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By the time you read this, an attack on Iraq could have begun, Nato could have collapsed and the EU may be on the point of splitting into two blocs. Probably none of this will have happened-but long-suppressed tension is bubbling to the surface and new alignments are being forged in the heat of the Iraq crisis. The main actors, whose words and deeds are usually shrouded in diplomatic obfuscation, are saying (often shouting) what they think. The Bush administration expects its pre-emptive aggression against Iraq-a clear departure from the norms of international behaviour-to be rubber-stamped by the UN and…

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