I was not at all surprised on sunday night when I learned about the Socialist Party winning the elections after the stupid attack on the trains on 11-M as the spanish are calling the tragic events of March 11 at the train system.
Instead I have been feeling uneasy by the results and the subsequent commentaries on different BLOGS I have been reading about the possibility that the elections have been turned upside down by the tragic events. Will this means that potentially dangerous groups might be targeting elections on the very last days before they take place? Can this be called a victory for Al Qaeda?
I don't think it matters if it was ETA or Al Qaeda the authors, they are equally destructive and equally evil when they hit innocent people to accomplish their wicked objectives. Terrorism I believe only has two ways of being fought. With a strong hand, lots of intelligence and going to the roots of the problem.
It seems to me that Aznar government so far did well engaging into fighting ETA with a strong hand and choking their leadership. That is the only response possible. On the other hand they went the wrong direction when they engaged into the fight of terrorism internationally up-front. By this I mean that perhaps Aznar should have been collaborative with the war but not engaging into it. This proved to be fatally tragic on one hand and on the other hand it didn't bring home any additional benefit, not politically and not defeating ETA.
The US has definitively to get rid at all cost of the threat of Al Qaeda, for political reasons and for security reasons. Too much effort although is spend on defeating minor players (like Saddan and his cronies) on the scene and doing too much international activism. Defeating Taliban regime and capturing Bin Laden would have been more than enough in the war on terror. That would have been a strong statement that nobody should mess with the US. Instead of that Bin Laden whereabouts are unknown and a difficult war on Iraq has been fought. I don't deny that the world is better off without this fellow copycat of Hitler. But that was a problem that should have been resolved by the Iraqis themselves.
Republicans and some War Democrats don't seem to understand that in many parts of the world in distress for their wicked rulers or by the corruption of their government officials, many people like to think that their problems are the consequence of the American or European imperialism. All their problems and misfortunes are according to their theory caused by the interventionist policies of another country. The reality is that their problems have been caused by the lack of their citizens of tacking responsibility of their decisions, at elections, electing the worst or politician giving the worst to win the elections.
Obviously I don't deny the fact that some situations started because of that intervention, but definitively is the people's choice to change that. For instance the American's intervention support of the Sha one way or another caused a violent outburst that ended with the deposition of him and the dictatorship of conservative Clerics. Fast forward 20 years later, the best thing that the US could do about Iran is stay away from there. The people is finally taking care of their problems, and even though the last elections were severely compromised because of the clerics rejection of the reformist candidates the people more and more is pressing for more secular society inside Islamic world.
That would have been the case of Iraq if it wasn't because the US tried to accelerate things. Everybody is better without him, but Iraqi people will always feel that their problems could only be resolved with the external help, and for instance some stupid people (hopefully not) will always be tempted to continue helping would be Saddams to become rulers. This nation building policy does not help other countries to learn how build their own country.
What I liked about Haiti situation as it started was that nobody on the international arena dared to get into the conflict. It seemed as if the conflict was going to be resolved by Haitians. Unfortunately at the very last minute the US and the French stepped in. My worst case scenario for Haiti (hopefully not) sooner or later the Haitians have not learned the lesson, and Aristide or any would be dictator will be taking power. And that has been the case in Haiti in the last 200 years.
Learning is a difficult process that only can be accomplished when you suffer the results of your decisions. The world is better without the Duvaliers, Chavezes, Husseins, Noriegas, or Castros, but they have to be taken out by the people who have the power to support or elect them. Otherwise there is huge risk of seeing every 10 years a replay of the same events. There are no shortcuts into the nation building process only when people are made responsible of their decisions the countries will have incentives to have better societies no matter how long it takes.
As for the US regarding the fight on terrorism I think they should focus on hunting Bin Laden and deactivating all the sleeper cells around. In the meantime stop loosing time in the nation building bussiness.