Ponder closely, for example, what Chirac has had to say about Africa, where his country has enormous influence, in many places far outweighing ours. During a visit to the Ivory Coast, Chirac once called "multi-partyism" a "kind of luxury," which his host, president-for-life Félix Houphouet-Boigny, could clearly not afford. During a visit to Tunisia, he proclaimed that, since "the most important human rights are the rights to be fed, to have health, to be educated, and to be housed," Tunisia's human rights record is "very advanced"—never mind the police who beat up dissidents. "Africa is not ready for democracy," he told a group of African leaders in the early 1990s.
On Saddam Hussein: "You are my personal friend. Let me assure you of my esteem, consideration, and bond."
On Eastern Europe supporting the United States in the United Nations: "It is not really responsible behavior. It is not well-brought-up behavior. They missed a good opportunity to shut up."
May 8, 2007
The wit and wisdom of Jacques Chirac
Anne Applebaum looks back.