Wednesday, March 17, 2004

More on al-Qeada's Spanish Victory

“I am ashamed of being a Spaniard. We have just surrendered on behalf of the whole West. This is a real tragedy for all; now they know what works.”

Well, the Spanish elections on Sunday have sure sparked quite the intellectual debate around the blogsphere and - gasp - even the mainstream media. In today's WaPo, Anne Applebaum takes aim at the psychological ramifications for the War on Terror. (Hat tip: Porphy):
"Spain's announcement that it intends, in effect, to abandon the fragile "new European" coalition in Iraq is a blow to the notion of a unified West, and a great boost for those German and French politicians who have long dreamed of creating a Europe that is not a partner of the United States but a political and economic rival.

In part, this has happened for reasons beyond our control. Despite trade, tourism and European Union membership, Spain is a country that participated only peripherally in the two world wars and the Cold War. Its present anti-Americanism is deeply intertwined with the "anti-globalization" sentiments that so many young Spaniards have expressed for many years. Last week's bombings surely caused Spaniards to ask whether their government had dragged them too close to the United States and too far from the comfortable isolationism of recent memory."
Whatever the reasons for the upset election, this has to be seen (regardless, if you're on the right or left) as a victory for al-Qeada. Not only did their bombs overthrow a democratically elected Western government, but the new government promises to withdraw all 1,300 troops from Iraq. And now, Honduras and El Salvador appear to be running scared too. This amounts to the begining of a political rout.

Indeed, we will lose about 2,500 of a 150,000 man international contingent, which is a drop in the bucket. But let there be no doubt that this is even more then al-Qeada could've hoped for. I have a feeling that ultimately, history will view the Spanish Popular Party defeat as a major blow to the War on Terror and a turning point in how terrorists will operate from now on.