José María Aznar

In the current issue of Imprimis, former Prime MInister of Spain, José María Aznar, has advice on the problems facing Europe;

Another widely held belief, especially among Europeans, is that the allegedly simplistic, aggressive and imperialist reaction to September 11 by President George W. Bush’s administration has only served to fan the flames of anti-Western resentment and violence. Advocates of this view also believe that poverty is the result of the American system’s Wild West- style capitalism. What is more, they claim that if the United States had acted with the wisdom and tact that characterizes Europeans-supposedly acquired through centuries of internal squabbling and intrigue-the situation would be better today. These views are also grossly mistaken.

I hardly need to point out the fact that Bin Laden’s crusade dates back to long before President Bush entertained any presidential ambitions, although this matters little to anti-American minds. The current occupant of the White House represents to them nothing more than an evangelical radicalization of Bill Clinton, being the representative of the supposedly ultra-conservative American heartland.

In reply, I have only this to say, and it is something of which I am entirely convinced: Weakness only encourages terrorists to continue perpetrating their atrocities. And let us not forget, there is no greater success for terrorists than that of being able to continue their operations. The weak responses of the 1980s and 90s consisted of reacting to one Islamic terrorist attack after another with gestures rather than firm measures. We Europeans have always preferred to look the other way, in the false and comfortable belief that Bin Laden and others like him are punishing the Americans for their policies, rather than for what they are and what they represent. During the Cold War, we told ourselves that if a nuclear confrontation should actually take place, it would pass over our heads and scarcely affect us. Something similar has happened in the case of Islamic fundamentalism: all of its venom is directed against America, so we imagine that we can again sleep easily.

He offers solutions.

FILED UNDER: Europe, General, , ,
Kate McMillan
About Kate McMillan
Kate McMillan is the proprietor of small dead animals, which has won numerous awards including Best Conservative Blog and Best Canadian Blog. She contributed nearly 300 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and June 2007. Follow her on Twitter @katewerk.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    I fear that the last of his points, strengthening trans-Atlantic ties with a revitalized NATO, will be problematic. We’re continuing to modernize our military; the major European powers are cutting back sharply on their military spending. We’ve got a 21st century army. Do they?

    NATO is a military alliance and the prevailing ethos in Europe appears to be that there’s no need for such an alliance.

  2. spencer says:

    If you believe weakness only encourages terrorists – something I agree with — why in the world do you support a President that believes his tax cuts for the wealthy are more important then winning the war on terror.

    When is Bush going to take it seriously? So far all he has managed to achieve is replacing a secular dictatorship in Iraq with a schiite theoracy — a real sign of progress on defeating the radical terrorists.

    Ben Laden must thank Allah every day for having such a stupid enemy as Bush.

  3. Boyd says:

    Forgive me for not being able to point to hard evidence, Spencer, but I heard recently that, despite tax cuts, tax revenues have increased over 2005.

    Someone more steeped in economics than me would probably know where to find such information, but at any rate, it seems a stretch to connect tax cuts to making America seem weak to terrorists.

  4. McGehee says:

    Spencer — are you saying I’m wealthy?

    …’cause I sure as hell got a tax cut. Didn’t you?