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Spain and Terrorism

If voting pacifist socialists into government won’t appease the balaclaved goons in ETA, it’s laughable to think it would do anything to mollify the far more ruthless Islamists lusting for Andalusia. ~James Kirchick

For all the rhetoric about Al-Andalus, Islamists seem to have left Spain alone since its forces left Iraq.  It is not possible to accommodate ETA in the same way, since Madrid is not going to recognise the independence of Euskadi.  Terrorists objecting to policies can only be mollified by changes in policy.  Many people reject this in principle, but it does have a strange way of working to eliminate future terrorism (at least from one source).  In the case of ETA, negotiation would only encourage Basque nationalists to believe that they were weakening Madrid’s resolve to hold on to Basque country and give them new hope of eventually breaking away.  Since Madrid can never give the extremists what they want, eliminating the threat from ETA will be much more difficult. 

Since Mr. Kirchick is so enamoured of Aznar, he might also remember that it was Aznar’s shameless attempt to pin the Madrid bombings on ETA, so as to avoid the electoral backlash against his Iraq policy that he feared was coming, that ensured his defeat.  Aznar knew full well that it was policies adopted by his government that had provoked the slaughter of civilians in Madrid, and he was desperately looking to blame it on a long-running internal political problem.  It would appear that the Spanish are cursed to be ruled either by clowns or fools.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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