European Union

Why Chirac Sucked


Over at Slate, Anne Applebaum lays into outgoing French President Jacques Chirac:

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 the up side, Chirac also quipped:

On Britain: "The only thing they have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease. … You can't trust people who cook as badly as that."

More here. Coming soon by most accounts (including Applebaum's): Chirac in the dock for various corruption scandals.

Is it too late for Chirac–who served as president for a dozen years, mayor of Paris for 18 years, and prime minister for four years–to have his political hymen stitched back together?