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Last Updated: Monday, 18 July, 2005, 19:29 GMT 20:29 UK
Do you agree with President Chirac?
President Jacques Chirac
Do you agree with the French president's comments on terrorism?

President Jacques Chirac has warned that no country is safe from terrorism.

In an interview with French television he also said that "terrorists have a different mentality".

Mr Chirac's comments come a week after the London bombings and as France commemorates its national Bastille Day holiday amidst increased security.

Do you agree with President Chirac's comments? What steps should be taken to tackle global terrorism?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

President Chirac is correct. The war against terrorism is being fought on a battlefield that has no front line, no borders and in which we are all potential victims. In Iraq and Afghanistan the potential for death among the civilian population comes from both the American/Iraqi forces and the insurgents. In the world outside, terrorist activity is the threat. The suicide bombers do not want to die, but believe that if they die in the defence of Islam they will receive the honour of martyrdom. If there is no offsetting value to staying alive, no hope of a future, no hope that their world will improve, then US occupation of Muslim lands becomes a compelling reason to die.
Nigel Darwent, Trinidad and Tobago

Do I agree with him? Yes and no. While no country is safe, some are safer than others. The calculus is very simple. The closer a nation is to the US in the exploitation and killing of Arabs, the less safe the nations. What has Sweden to fear?
Kofi Osei, Melbourne, Australia

Chirac's comments are patently obvious. The question is why. One can bomb and blast and seal borders and imprison people indefinitely, but until we try to find out why we won't be able to stop anything. A group without borders fighting an unconventional war are always going to get the upper hand against a world that thinks in Nations and borders. What about the age old saying "know thine enemy"?

President Chirac is without doubt correct in saying that terrorists have a different mentality. We must remember that while we value freedom, Islamic extremists and fundamentalists believe that the world is a bastille and there is no liberation from it until death is the liberator. A bastille, contrary to a place of freedom, is a place of the most horrible extremes, contrary to our values, ideals, and goals of progress. That is in essence what is at stake.
John Holmes, Canada

He is 100% right. His speech resonates with the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine and Chechnya to name but a few. Once state terrorism and injustice is stopped, I am certain, Al Qaeda will have no more recruits to execute their evil.
Imdad Hussain, Aylesbury, Bucks

We are reaching to moderate Muslims
Luc, France
Even if English speaking countries love to say that France is doing nothing against terrorism they are wrong. Intelligence agencies know we did not wait for 9/11 to be aware of the threat. Bomb attacks happened in Paris many years before. We just refuse to adopt the violent strategy of the US which only alienates Muslims. We are reaching to moderate Muslims so that they can counterbalance the voice of the extremists. But the British press is too keen on bashing France and Chirac in particular to recognize this.
Luc, France

Chirac's comments are not wrong but pedestrian. Global terrorism is an empty label. The question is what makes some youngsters feel so alienated. The causes differ. Suicide bombing is the extreme end of a spectrum. A society that breeds such psychotic detachment then fails to diagnose it when it develops is deeply flawed. The story that the London bombers were fairly normal youths is misleading and dangerous. Any trained psychiatrist or social worker knows this could not possibly be the case. Even an experienced teacher could smell pathology.
Dr Yousef Abdulla, Orpington UK

The West needs to stop saying it is all the fault of the terrorists
Michael, Chicago, IL, USA
I do agree with President Chirac. However, I feel that the West needs to stop saying it is all the fault of the terrorists. The West is also to blame. It would be wonderful if both sides could sit down and discuss their differences like humans, not kill each other like animals.
Michael, Chicago, IL, USA

I think some people are missing the point, and for once in my life, I agree with M. Chirac. These attacks will continue. Plenty of people are 'disgruntled'. Very few blow themselves up, and wilfully take others with them.

I agree with the French President. Like it or leave it, Mr Chirac was right about Iraq, although no one paid attention before the fact. He is the leader of a country that has over 4 million Muslims as part of the general population and therefore is well versed in these sorts of matters.

