FRANCE, IRAN, AND TERRORISM: They seem to be taking a tougher line:
What is so surprising is that Mr. Chirac's government has in the past favored an approach of conciliation or even appeasement toward Iran and the Arab nations. He was, after all, the vociferous foe of the U.S.-led war in Iraq and a hard line against Iran. That approach benefited French companies that were able to obtain lucrative contracts in competition with corporations based in the land of the great Satan. So, what happened? There are two contributing factors. The first is the civil unrest in France several months ago, which involved nightly riots and a myriad of car burnings in many areas of the country. This violence had the same kind of impact upon Mr. Chirac and the French government that September 11 had upon the United States.
In his speech, Mr. Chirac bluntly declared, "In numerous countries, radical ideas are spreading, advocating a confrontation of civilizations." Mr. Chirac now understands the problem. The jihadists are attempting to capture town by town, areas within Western Europe. As one French government official put it, "This is more than a clash of civilizations. It is a cancer within our country that if unchecked will destroy all of France."
With his statements, Mr. Chirac is warning Iran and the Arab countries to desist in supporting and encouraging residents of France who launched last year's attacks and are undoubtedly planning to do far worse. His approach is to cut off terror at the source. This resembles the policy being pursued by the U.S. government, although it is hard to imagine how great the public outcry would be if President Bush threatened to use nuclear weapons.