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The unanimous passage of Security Council Resolution 1441 marked the onset of the most severe crisis of legitimacy that the United Nations has faced in the post-Cold War period. While some have asserted that the diplomatic clashes between erstwhile allies France and the United States were inevitable given the rise of American unipolarity, an analysis of events leading to the failed US attempt to gain a second resolution reveals that the outcome was among the least preferred for both participants. Using the Verbs In Context system, we conduct a computer-based content analysis of the public statements of the United States and French leaders. Our findings suggest that the diplomatic breakdown was exacerbated by each leaders' elevated sense of control over the situation and their inaccurate perception of their opponent's preferences.