People do not sacrifice their lives just to punish you for no causes at all
Thomas, Canada
So where were the suicide bombers 30 years ago? Wouldn't it be good to start asking the right questions? People do not sacrifice their lives just to punish you for no causes at all. Deal with the causes!
Thomas, Canada

No, he is wrong. Only the countries that want to impose their economic and social model on other culture are victims. Switzerland and Luxembourg have never been victims but the US and UK are the first on the list.
N. Gibert, Paris, France

We all need to work better to figure out causes of terrorism, find terrorists before they strike, and not compromise our rights and moral standards. We should avoid things like Iraq, which detract from solving terrorism and give terrorists a cause to attach to.
Rick Loeffler, Waukesha, USA

The root cause is hatred, and terrorists just want to kill us, no matter what the excuse of the week is
Jenna, Harrisburg, IL, USA
Of course I agree with him. I get tired of reading comments that blame Western policy for terrorism. I don't like the policies of many countries, nor do I agree with the belief systems of many around the world, yet I don't go around blowing up innocent people to show it. The root cause is hatred, and terrorists just want to kill us, no matter what the excuse of the week is. The people they kill do not make policy - they are merely from a certain country, race, or religion the terrorists hate.
Jenna, Harrisburg, IL, USA

Of course his comments are accurate. He is merely stating the obvious.
Rob G, Kansas City, USA

I am very sad for the victims of terrorism. I pray for innocent people with my all heart. But I must say this to Mr Chirac and other politicians of Western countries: You all chat a lot, but this horrible terrorism is the product of your politics and your actions against others.
Turk, Turkey

I think one sentence is enough: Every place is safe until the first terrorist attack. Prevention is the only way to minimise the consequences of a terrorist attack.
Paulo Castro Garrido, Lisbon, Portugal

Has Mr Chirac just had the epiphany that terrorism is a real threat? If so, I now partially understand France's horrible record in confronting the problem.
Tom, Virginia, USA

President Chirac's comments are accurate and timely. The French have an excellent record in anti-terrorism operations but keep quiet about their activities - which is what all good security services do.
Ken, Wirral, England

Indeed. What did all those Kenyans do to deserve the death that Al Qaeda brought to them when they bombed the US embassy in Nairobi? Kenya has not invaded Afghanistan or Iraq or even supported Israel. Yet still these pathetic terrorists killed them by the dozen.
Jonathan Ewer, London, UK

The Iraq war has done very little to make the world safer for cultures who share the West's ideology
Aaron , New York, NY
I am pleased that we all finally realize that there is a problem but saddened that we have no clue how to begin to fix it, nor are we even working very hard together to do so. It is also very clear that the Iraq war has done very little to make the world safer for cultures who share the West's ideology. I know it is going to take a great leader with unmatched strength and talent to really make a change - he or she does not exist yet, sadly.
Aaron , New York, NY

Surely the question is why terrorists have a so-called "different mentality"? It's very easy to demonise people and lose sight of the humanity that we all share. I agree with other posters here that the way forward is initiatives for cross-cultural understanding, education and integration. The "war" in Iraq has fostered none of these.
Rob Abbott, London

I'm no fan of Chirac, but he and the French take the terrorist threat at home far more seriously than the UK, and are far more effective at penetrating cells. They also have few human rights concerns for terror suspects, which doesn't get much press. The UK needs to take lessons.
Kenneth, London

He's pretty much right for once. No country where people are free is safe because it's like trying to fight a shadow, a shadow with no aims to work towards, no reasoning behind its motives and an impossible dream of turning the world to its way of thinking through murder. Which is why this thing will no doubt rumble on, possibly forever. The democratic world doesn't have a compromise to work towards because these peoples simply want to get rid of the democratic world
Mb, Derby

