Thursday, July 28, 2005

I'M NOT REALLY IMPRESSED with the conclusions of Blair and Zapatero's meeting yesterday in London (link by government-owned news agency EFE, and it shows). Sure, Blair formally welcomed the Alliance of Civilizations, but it looked more like a diplomatic nicety than a real commitment ("I think this is a proposal with possibilities in it that we can develop over the months to come", "I would be very surprised if people didn't support this everywhere").

Of course, this is being sold in Spain by Zapatero's administration and the friendly media as a huge victory, as a key endorsement to his earthshaking project. Thing is, since Spanish Socialists are used to calling "assassins" or "complete dickheads" to anyone they disagree with (as they did with Blair himself), when other people don't insult them back they think everything's fine and dandy. They simply don't think of the possibility that diplomacy is, well, a diplomatic thing; you have to white lie sometimes, pretending you like the person in front of you. What Blair said sounded more like the "good idea, let's talk about that some day" when you don't really want to do something but you don't want to upset the other person saying simply "no". But maybe it's just me.

In any case, the really important thing from yesterday's meeting was Zapatero's major flip flop on his central argument: that Islamic terrorism is the consequence of the Iraq war. During the joint press conference after the meeting, Zapatero said:
Beyond the positions of each country, that each country has adopted on the military intervention in Iraq, I must say that the risk is global, as we have just seen in the bombing in Egypt, to such a point that since I am President of the government, I have adopted on two occasions the decision of having the maximum alert level in our country because of a terrorist threat, this involves a very broad deployment of both military and police presence, and at present we are at this top alert level, ever since I am President of the government, and of course ever since we withdrew our troops from Iraq.

[...] I have just reiterated this, beyond the position anyone may have had regarding Iraq, my position is known to everyone. It would be the first press conference in which I wasn't asked about the issue ever since I reached government, but the terrorist threat is a threat to all, the threat from radical Islamic terrorism affects us all equally. They have attacked very different countries and therefore prevention, combat and security affects us all and involves us all.
That Islamic terrorism (particularly the March 11 bomb attacks in Madrid) was the consequence of former PM Aznar support of the war in Iraq was used over and over by the Socialist party and it's media terminal, the powerful PRISA communications conglomerate (or is it by the PRISA group and its political terminal, the Socialist party?), up to the point that you can see things like this all over the place, and not only in graffiti, but in statements by politicians and opeds in the most 'distinguished' newspapers.

So it's still to be seen how long this new idea will last in Zapatero's head -after all it's only a few days after he wrote a piece in the Financial Times saying that the root cause of terror was the vast "sea of injustice"- but at least that's something.

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