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November 9, 2004
Zapatero: We Don't Need No Stinkin' Americans

The Sun (UK) reports in its typically urgent prose that Spanish PM Jose Zapatero has declared that the EU will become the dominant power in the world within 20 years, and pledged Spanish partnership with France and Germany to create the new hyperpower:

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero brazenly declared the ultimate aim was to challenge America.

He declared: Europe must believe that it can be in 20 years the most important world power. We want to arrange the European future at the side of France and Germany. Spain sees itself with France and Germany as never before. ...

Zapatero was quizzed by German magazine Der Spiegel about the EUs continuing need for US troops to deal with crises in the Balkans under the Nato umbrella.

He said: Naturally it will still last some time, until we develop a closed defence policy. That can happen only after the agreement on a common foreign policy. The EU constitution is an important step in this direction.

In 15 to 20 years we will surely have a foreign service for the EU.

The Sun lambastes Tony Blair for signing onto the new EU constitution, claiming that it creates difficulties for Britain in maintaining its close relationship with the US. (The Sun also claims that George Bush refused to take Zapatero's congratulatory phone call after the election results became clear.) But the only problem Bush and Blair will likely have is restraining their laughter at the notion that Europe's three largest socialist economies could combine to form any kind of military power, let alone a hyperpower that could cow the US and undo the Anglo-American alliance.

One of the reasons that France and Germany have been able to create the socialist paradises they have now is because they have been able to avoid spending much money on defense for the past fifty years. Even though France withdrew from NATO, Paris has always relied on the deterrence that NATO provided against that other extreme socialist entity, the Soviet Union. American taxpayers footed the bill while France and Germany created the social programs that now threaten to bury them economically as their birth rates fall and the necessary new workers to create funding have disappeared. France and Germany have failed to implement the modest economic reforms demanded of their EU membership; where exactly does Zapatero think the new money will come from to transform the decaying economies of the Big Three into the powerhouses needed to fund this massive military buildup?

Zapatero has a habit of making wild prognostications, so taking him seriously may be a bit of a fool's errand anyway. The Spanish certainly covered themselves in glory when they elected this reluctant warrior, the man who predicts military glory after bugging out of Spain's pledges to help reconstruct Iraq, the first opportunity he had to make Spain militarily irrelevant. France and Germany so far have remained quiet on Zapatero's ambition. Perhaps they're tired of giving the world so many reasons to laugh at them. (hat tip: CQ reader Amelia)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 9, 2004 5:45 AM

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