Thursday, July 14, 2005

Briefly Back to Spain: There is No War

Just before the London bombings, I took note of an article by John Vinocur in the IHT suggesting - on the basis, frankly, of scant evidence and ample speculation - that Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero might be preparing to switch allegiances from the Franco-German "axis" to the more "pro-market" and Atlantist block in the EU led by the UK. In spite of his employment by a news organization that is so frequently and sometimes wildly wrong on European matters, Vinocur enjoys a good reputation as a commentator on European politics, and on the strength of it, his article raised expectations in the pro-Atlantist sectors of the sphere. I noted that with allies like the Spanish Socialists, one would not need enemies... and promised more forthcoming.

Following the London attacks, Zapatero dutifully expressed his condolences and magnanimously pledged "the complete solidarity of the Spanish people". But leaving aside the Spanish people as such and concentrating, more modestly, on just the present Spanish government, what kind of "solidarity" can be expected from the latter? It was, after all, the present Spanish government that by satisfying the Islamists' demands and withdrawing Spanish troops from Iraq following the March 11 Madrid bombings - and doing so, indeed, as quickly as possible, as if to underscore that there was a connection between the two events - effectively opened the way to further such attacks against continuing Coalition members. Moreover, in the context of a so-called War on Terror - which on the evidence of the carnage in London deserves indeed to be called a "war", but in which the enemy is obviously not terror as such, but the Islamist extremists who systematically employ the latter as a weapon - what kind of "solidarity" can be expected from a government that would, ostensibly "on principle", deny itself the possibility of even speaking of war?

For such indeed was the gist of a proposal made by Spanish Minister of Defense José Bono before the Spanish parliament's Defense Committee last month. Claiming, in effect, that the UN Charter prohibits even the empirical existence of war - this being a, to put it mildly, extravagant interpretation of Article 2.3 of the Charter - Bono proposed to have three references to war in the Spanish Constitution struck from the text. The Spain Herald briefly summarizes the details here. It can hardly be doubted that, in making his proposal, Bono was, above all, playing to the anti-Iraq War gallery. Golan, at the time guest-blogging over at Barcepundit, usefully summarized the deep meaning of Bono's theoretical ramblings as follows: "That's how it's done, you unilateralist Yanks!".

See too the incisive and amusing analysis ("The Ministry of Defense could change its name to the Ministry of Peace") of the implications of "The Bono Doctrine" by the Spanish Strategic Studies Group (GEES) (brought into English courtesy of the Spain Herald).