Bush’s European Allies Punished by their Publics
J. Sean Curtin argues that Bush’s European allies have paid a heavy political price for supporting his Iraq war. Labor did extremely poorly in the European Union voting. Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party also did poorly in that election, as well as suffering losses in local elections. Bush’s friend Aznar was defeated by the socialist candidate, Zapatero in recent Spanish elections. Curtin argues that the Dutch opposition has also been strengthened.
It might be argued against Curtin’s analysis that opposition parties did well across the board in the European Union elections. Thus, the German Social Democrats, who opposed the Iraq war, were also trounced, as were the French Gaullists of President Jacques Chirac. But, actually, Breffni O’Rourke seems to say here that exit polls indicated that economic issues produced the poor results for the incumbent party in the case of France and Germany, whereas voters were explicit that Iraq hurt Blair and Berlusconi. It should also be said that turn-out for the European elections was historically low, and that the deeply dissatisfied therefore were more likely to vote.
Among George W. Bush’s most important legacies may be a reinvigoration of European socialism and left-liberalism.
Zapatero is a case in point. His Defense Minister, Jose Bono, by the way, openly called the UN resolution in Iraq partially “fiction.” In testimony before the Spanish Senate Defense Committee, he asked if anyone doubted it was a fiction that on 30 June the Iraqi government would recover its complete national sovereignty.