Last night I heard Spain’s former Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, at the Lowy Institute, a local think-tank. The subject of the speech, “Reinventing the West”, promised to bring any number of rhetorical flourishes and the evening didn’t disappoint. The Australian reports some of his quotes:
“Exiting Iraq without achieving stability will leave Iraq at the mercy of its neighbours, where there are terrorists at work. And if they win in Iraq, they won’t stop there. Radicals of all sorts will secure a fatal blow against the West.”
“The future of the Western world depends on its ability to successfully counter the threat of terrorism. I think the West is going through a serious crisis; an existential one, possibly. Our society is morally confused, strategically divided and politically weakened.”
Aznar’s talk was actually embarrassing. The fairly conservative group seemed to generally lap it up – one audience member asked the former prime minister if it was likely the West would “oomph it up” in the coming years against Islamic terror – but his analysis was shallow beyond belief. To glowingly quote George W. Bush’s “freedom agenda” and not acknowledge, let alone understand, the vast damage done to international relations since 2000 is living in a Murdoch-induced fantasy (Aznar is on the News Limited board.)
Iraq is not winnable in any rational sense of the word. In fact, the war was lost years ago and so-called American prestige is actually about imposing its will on hapless nations in the Middle East. The US has never been more loathed around the world (and Israel and North Korea are not far behind.)
Aznar, possibly facing criminal investigation due to his role in the Iraq war, was both an unimpressive speaker and trader in outright falsehoods.
In other words, a perfect fit for the News Ltd board.