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A Pro-American View from France

Recorded on April 4, 2003

The Heritage Foundation's Van Andel Center

Not everybody in France endorses the strongly anti-American line that has been espoused by French President Jacques Chirac. In fact, Mr. Chirac's current policy on Iraq has given rise to a growing chorus of critical voices in France, who argue that by siding with the brutal Iraqi dictatorship against the United States, Mr. Chirac is making a serious foreign policy mistake. These critics do not come from the Socialist/Communist opposition but mainly from politicians of his own majority coalition, even if they cannot state their opposition with a strong voice in France at the moment.

Few people are better suited to articulate this case than Alain Madelin, an influential voice in French politics. He has expressed divergent views with Jacques Chirac on the issue of the war in Iraq, while being probably his strongest political ally of long standing.

As fellow leader of the Parti Républicain, Mr. Madelin was the key political force in Mr. Chirac's governing coalition between 1986 and 1988. He was Minister of Enterprise between 1993 and 1995, and a key supporter of Mr. Chirac's presidential campaign of 1995. He was briefly Minister of Economy and Finance following Chirac's election. Subsequently, he formed Démocratie Libérale, a free-market political party, representing one quarter of the Conservative coalition. Mr. Madelin was a presidential candidate in 2002, and has been a member of the French Parliament since 1978.

Mr. Madelin will be giving a major foreign policy address on April 4, at 12 noon, at The Heritage Foundation presenting a "Pro-American View from France."