Selective Siesta

Article excerpt


Selective siesta

A Washington lawyer logging myriad miles in his work with policy allies across the pond tells this column of having opened a few eyes at a recent dinner in Madrid with "an all-star cast of Spain's government-in-waiting, Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party."

Conversation skidded to a halt, he says, at his passing reference - widely reported in the U.S. press, but apparently because of its nature failing to draw attention from the Spanish press - to the curious inability of Spain's Socialist prime minister, Jose Luis Zapatero, to get someone on the telephone line at the White House.

"They were stunned," the D.C. lawyer says.

Beginning in November, or so American press reports have it, Mr. Zapatero has dialed in to the White House regularly. This is ostensibly to congratulate a re-elected president whom Mr. Zapatero otherwise rails against throughout Europe for an "illegal war" in Iraq.

President Bush, who happens to understand Espanol and maybe has caught an eyeful of Mr. Zapatero's musings, has been otherwise occupied when the phone rings.

Mr. Zapatero, of course, is most famous with the White House for abruptly withdrawing Spain's troops from the Iraq coalition upon his surprise March 2004 victory, attributed by most to a terrorist attack in Madrid days before the election.

He has since pressured the European Union to be kind to Fidel Castro, and sold arms to the Cuban leader's Marxist protege who is exporting trouble in our Southern back yard, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

Notwithstanding such peccadilloes, Mr. Zapatero persists "presumably to mask how badly he has damaged what was an historically strong relationship" fostered by his predecessor, Mr. Aznar, the lawyer says.

Although of no avail and nothing the White House likes to discuss, this has led to much derision in Los Estados Unidos.

Yet, "this only came up due to a full-court PR press that very week by Zapatero's team that all was muy bueno with Washington and hinting at a meeting with Bush in the near future. Que ridiculoso," says our lawyer, who prefers to keep his name and face out of our column.

When all else fails

An Arizona Republican is pulling no punches with President Bush and Uncle Sam when analyzing the deployment of Minutemen along his state's border with Mexico.

"What the Minutemen proved to the American people was this: The federal government can do something about illegal immigration other than to raise a white flag and surrender to the invasion on our southern border," says Rep. …