It takes no special intellectual talent to make such an obvious statement. Of course anyone and any country is vulnerable to extremist groups who are hell-bent on creating havoc. Security can never be guaranteed as we have seen clearly demonstrated over the past year with the Royal Family, the House of Commons and Buckingham Palace. The secret is not to make yourselves a target in the first place. That is why the bombs went off in London not in Paris.
Roger Jubin, Horndean, Hants

I agree with President Chirac, but it is clear that some countries are safer than others. If you live in a country with an arrogant foreign policy or where religious fundamentalism is powerful, you are at risk of attack from those whom you have wronged or who disagree with you. If you live in a country like Canada, where we have citizens from every country on Earth and where every day we strive to treat everyone with respect and dignity, you are far less likely to be attacked since you have wronged no one and you have demonstrated the virtue of tolerance.
Robert Stewart, London, Ontario, Canada

Robert Stewart: Correction, if you live in a country with no backbone, which stands for nothing and doesn't care if the terrorists they harbour are out to do harm to neighboring countries, then you will be safe. As long as you are a country who doesn't get in the way of terrorists and what they are trying to do, yes, you might well be safe. However, that doesn't exactly qualify a country as a good world participant.
Beth, USA

To Robert Stewart, London, Ontario: I greatly admire Canada, but it's naive to assert that bad people won't harm you just because you're nice to them. And make no mistake: people who consciously attack innocent civilians choose to be bad. Furthermore, while you might be right about wronging others, couldn't an equally valid argument be made that Canada is not a target simply because it is not as involved or as high profile as other countries? My intent is not to malign Canada; I'm merely trying to dispel the notion that terrorists are purely reactive.
Tom, USA

This isn't the first time the UK has suffered terrorism; remember the 70s and 80s when Irish and mid-European terrorism was at its height? London and other cities were bombed then and people were resilient. This time its coming from a different direction; but the lessons that were learned then should be applied now - and the same mistakes applied as a knee-jerk reaction should not. The man has a valid point.
Fiona, Glasgow, Scotland

Nothing will stop global terrorism. We can only limit the damage with better pre-intelligence and quick actions. As they improve their methods, we'll need to be that bit better at stopping them.
Keith, Chepstow, Wales, Ex Doha, Qatar

If we want to continue to enjoy our freedoms people are going to have to accept the risk of a terrorist attack
Bryan, Glasgow, UK
I agree. The greatest risk to a free society is the pursuit of no risk at all. You will never obtain zero risk from a suicide bomber. If we want to continue to enjoy our freedoms people are going to have to accept the risk of a terrorist attack. A more pertinent question would be to ask why certain countries and people within them hate the West and the UK so much and if there is anything that can be done to change their views or challenge them. As voters we do not question our government's foreign policies nearly hard enough and very little of us fully understand the implications of living the way we do in the world we live in. Although the UK bombers were born here, it is becoming clear that the source of their guidance, support and inspiration comes from elsewhere and that is what we should be tackling.
Bryan, Glasgow, UK

Switzerland is safe. So he is wrong. Switzerland stays out of other peoples business so no one will ever look to them so they can exact revenge for some perceived wrong-doing, real or false.
Chris, Liverpool

Chris in Liverpool is wrong. Switzerland is not safe. The Swiss government has been cooperating with terror-fighting countries in their investigations of terrorist money trails. This is enough to get on the terrorists' list of cooperating countries.
Paul, San Antonio, USA

Of course no country is safe from terrorism and I do not wish to diminish the suffering of the victims and their families, but compared to the number of people who die from preventable diseases and even car crashes, the threat of terrorism is exaggerated.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA

Wow, how insightful of Mr Chirac. And what additional steps does he plan to take to curb terrorism, besides tightening border controls? The London bombings taught us that type of action wouldn't have prevented last Thursday's disaster.
Suzanne, Atlanta, US

