November 12, 2004

News from the Rift

London's Telegraph reports that the Spanish media are blasting Prime Minster José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero as the anti-American asshat that he is.

The Spanish Socialist prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, yesterday faced a barrage of derision over his government's anti-Americanism following a snub by President George W Bush.

Mr Zapatero was one of the first premiers to send a congratulatory telegram to Mr Bush after his election victory last week.

But, in what was a stinging confirmation of the poor state of relations between Washington and Madrid, he has yet to receive a reply.

Mr Zapatero had also telephoned Mr Bush before the election result was made official but was not put through to the president.

Spain's newspaper columnists, the opposition People's Party and satirists have made much of the silence between Washington and Madrid.

Mr Zapatero wrote himself firmly into the White House's black books by accusing Mr Bush and Tony Blair of lying over the reasons for going to war with Iraq.

In the summer he immediately honoured an election pledge to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq.

He then backed John Kerry in the presidential election and cancelled a standing invitation for US forces to participate in Spain's annual military parade.

Anti-war policies may be popular with the public, but even supportive sections of the media have said that the prime minister's anti-American stance had gone too far.

Most sectors of the Spanish press concluded that the telephone spat was “infantile” but that Mr Zapatero needed to act fast to recover Spain's loss of face abroad.
Zapatero's political opponents in the next election can make a plausible case that he “pushed our allies away.”

Posted by Michael J. Totten at November 12, 2004 11:31 AM

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