Monday, September 11, 2006

Did 9-11 Produce A Different Spain?

In amongst all the usual acres of newsprint that get produced every year on the anniversary of September 11th 2001, I noticed an interesting piece by Santos Juliá in yesterday's El País about the effect which the event and its aftermath has had on Spanish politics.

In this blog I have been writing quite frequently about this new Spanish right that has emerged ,embracing the "war on terror", supporting Israel in its military adventures, and generally adopting what we can (slightly lazily) call the neocon agenda. Juliá makes the point that this switch is largely a result of 9-11 and the decision by Jose Maria Aznar to align Spanish foreign policy with that of the Bush administration.

What are they so happy about?

So what would have happened if 9-11 hadn't happened? The conclusion is that Aznar would not have been photographed with Blair and Bush in the Azores, smiling idiotically as war was declared. The Iraq war might still have happened, I have never bought the argument that it had any relationship to 9-11; but Aznar might not have felt the temptation to involve his country against the will of the vast majority. The Madrid train bombings, or something similar, could still possibly have happened, but with no Iraq involvement perhaps Aznar and his party would not have felt the need to try and manipulate the situation to their own advantage and as a result could even have remained in power?

All speculative stuff, but the impact on our lives is undoubtedly significant, last year I came across a couple of Guardian Weeklies from 2000 that I hadn't had time to read when they arrived. I flicked through them, and was struck by how different everything seemed in 2000; not least because the world, for all its problems, seemed to be a lot safer than it does 5 years after 9-11.

No comments: