Who is Bernard Kouchner?

You could be forgiven for thinking that it is only on the British and American left that there has been a strong division over Iraq and big debate over the whole question of intervention.

The same discussions are going on across the European left and one of the most interesting figures to have emerged is French Socialist Bernard Kouchner, founder of Medicine Without Frontiers. As well as being on the correct side of the debate, he also happens to be hugely popular in France.

Here’s a profile of him from the International Herald Tribune.

A French politician who approved of regime change in Iraq, a former health minister who admits to having practiced euthanasia, a United Nations administrator who hates bureaucracy – who exactly is Bernard Kouchner?

And from the same source here is an interview with him from before the war in Iraq where he makes a proper criticism of Chirac from the left.

This is Kouchner’s tribute to the UN staff killed in the terrorist attack in Baghdad with some of his thoughts on the threat the fanatics pose.

As Gene said some weeks ago. Kouchner gives lie to those on the American right-wing who write off Old Europe despite never having made a real effort to engage progressive French and German opinion

He is also evidence that the reformation of the left is by no means restricted to the English-speaking world. He is certainly one to watch.