Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French philosopher and the author of over 30 books, including works of philosophy, fiction, and biography. He began his career as a war reporter for Combat - the legendary newspaper founded by Albert Camus during the Nazi occupation of France - for which he covered the war between Pakistan and India over Bangladesh, and gained international renowned in 1994 for his documentary, Bosnia! Lévy is also the founder of the New Philosophers group. His 1977 book Barbarism with a Human Face launched an unprecedented controversy over the European left's complicity with totalitarianism. Lévy's cultural commentary, novels and journalism have continued to stir up such excitement that The Guardian noted he is "accorded the kind of adulation in France that most countries reserve for their rock stars."
Question: Do you regret voting against Nicolas Sarkozy?
Bernard Henri Levy: It is not the biggest pride of my life. It is not the biggest glory I have, but I don’t regret it. Not at all. I tell you why. The only reason I could have had to vote for Sarkozy is what he said, in general and to me in particular, this makes the first pages of the book, of “Left In Dark Times,” what he said about foreign policy. He was supposed to lead the first foreign policy, more balanced between the Arab countries and Israel, more balanced about America, and much more strong and militant on the topic of human rights. He said during the campaign, for example, that China would, if he was elected, would find a real adversary in his person. He said that Putin should not be treated with a sort of kindness and indulgence we had. He said that every single oppressed, repressed, offended woman in the world will find in France shelter and a new fatherland. All that was, none of that happened. When Ayan Hirsi Ali, this oppressed lady, condemned to death by some radical Muslim groups came to France to ask for protection, she was politely said to go elsewhere, which she did. She went to America. Putin, Sarkozy were the first with Ahmadinejad, I must say, with Ahmadinejad. The first to congratulate him when his party won the last election at the Russian congress, which [IB] nobody did it, only Ahmadinejad, Sarkozy, and then Sarkozy, feeling a little uncomfortable with Ahmadinejad, asked his friend [IB] to give a phone call to in order to be [IB]. China, look at the question of Tibet. Human rights in China, Olympic games. We could have gone. Maybe it was right to go to the Olympic games, but using the leverage of our acceptation, acceptance in order to obtain some results which Sarkozy again did not do. So, all the promises of Sarkozy, which could be appealing during the campaign were not held at all. So, I fear to have to say that I don’t… I confess that I don’t regret not voting for him.