Thursday, March 25, 2004

Here's a rather joyful Spanish nationalist editorial from today's Vanguardia, on page 2, signed by the high muckety-muck Director himself, Jose Antich.

Less than half an hour of the meeting between Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and the American secretary of state Colin Powell, at the end of the state funerals held yesterday in Madrid, was enough for the next Prime Minister to teach the Bush Administration the new rules of the game. In the first place, there will be a withdrawal of the Spanish troops in Iraq if the UN does not have control of the country by then. Zapatero insisted that he had made an electoral promise before 3/11 and that the terrible bombing committed in Madrid would not change his position. Although Powell already knew the decision of the next Spanish prime minister, for the Bush Administration the stopwatch has already started in order to give a necessary role to the UN, if it does not want to see the more than inevitable medium-term collapse of the international coalition in Iraq. Zapatero's position, welcome to Chirac and Schroder, also present in Madrid, will shake up the European chessboard and resituate Spain in the Franco-German axis, to the detriment of the Atlantic axis on which Aznar had based his foreign policy over the last few years. It is no accident that yesterday in the Moncloa [Aznar's residence] only Powell, Blair, and Polish prime minister Leszek Miller came to visit.

Oh, Zap's Spain is going to teach the Yankees a lesson, is it? Look: America hates to lose Spain as an ally, but if that's what Zap wants, that's what he's going to get. Spain is what we wargamers think of as a "desirable but not necessary" ally. Sorry to see y'all leave, but, hey, if you've decided you're going, don't let the door hit you in the ass. I imagine they will figure out some sort of formula, possibly some kind of UN command for non-Anglo-American forces in Iraq. That'll put those guys in the role of blue helmets and we'd have to occupy their areas (the northern parts of Shiite Iraq, very peaceful) militarily in order to actually have some law enforcement / security control over the zone, since they wouldn't actually be able to shoot at any malefactors in that case. But everybody's face will get saved.

Antich's last sentence is a shot at Aznar, by the way: after the state funeral, attended by dignitaries from all over the world, the only people who went to visit Aznar personally were Powell, Blair, and close ally Poland's Miller. Everyone else was kissing Zap's butt.

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