CAN'T AGREE MORE:
My friends in Spain chalk this one up to what they call "la gran gilipollez" of Spanish foreign policy - the great jackass-ness. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and FM Jimenez have put themselves in the business of manufacturing excuses. When they discover that Hugo Chavez is providing safe haven and training to seriously dangerous members of ETA, they politely pretend like it's no big deal - and even go out of their way to declare that Venezuela has no political prisoners. When Cuba restricts the travel rights of dissidents, Jimenez talks about the need for reflection. When Morocco commits genocide in the Western Sahara, Zapatero simply demures, while on issues of global importance such as human rights, nuclear proliferation, and terrorism, he is simply at a loss. Other than some notoriety for their vocal opposition to recognition of Kosovo (thanks to the Basques, Spain should be a natural ally of Georgia?), the biggest criticism of Spanish foreign policy is that it does not exist, having created such a low profile that isolationism is interpreted as cowardice - hence "la gran gilipollez."