In the face of continuing rebellion, Jacques Chirac is talking tough and sounding a lot like a local "cowboy" we all know and love.

The violence came in open defiance to a warning by French President Jacques Chirac who pledged to clamp down on the troublemakers.

Chirac emerged from an emergency meeting with top members of his Cabinet on Sunday to tell his nation that the "absolute priority is to reestablish security and public order."

"The law should have the final say, and the republic is determined to be stronger than those who want spread violence and fear. Those people will be apprehended, judged and punished."

I know 13 years is a long time, but I still can't help feeling a little smug when I think back to how the French responded after Los Angeles' Rodney King riots. (HT: Kyle Haight in the comments to an earlier post.)

Back in the 1990s, the French sneered at America for the Los Angeles riots. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported in 1992: "the consensus of French pundits is that something on the scale of the Los Angeles riots could not happen here, mainly because France is a more humane, less racist place with a much stronger commitment to social welfare programs." President Mitterrand, the Washington Post reported in 1992, blamed the riots on the "conservative society" that Presidents Reagan and Bush had created and said France is different because it "is the country where the level of social protection is the highest in the world."

Meanwhile, am I the only one wondering if all the battles Muslims are fighting around the world may be their own fault? Maybe they need to learn to be more tolerant.



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