21 September 2008

McCain and Spain

here's the rub:

At an Ibero-American summit meeting earlier this year in Chile, Chavez was complaining about Zapatero's conservative predecessor, Jose Maria Aznar, who was close to Bush and sent Spanish troops to Iraq. Zapatero challenged him in a polite and gentlemanly manner, ...

my guess is that in his comments to Spain's Union Radio, Sen. McCain had a senior moment and blanked on who Zapatero is. But who knows. McCain may have confused Zapatero with the Mexican dissidents in Chiapas, the Zapatistas, which would make sense because McCain suddenly began extolling the virtues of the Mexican government.

But unless one argues that McCain's miscue indicates dementia, the important comments came afterward from his Foreign Policy advisers who asserted a hard line on Zapatero.

As the McCain camp, then, continues to signal to the international community Senator McCain’s intention to conduct foreign policy in a manner consistent with the Bush administration (i.e. you are with us or against us), Washington’s conservative hawks evidently still find Zapertero’s withdrawal of Spanish forces in Iraq too much to swallow.

In the logic of Bush, Zapatero betrayed us so that our treating him as a friend would betray those nations, such as Poland, who have stuck with us.

The fact that Zapatero went toe to toe with Chavez defending Bush in a public event amounts to a distinction that doesn't make a difference.

Once we understand the ramifications of the international relations policies the Republicans present us, we can have a healthy debate about the extent to which (and the manner in which) we ought to enforce our alliances.

At which stage, a good place to start might be with George Washington's parting wisdom:

...permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded....

But don't hold your breath because as a new study demonstrates, American conservatives are more easily frightened than their Liberal counterparts.

And unfortunately for all of us, the cowards hold power.