Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Axis Of Weasels: Old Europe Is Like New Again

Zapatero's mini summit in Madrid yesterday, where he met with Axis of Weasels chairman 'Blaque' Jacques Chirac and honorary member Chancellor Schroeder of Germany, provided yet another embarrasing moment for freedom loving Spaniards everywhere, for a number of reasons. First, Zapatero could not resist to euphorically call out that "Old Europe is like new again" (I'm sure Blaque Jacques liked hearing that description again).

"Hold me! I'm scared!"
The Axis is also famous within Europe for its love for dividing the spoils of the European Union among themselves, as the three are the main beneficiaries of EU subsidies. A point of discussion for Zapatero, who according to true Marxist common wisdom wanted to assure that Spain's subsidies are safe and maintained at the same levels for at least the next ten years, even though with the recent expansion there are a lot more needy countries trying to reform their economies. We're all equal, but some are more equal than others.

An informant of ours, who works at the Foreign Ministry in The Hague tells us that all this does not go down well with the current EU's chairman, the Netherlands. We saw a funny remark in an internal report on the meeting here, which listed all the possible subjects the three might talk about, but that Zapatero's 'monolinguistic limitations' would probably call for the need to prioritize, due to the word-for-word translations. Apart from Spanish, Mr. Zapatero speaks no other languages, although if you would count Spain's other official languages, he just might. As a side note, rather than learn to speak English, his government yesterday formally applied with the EU that Valencian, Basque and Catalan are adopted as official languages within the EU bureaucracy. Brussels will reach a point where there will be more translators than members of parliament present at its sessions.

Zapatero was careful not to repeat his earlier statements on how Iraq would have a better future, if all countries with troops on the ground would follow Spain's lead and pull out. Statements upon the Foreign Minister inmediately had to dispatch its number two to the American Embassy, which called for an explanation. Zapatero is already back-peddling on them, saying now that they were just some 'critical thoughts' (link in Spanish). For which he happened to choose a joint press conference with the president of Tunisia. Thoughts, I might add, one day before the 9/11 commemoration, and on the same day Iraqi hostage takers called again on Italy to pull out its troops, or its hostages would be killed.

But the main point of this post is that, though Zapatero is anxious to show itself back into the columns of 'Old Europe', truth is that his new friends carry little weight in the world nowadays. With Russia's departure of the Axis, although for now on issues like preventive strikes at terrorists everywhere, its stance on Iran and Iraq have not changed yet, and a lame duck Schroeder who is likely to be replaced by a pro-American Chancellor in 2006. Which leaves France on which Zapatero has pinned all his hopes. But history has shown that France as an ally can not be relied upon.

To stay with the Chuck Jones dig at Chirac, "La France? She change her mààind"