The (PSOE) Socialist party may have won the Spanish elections yesterday, but Al—Qaeda was the real victor and you can bet they've been at the non—alcoholic bubbly all night long. While those of us who support the war on terror need to remember the victims of the Madrid bombings, let's not mince our words with regard to the collective knee—jerk reaction of Spain's electorate and the now—ruling Socialists.
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the soon—to—be Spanish Prime Minister, was up bright and early this morning, skipping to the tune of appeasement. He declared categorically that all 1400 of Spain's troops in Iraq would be home by June, and just for good measure, added that the Iraq war had been a total catastrophe. Spain will now fall back to the comfortable addiction of neutrality —— a tried and tested posture they perfected during the last world war.
It's also important to note that Jose Maria Aznar, Spain's former PM as of today, was complicit in the Socialists' election win. His attempt to blame ETA for what was clearly Al—Qaeda's handiwork backfired spectacularly. It was a heinous manipulation of the facts and he, his party, and the rest of the US—led coalition will suffer because of it. Perhaps if he had been honest from the start and articulated perseverance ——ala Tony Blair —— the Spanish electorate might have stood firmer and not been bowed by terrorism. Instead, he handed the Spanish electorate an extra reason to boot him out of office. History will not be kind to Senor Aznar.
So as the Spaniards revert to type, and Al—Qaeda put on their party hats. What does all this mean for the war on terror and the political landscape of Europe?
For a start, expect more massacres in Europe. When a democratic nation buckles to the will of terrorists, it facilitates the kind of weakness on which Al—Qaeda thrives. The UK, Italy, Portugal and Poland will now be prime targets for more mass murder. Al—Qaeda has apparently decided —— as demonstrated by the Madrid and Moscow attacks —— that security on rail transport systems is extremely vulnerable. Securing tens of thousands of miles of train tracks across Europe is going to be expensive, difficult and time consuming.
Al—Qaeda's victory in Spain also has profound implications within the current tug—of—war underway for the heart of European power. Spain's new Socialist government will defect to France and Germany's 'Old Europe', leaving Tony Blair's European alliance in a weaker position when negotiating at the EU. The European draft constitution, which was blocked by a Conservative Spanish government, probably will now be welcomed by Spain's shiny new Socialists.
Poland, which also objected to the French and German proposals on new EU voting rights, may find itself in a very lonely position and may not want to appear as the sole EU constitution party pooper. If Poland also acquiesces to the will of 'Old Europe', that will leave only Tony Blair in a position to put the brakes on the EU constitution. But don't hold your breath. Blair has stated his support for the constitution and doesn't believe the British public deserves a say on this issue, in the form of a referendum.
This, in turn, will affect the relationship between the EU and the US. Spain's continental drift into the arms of France and Germany will buoy their belief that coalition allies can be peeled away from the bosom of the world's only superpower. This will give 'Old Europe' a second wind, and their exploitation of the events in Spain should be expected.
Of course, the anti war crowd will be delighted with Spain. They will argue the case of appeasement logic —— that had the Spanish never committed to Iraq, none of this would ever have happened. The problem with that strand of deep thinking is that the Spanish did not drop any bombs in Iraq, nor kill any Iraqis (as far as I'm aware) and, if anything, played a very limited role in the Iraq War. Spain was basically punished for trying to help Iraqis re—build their own country after decades of Saddam Hussein's brutal dictatorship. So if Spain did make a mistake by joining the US led coalition in the first place, her second mistake of crumpling in the face of Al—Qaeda is a far greater one, and will have lethal consequences for the rest of us.
Spain has bought itself no immunity from future attack. Avenging the reconquista of Spain, reversing the 'tragedy of Andalusia,' remains one of the deep goals of Islamic fundamentalism, as articulated by Osama bin Laden. Once territory falls to the sword of Mohammed, it must remain Muslim forever, in the eyes of the fanatics. The recent Spanish gesture of healing, allowing the opening of an impressive mosque in Granada, the first Spanish mosque allowed since the Fifteenth Century bought the Spanish precisely nothing in the way of protection from attack.
Having now been nourished by a delicious serving of Spanish capitulation, the terrorists are stronger. Having tasted the ambrosia of victory, they will soon be back at the table of terror, demanding an even bigger portion of blood.
Michael Morris writes for The American Thinker from London