technology to Iraq that would help them "beef up" their military and that the U.S. would find very questionable. They don't want us going into Iraq and finding anything with their name on it, so to speak.
Therese H.
Maryville, TN

The weakness of European alliances has always been its domestic market's limited capacity.  It scares the politicians and drives them toward acts of protectionism and or adventurism.
Mel G.
NY

If you don't understand why other countries hate America, I suggest you go back to school. Bush is a tyrant, and anyone with even a little bit of sense, can see that. Someone needs to put Bush in his place!
Michael M.
Goldston, NC

What happened to the statement Pres Bush made "your either with us or against us"? The French are just making their case "playing both sides".  Until the US hit the beaches at Normandy, some of the French where with the nazi's. It looks like the French are just being French. They should stick to making whine.
Steve
CO

The military support of France and Germany is only marginally more important than the political support of great intellectuals such as Madonna, Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin, etc.
Thomas J.

I think the French should put a cork in it. Who really cares what they or Germany think. They know no matter what they do, if somebody was threatening them, we would be there to protect them. They are cowardly, uptight, selfish morons who only care about protecting Saddam and their own butts. I say screw them and a 2nd U.N. resolution. I think we should worry more about our security and our true allies.
Christina E.

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