It’s day two of the great George W. Bush re-election wake (since his victory only became definitive on Wednesday the 3rd – day Zero); time to search for some sort of intelligent word about what it all might mean from the German press, perhaps from the highly-respected Die Zeit. There we find, as lead article, what is basically a Teutonic riff on the “two nations” theme out of the election results, in Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff’s article The United Half-Nations. Maybe you’ve already drunk up all the English-language commentary on the 2004 presidential election that you have been able to find, and so are sick of hearing about this thesis and watching it quickly approach the status of a cliché. But if you can still stand it, the German perspective on it here is somewhat intriguing. (more…)
As you all well know, almost-simultaneous bombs set off in several Madrid commuter trains during the morning rush-hour last Thursday killed over 200 people, and wounded many, many more. Then Spanish general elections followed on Sunday; in a result that took many observers by surprise, the Spanish Socialist and Workers’ Party, i.e. the opposition, emerged as the winner, with that party’s leader, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, posed to take over as prime minister instead of the hand-picked successor (Mariano Rajoy) to José Maria Aznar of the ruling (right-wing) Partido Popular.
Aznar of course had been one of US President George W. Bush’s stoutest allies when it came to the War in Iraq, and 1,300 Spanish troops are still stationed in the Polish sector there. Mounting evidence suggests that last Thursday’s massacres on the rail-lines of Madrid were the work of some sort of Arab-linked terrorist organization; so that the thought has come to not-a-few that Spain was being punished for that support for the US with these attacks, and that the Spanish electorate reacted to them drastically by removing the regime that would bring this sort of punishment down on them.
So: Is Aznar’s loss a victory for terrorists? That question is posed in an on-line article by Kathleen Knox from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. It is answered in the affirmative in today’s New York Times by regular columnist David Brooks – he asks in his column Al Qaeda’s Wish List “What is the Spanish word for appeasement?”, although he also claims to be resisting the conclusion that “swing Spanish voters are shamefully trying to seek a separate peace in the war on terror.” That’s basically the same answer given by Edward Luttwak, on the very same NYT Op-Ed page, in Rewarding Terror in Spain, which starts out “It must be said: Spanish voters have allowed a small band of terrorists to dictate the outcome of their national elections.” (But the NYT editorial board disagrees.)
But that’s all English-language; you already know about all that. Let’s check what the German press has to say. (more…)
It’s a bully pulpit, this weblog, here at my disposal on those occasions when I want to react publicly to something I’ve read on the Net. By the nature of things, though, that inevitably means a bias against excellent articles that I might otherwise want to recommend to you, if they’re not European and in a foreign language – it’s not worth going “off-Eurosavant-topic,” you see – and towards pointing you to terrible articles that I just have to argue against. And so it would be with regret that I would let you know of the column Dreams and Glory by David Brooks, were it not for the audience of millions that its posting yesterday on the New York Time’s Op-Ed pages inevitably assured it. (However, in a couple of days it disappears behind the Times’ “paid content” wall, so I’ll try to include many representative quotes for those who are reading this late.) (more…)