Friday, September 19, 2008

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the ...?

Let's not generalize and call it an American thing. Maybe it's a Republican thing. Let's be even more specific, it must be a presidential candidate for the Republican party thing, as the lack of understanding of the world outside US borders does seem to be a recurrent theme. In a scene reminiscent of good ol' Dubya while running for president, John 'McBush' McCain didn't seem to know who the president of Spain was yesterday while being interviewed by a Florida affiliate of Spanish radio network Union Radio. When asked whether he would invite Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to the White House if he won in November, McBush replied: "All I can tell you is that I have a clear record of working with leaders in the hemisphere that are friends with us and standing up to those who are not. And that's judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America and the entire region." You know, he's not sure if Spain is a friend or not, let alone where Spain is located.

Of course McBush's handlers jumped to his defence, with his foreign policy advisor Randy Scheunemann claiming McBush's refusal to confirm that he'd meet with Zapatero was deliberate, lumping Zapatero together with 'radical' South American leftist leaders such as Chavez and Morales. Listen to the whole interview though, the interviewer tries to clarify McBush's statement many times. When she finally realizes the poor man is lost after the above quote she goes as far as saying: "I'm talking about the president of Spain". Really, it's lose-lose for the McBush spin camp. Either he confused where Spain was or who Zapatero was, or he feels that the friendship between Spain and the US is on a par with such countries as Venezuela and Bolivia, who have of course just recently expelled their respective American ambassadors. Maybe we should scratch the surface a little more to reveal another possible truth: The Bush doctrine will be continued if we see 4 more years of McBush. Four more years of "with us or against us". You see one of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's campaign promises in the Spanish presidential election was to pull Spanish forces out of Iraq, something he did upon entering office in 2004. Since that time, the relationship between the two countries has cooled considerably as Bush punishes a country and its leader for doing what the majority of the people wanted. But wait a minute, the man formerly known as McCain said back in an April interview that as president he would seek to repair relations with Spain. Now, I'm really confused, who is McBush and what does he believe?

Let's wind this up then with some sad geography facts. Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, one-third of young Americans recently polled couldn’t locate Louisiana on a map and nearly half were unable to identify Mississippi. Step outside the US, and it gets worse as early in the illegal Iraq invasion, in 2002, one in seven, about 13%, of Americans between the age of 18 and 24, the prime age for military service, could find Iraq, while 17% could find Afghanistan. Four years of war later, with the accompanying TV coverage to 'educate' the masses, and 63% could not find Iraq or Saudi Arabia on a map of the Middle East, and 75% could not point out Iran or Israel. 44% couldn't find any one of those four countries. It's the attitude toward knowledge of the outside world that's most astounding as fewer than 30% thought it important to know the locations of countries in the news and just 14% believe speaking another language is a necessary skill. I guess it must be nice to live in a glass cage, you get what you deserve, go on, vote McBush for four more years of ignorance.


Troy said...

If you check out the blogosphere and even the Spanish press, it seems that really the Iberians (the progressives at that) are the only ones bothered by McBush's "lapse" shall we say.

The spin of the right and then their ensuing complete silence is so indicative of a campaign that could care less about the real aspects of foreign policy. Their mission is to simply create dragons beyond their borders and if Zapatero fits into their definition, so be it.

Perhaps the most telling tale is the SpainforMcain website. My comment (that I published on my blog) wasn't even published, they allowed a few dissenting voices (like yours) but the rest simply pretended that this didn't exist. Business as usual in the dragon-creating camp.

Now, where is the next threat! Attack Christian soldiers!

Michal said...


Mariola said...

zapatero o zapatista?- this is the headline El Pais ran right after the interview. ofcourse, the problem, as u have stated is far deeper and far scarier.
Anyway, just wanted to say i really enjoy your blog. Its a brand new find for me.

keep em coming.



Shane said...

Thanks for dropping by Mariola, and for the comment. I've lived in Spain and know how much it must have hurt the Spanish psyche to learn how little their idols in America know about them. Nice photos on your blog, talk to you again soon!