Monday, March 22, 2004

Tim Blair has invited Franco Aleman and Golan from HispaLibertas to post in English on his site, so go check it out already. They link to this article from the Wall Street Journal by Andre Glucksmann which you also need to read. No Pasaran, whose title I feared until I saw their logo of Che with Mickey Mouse ears, has a translation of an interview with Glucksmann and other good stuff.

Here's an excellent article by Pablo Pardo, the US correspondent for El Mundo, trying to explain Spain's recent vote to Americans. It's really a very good piece. I disagree with Pardo on one point. He is right when he says that Spain does not understand the process of growing international interdependence that is called "globalization"; Spaniards often think they can pick and choose, selecting the aspects of globalization that they like and rejecting those they don't. So, for example, many Spaniards see no contradiction between enjoying the modern conveniences and pleasures of life (and Spaniards are good at enjoying things) that globalization brings them and the politically correct peacenik Third Worldist slogans they like to shout.

What happened between March 11 and March 14 was a master job of manipulation of the Spanish people, pulled off by both moderate and extremist segments of the Left, in which it was made clear to everybody that globalization has its risks. The majority of the Spanish people decided, foolishly and cravenly in my opinion, that these risks were unacceptable. Pardo tries to deodorize this dead herring but he just can't, it stinks so high. The Spaniards voted to bail on the Coalition and there's just no hiding it.

Now, there are several possible answers to the question of why the Spaniards are susceptible to fears of the risks of globalization. One is they historically haven't been very globalized, as Pardo points out. They're not used to having to deal with the complexities of international interconnectedness, and they often think that some combination of pacifism, solidarity with the poor, and a great faith in the virtues of dialogue is enough to get by in this world.

Two reasons for this might be that a nasty civil war was fought within living memory, and that the post-Franco democracy was born out of agreement and cooperation between almost all political forces, including ex-Franquistas, moderate democrats, and leftist parties, united in their determination not to have a second civil war. (The Basque Nationalists were just about the only people who didn't agree.) Those are two lessons right here at home about the evils of violence and the virtues of dialogue.

A third one is that the post-WW II development of the European Union may have had its many faults, but it has kept those damn Europeans from killing each other by the millions again and dragging us into it, so that's seen as another triumph of sweet reason and dialogue. (The other lesson that the Spaniards haven't learned is that peace, solidarity, and the like are only feasible when they are protected by large missiles and people willing to use them if necessary.) The trouble with the lessons they have learned is they only work when you're dealing with people who have learned to play by the same rules you have. You can't just decide you're going to opt out of international conflict if the other guy doesn't give you a chance to opt.

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