Chirac is absolutely right, and what is more, puts his money where his mouth is by cooperating closely behind the scenes with the US in destroying al-Qaeda. Those who blame British involvement in Iraq for last week's attacks should keep in mind that if Iraq did not present itself as an excuse for these terrorists, then something else would have acted as a fig leaf for their campaign. It is time to see our enemy for who he really is, not what we would like him to be.
John, Shrewsbury, England

No one seems to be facing up to the root cause of terrorism and why certain groups feel tremendous enmity toward certain nations. Instead of placing all the blame on the terrorists themselves, perhaps we should examine what these victim nations have done to receive the wrath of obviously very disgruntled people.
William Blair, Toronto, Canada

We are part of the problem and need to make fundamental changes
Oliver, Bingley
There are many different causes and factors but we, in the west have to understand that we are part of the problem and need to make fundamental changes as individuals to the way we live our lives and create an equal and balanced world for all, otherwise we will just be endlessly putting money into defending unjust, money orientated systems that will in reality just escalate the very problems we are trying to solve.
Oliver, Bingley

It has long been established that we can never be 100% safe from terrorism. The more pertinent question is the steps we need to take to achieve the maximum security possible to reduce such attacks. For that, we need to not only win the military front in the war on terrorism, but also the cultural and ideological front which will require greater sensitivity to the Muslim world and solving the Middle East issue as soon as possible.
Prashanth Parameswaran, Malaysia

Whilst everyone should be alert to the risk of terrorism I think it is an over-simplification that this problems will be solved by tighter security alone. I think greater involvement from the British Muslim community as called for by British Muslim MPs yesterday is a good example of how we can all work together to help overcome this threat. I think France would be better served by solving its well documented racial integration problems before thinking about tighter border controls.
Will, Ipswich

For once, Chirac is correct. If one person is that intent on terrorising others, then no matter what measures are put into place they will get through them somehow.
Miss J, Oxford

Even President Chirac gets it right once in a while. Unfortunately, his attitude on fighting global terrorism seems to be to hunker down at home and let others do the heavy lifting. That may play well to French voters but it's hardly the leadership one would expect from someone who wants France to be taken seriously as a major player in world affairs.
Scott Westwood, Port Orchard, WA, USA

The perception is that M. Chirac is merely repeating a pre-written script
Tarquin, Sweden
In Sweden, the perception is that M. Chirac is merely repeating a pre-written script, determined before the events of last week even happened. The speed with which Britain (as president of the EU) has capitalised on this atrocity, and secured the agreement of its fellow EU leaders into the bargain, seems almost too much of a coincidence to be true. M. Chirac may be right that no country is safe from terrorism, but in my country which (rightly I now realise) declined to join the euro, it really does look as though European leaders are reading from a script, and cynically making hay from the results for an EU that is dying. We really need to keep our ears open to what gets said in the wake of this.
Tarquin, Sweden

Unfortunately, I think Chirac is right. No country is safe from the terrorist. To fight this "war" we must convince all societies and religions that extremism is not acceptable and we all need to be tolerant of each other.
Paul Robinson, Grimsby, England

Yes, I agree with his comments. It is interesting though that France has now re-instigated its border controls; all to EU countries. Should we in the UK be considering this?
Tom, Ipswich, UK

President Chirac is right - it doesn't take a genius to see that. The problem with simply saying that the world is at risk, and alternatively doing something about it are very separate things. While I don't agree with the war on Iraq to 'defeat the terrorists on their soil', and it's obviously done nothing, I'd rather see proactive steps in promoting education, democracy, and the freedom of expression and religion that is so widely accepted in the Western world.
Shayaan Faruqi, New Jersey, USA

What's not to agree with? He's just stated two facts.
Stuart Dent, UK

When the terrorists strike, not only do nationals of that country suffer but people from other countries who are there are also killed. The 9/11 issue affected the whole world.
Paulson Yeluzi, Accra, Ghana

Chirac warning for Bastille Day
14 Jul 05 |  Europe

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