Thomas Friedman misses the point completely in the NY Times today, just as his fellow Times columnist
David Brooks did.
He says that by pledging to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq, the newly-elected president Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero "is planning to do something crazy: to try to appease radical evil...even though those troops are now supporting the first democracy-building project ever in the Arab world."
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Zapatero is withdrawing his country's soldiers because his ousted predecesor, Jose Maria Aznar, committed troops to a war opposed by up to 90% of Spanish people, lied to the public about who was behind the Madrid bombings -- and subsequently paid the price at the polls.
That's not appeasement -- it's democracy in action. Friedman, Brooks, et al would do well to scrutinise the validity of their president's war in Iraq, instead of condemning the European fallout.
Kofi Annan realises this. He understands that José María Aznar paid for backing the Iraq war and blaming the terrorist attacks on ETA.
Zapatero does, however, need a crash course in diplomacy. He's stirred things up still further by suggesting American voters should kick out Bush and vote for John Kerry.
I suspect President Bush won't be inviting Mr Z for a cosy chat at the White House anytime soon.