Dispatches > The Buzz

Blog watch

Buzz from online journals, including www.worldmagblog.com

Issue: "Spain waves white flag," March 27, 2004

Kerry's comment

Several bloggers last week focused on John Kerry's bizarre claim that he had received endorsements from &quotforeign leaders" whose names he is not privileged to reveal. Hugh Hewitt (hughhewitt.com) was all over this story: &quotKerry and his team have made credibility an issue in the campaign, but now they are exposed as liars, and on a major issue of whether there are foreign leaders confiding in Kerry that they hope Kerry wins in November.... If Kerry lies about big things like meeting with foreign leaders, what won't he lie about? Answer: Nothing. There is a credibility gap in this campaign, and it is a Democratic problem." John Ellis (johnellis.blog spot.com) added that the story sounded like a typical Kerry tale: &quotAs oddball stories go, this one does ring true. It's classic Kerry-the grandiosity, the self-seriousness, and the weird political value judgment. Who, after all, would think that the opinion of, say, a German minister would matter in, say, Missouri? John Kerry would! If it's important to him, it's important to them.... Most everyone I know who knows Kerry thinks that he made the whole thing up.... Welcome to Kerry's world."

Marching, crawling

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3» The Madrid terror attacks and subsequent Spanish elections also captivated the blogosphere, as U.S. ally Jose Maria Aznar was voted out and socialist Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was voted in (see p. 18). Many hawkish bloggers saw this as shameless appeasement, with Steven Den Beste (denbeste.nu) leading the way in his unusually terse post on the subject: &quotThe people of Spain marched in the streets on Friday. Then they crawled on their knees into their voting booths on Sunday."

Andrew Sullivan (andrew sullivan.com) took a break from touting homosexual marriage to point out the worldwide effects this election might have: &quotThe appeasement temptation has never been greater; and it looks more likely now that Europe-as so very often in the past-will take the path of least resistance-with far greater bloodshed as a result. I'd also say that it increases the likelihood of a major bloodbath in this country before the November elections. If it worked in Spain, al-Qaeda might surmise, why not try it in the U.S.?" Mr. Sullivan also pointed out that the election validated at least an ideological connection between al-Qaeda and the Iraq war: &quotThere's the real ironic twist: if the appeasement brigade really do believe that the war to depose Saddam is and was utterly unconnected with the war against

al-Qaeda, then why on earth would

al-Qaeda respond by targeting Spain?"

Eugene Volokh (volokh.com) wrote about the problems this causes for multilateralism: &quotDoesn't it show that we can't allow our foreign policy to be vetoed by other nations? After all, if we agree that we may not do what we think is right and necessary for our national security if any one of England, France, Russia, or China says 'veto,' then our enemies can paralyze us simply by influencing one foreign country."

Meanwhile, Mr. Zapatero lost no time revealing his true feelings about Spain's allies, accusing them of &quotorganiz[ing] a war with lies." Roger L. Simon (rogerlsimon.com) responded: &quotNot cool, Senor Zapatero. You don't have to be a rocket scientist (scientifico de los cohetes?) to know when assuming office you avoid immediately and directly insulting the leaders of two nations who are supposed to be your allies (and more powerful ones at that), no matter what you might think. You don't have to do that to make your points. You use a little diplomatic savoir faire for a few weeks at least, unless of course you want to harm your own country politically and economically ... Oh, well, it seems

al-Qaeda got double for its money-a new prime minister and a nitwit."

Mr. Hewitt, however, had some kind words for the Spanish: &quotWhatever Spain does in the next year will not erase the fact that it stood with the nations with enough courage to act in March 2003. It is a traumatized country, but a valued ally in the past, the present, and the future."

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