Check out this article on military contracts in Iraq coming Spain's way. Good move by the Administration, demonstrating to the pro-Americans that America and the Administration appreciate Spain's role on the international scene as America's stalwart ally. It demonstrates to the neutrals that there are at the very least pragmatic advantages to siding with the Americans, and that the Americans are trustworthy allies who keep their promises. And it's just another slap in the face for the anti-Americans. They're going to be so pissed off. (Link from USS Clueless.)
In the same vein, here's a paragraph from Den Beste at USS Clueless (he's one of the best commentators on foreign affairs I know of):
In looking for international allies to try to restrain America and protect himself against invasion, Saddam bet the farm on the French, Germans and Russians and the UN. He bet on the idea that it was somehow possible to force America to act in certain ways against its will, that it was possible for diplomacy in the UN to block American military action. After Bush and Blair and Aznar publicly made their announcement last March that they had given up on the UN and would attack anyway, Saddam lost that bet. And his ignominious capture a week ago made clear just how poor of a bet it had really been, and just how badly he had lost.
It's a pretty good paragraph that's part of a typically very good piece, but I reproduced it because of the name I put in italics. Right up there with George Bush and Tony Blair. (The world always forgets gutsy Prime Minister Durao Barroso of Portugal, the guy who actually hosted the summit meeting in the Azores.) A regular American guy with a good deal of knowledge and good sense, Steven den Beste, ranks Aznar and Spain right up there among the leaders and countries that count. If he thinks that way, then I'll bet a lot of people in positions of power are thinking something similar. Just another reason for us to consider Jose Maria Aznar the best Spanish leader since Philip the Second; he's raised Spain to a level of international influence it hadn't had since about Felipe Segundo's reign.
It's a damn shame that Aznar is stepping down, but he made a promise eight years ago (that he'd only serve two four-year terms), and he's living up to it. I have a good deal of confidence in Mariano Rajoy, Aznar's successor. And I think we would be a bunch of total and complete fools if we did not vote for Rajoy and the People's Party, the PP, the center-right party, in the upcoming March general election. Spain counts internationally. Let's keep it that way.