In short, Chirac's strategy has been a consistent policy of appeasement.
The only voice of reason coming from within the French government these days seems to be French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. He echoed the views of many in the West when he said he preferred an "excess of cartooning than an excess of censorship."
He also dropped some uncomfortably accurate names for the rioters.
The French are discovering two things: First, massive immigration since the 1960s has changed the population dynamics of France, where there are now between 6 and 8 million Muslims living (and maybe more as all governments hide figures for fear of a nationalist vote); Second, "The crisis of Islam," to refer to the last book of Bernard Lewis, concerns not only Muslims living in Iran or Saudi Arabia but also those in the Western world.
So it seems that while Jacques Chirac can't get upset about the disgraceful conduct of its Muslim immigrants, he can get mad about one thing - when someone speaks english in his presence.
BRUSSELS - President Jacques Chirac said he had been so shocked to hear a fellow Frenchman speak English at a European Union summit that he had felt compelled to leave the room.