Saturday, March 13, 2004

Spanish Dilemma

The arrests that indicate Islamist origin of the Madrid atrocity and all that happening barely 12 hours before national elections only show how complicated and dangerous world has become.

Under normal circumstances, I would have been delighted with the prospect of Aznar's PP being voted out of office. Aznar's government has embroiled Spain in Iraq war against the will of overwhelming majority of Spanish people. Nothing could be more democratic than people having opportunity to force their will by ballots.

However, after Thursday's carnage, I'm not so enthusiastic about PP being defeated at the polls.

Whether Aznar's government deserves to be booted or not isn't the issue here. The question that is going to be answered tomorrow is the issue of Spain (and Western Europe in general) having a stomach for policies that might be unpleasant, hard or detrimental to the high living standards and prosperity generations of Spaniards (and Western Europeans) were taking for granted.

In other words, if Spanish voters, as many analysts and pundits have predicted, react to the Islamist origin of assassins by linking the atrocity with Iraq War and voting against Aznar, that would be a clear sign that the collective will of an entire nation could be swayed by a small number of fanatics.

This evening's demonstrations in front of PP offices show that the terrorists have at least partially achieved that aim. Thousands of Spaniards, instead of blaming the terrorists, are taking the easy way and blame the government. And break Spanish electoral laws in the process. Spanish democracy has suffered first major wound in this struggle.


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