I've been remiss in not linking to this bit by Tony Shadid on Iran's ascendance in the WaPo. The silly thing is that calling Iran "ascendant" is really a misnomer -- Iran's absolute power really hasn't grown that much versus it's status in, say, 2001. What's changed is that Iran's two implacable enemies -- Taliban Afghanistan and Baathist Iraq -- have been destroyed, and the global hegemonic power is tied down in two wars and is unable to realistically stop any moves Iran makes. Even worse, the US has deliberately (if not consciously) made itself more vulnerable to Iranian retaliation by putting hundreds of thousands of soldiers within Iran's reach.
Which just shows us that the Realist school of International Relations is right -- it's relative power, not absolute power, that matters.
Meanwhile, the only thing Chirac's latest statement/embarrassment really shows is that a) he's still right about the Middle East, and b) the Right will never forgive him for being, um, correct about it.
Oh, and I guess c) it's still true -- a gaffe is when someone tells the truth.