Thursday, December 19, 2002

Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar visited President Bush in Washington yesterday for the third time this year, and there's a front-page color photo of the two shaking hands in today's Vanguardia. The caption to the photo noted that Aznar received "exquisite treatment, the kind given to principal allies", and said that Bush referred to Aznar as "one of the strongest world leaders against terrorism". Bush pointed out that Aznar understands the battle against terrorism "firsthand", and expressed his sympathy for the Guardia Civil murdered yesterday by ETA terrorists. Aznar and Bush agreed that they didn't believe the Iraqi report on weapons of mass destruction; they discussed the situation in the Middle East with Condoleeza Rice. Another principal topic was the economic situation in Latin America; Spain has some influence over American policy in that area, since Spain is the largest foreign investor in Latin America and what's good for Spain down there is also good for the US. Bush also expressed his sympathy for the people of Galicia suffering from the oil spill, and Christine Todd Whitman of the EPA, the American chief of Atlantic oceanography, and the head of the Coast Guard all discussed the Galicia problem with Aznar. Whitman is scheduled for an upcoming visit to the Galician coast, and America will send environmental assistance to Spain.

Great public relations on the part of the Administration. This ought to boost pro-Americanism in Spain, since Bush gave them the respect they think they deserve, demonstrated his concern for two of Spain's biggest problems (ETA and the oil spill), and offered practical help (there's an FBI team, expert in computers, working with the Spanish anti-terrorist police, and anything we can do to help with the oil spill won't be amiss). We've been saying for months they ought to do something like this. Our influence over the Administration increases daily.

By the way, they did it again; the Vangua assumes that "Todd Whitman" is the EPA director's surname. Nope. She uses just "Whitman".

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