Monday, August 30, 2004

AM I THE ONLY ONE who finds this is a bit of a faulty logic?
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will host informal summit talks with French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Madrid on 13 September, his office said Monday.

A spokesman said the talks were expected to focus on international questions but added that Zapatero had no ambition to create "a Paris-Berlin-Madrid axis" in place of the "Paris-Berlin axis which is the driving force of the European Union".
I mean, it's one thing to have a policy of not planning to set up a rival axis. For example deciding not to create, say, a London-Madrid axis (I know this is unthinkable given Blair's policies, it's just for the sake of the argument) as an alternative to counter the Paris-Berlin axis. Regardless its merits or feasibility, it's a proposition that at least works at a logical level.

But, saying that you don't want to add your country to an already existing axis between France and Germany, because it's good as it is, is not having no ambition to create anything; it's directly outsourcing (surrendering, again?) your foreign policy and geostrategical interests to what others decide, Chirac and Schroeder in this case. Guess it's better than doing what Osama wants, like withdrawing the troops after the March 11 bombings, but still far from what a responsible leader should do.

And by saying it upfront you lose all bargaining power with them. Why would they come for a summit in Madrid if they know you're relinquishing your decision power? To see who picks up the tab? Plus, both Chirac and Schroeder are in a quite shaky position and may very well lose their next elections. If Zapatero gambles all his chips on them, what happens if they are succeeded by others who may not look so kindly at someone who has given them everything they wanted without asking?

Gee, I sound like grandma giving advice to a teenage girl about men.