Let me offer some comments on Pat Lynch’s thoughts in “More Madrid Madness,” below.
Eighty percent of the Spanish public was against Aznar’s decision to support the US in Iraq. Many Americans, who blather on about our modest immigration appear unaware of Europe’s problems in this regard, just as we have bombed the hell out of various nations -- nukes and otherwise -- during and after WWII, killings hundreds of thousands of civilians, its collaeral damage, you know, old chap, but can become righteously indignant when it was done to us in NYC.
While Europe in general suffers from a low birth rate with immigrants coming in, Spain’s, at 1.12 is now the lowest in the world, having displaced both Germany and Italy in this regard. There has been an effort to induce Spaniards to return from Latin America, and this has worked to some small extent with respect to Cuba, Colombia, and Venezuela, where there are problems. Because of his Spanish father, Fidel Castro, for example, qualifies for a $200 subsidy, and instant citizanship, should he choose to return. Because I have Spanish paternal grandparents, I would have to stay a year before being given citizenship.
Thus, to keep enough workers paying into the system to keep the modest welfare state afloat -- sound familiar, Social Security fans? -- the Spanish are actually trying to lure Muslims back after 500 years and offering land in the process! 200,000 now reside in Spain, with a 100 mosques built in the last ten years.
In short, under such circumstances, with a country in such a population and identity crisis to the extent it must increasingly rely on Muslims from North Africa, Aznar was a damn fool to get into a confrontation in Islamic Iraq just to show his support for Bush.
In their mature phase Empires often show such declines among the old stock that originally created the wealth. Thus, in Rome, as the old Romans' birth rate declined, some have argued due to ingesting lead in their diets, and the Jews (10%) and others came in to join the Legions, etc., Augustus Caesar pleaded with the aristocratic Senate to beget more children. Too busy with the night life of the Gods seems to have been the reply!
Also, while the US has almost totally bought into the centralized, bureaucratic Statism that has been the hallmark of ALL Empires, the Spanish, quite apart from the Basque separatists, who are in a minority even there, have been redeveloping a regionalism that would have been the envy of the early American Confederation. Much of Europe is moving against Brussels centralism.
I guess the Imperialist Intellectual, Samuel P. Huntington, may be correct about Hispanics just not having the right genes for continuing the centralized Empire. My one grandfather was an Asturian anarchist who sold his yacht, with which he had run rum into Florida during Prohibition, in order raise funds to oppose Franco, and my other grandparents, from Alabama, descended from Confederate soldiers.
All I can say is, “Viva España, You all!”