Monday, March 15, 2004

I'm taking a break from grading (and grading is causing me to take a break from sleeping) and noticed the Spanish elections.

The results are HUGE. One obvious issue is that the voters seemed to have been motivated not just by last week's attacks in Madrid but also by a desire to get revenge on the conservatives for joining in the "coalition of the willing". Aznar (the former PM) was not exactly well loved anyway, so there are lots of reasons behind his party's defeat, but the net result is that (at least indirectly) the anti-war types have toppled a government. That is interesting, to say the least.

And on a not-unrelated front: this may mean that Spain will rejoin "old Europe" (especially France and Germany) on EU issues in general and the relationship between the EU and the US in particular. Again, HUGE.

I see this discussion already floating around, so I'll join in: if the attacks were done by Al Quaeda (or some related folks), surely they were not hoping for this result. I'm no terrrorist, but if I were one of those dudes I would have been hoping that the attacks would provoke a "kill 'em all" response from the Spanish public and a ringing endorsement of the incumbents. Isn't escalation what they want? If it is, they probably aren't going to get it. If it isn't, what might be going on?

Anyway, I'm feeling very Spanish right now. I wonder how Tony Bliar and John Howard are feeling. I wonder if anybody's even told Dubyah what's going on.


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