The lack of historical perspective, mediocrity, irrelevance and moral degradation mark a Spanish diplomacy that does not stop supporting human rights violations throughout the world.
“It is sad to hear about the passing of former US Secretary George Schultz. Standard bearer of the United States, defender of diplomacy, compromise and dialogue; we will miss his wise words. Rest in peace ”has written in a tweet Arancha González Laya after the death of George Schultz at the incredible age of 100 years.
We might think that someone like Gandhi or Mandela would have died. The latter might not be very happy with these statements after the Reagan administration and Schultz in particular were reluctant to put sanctions on the deplorable apartheid regime of the South African government in the 1980s. Something that Joe Biden eloquently opposed. If you can see videos of the time. Truly impressive.
It’s true that Schultz may not have been one of the toughest in the Reagan administration, but he was still part of a party that had veered to the right from the Nixon era (and that is to say) and pioneered the war on terrorism and the war on drugs.
The media have vindicated their role in ending the cold war. I do not want to enter fully into the debate if his role is really worthy. In my opinion, it seems quite debatable to attribute too much credit to Schultz (to the detriment of Gorbachev) in the end of the cold war and in the nuclear disarmament plans achieved if we put in the balance not only the bellicosity of the republican administration during the years 80, but also its arms waste, with the United States fully in the neoliberal era and raising public spending to extraordinary levels to finance its arms programs. Contrary to popular belief, neoliberalism demanded high public spending and greater intervention by the state for the benefit of the wealthiest and large corporations (in this case the military industry).
To say also that the diplomatic merits to which González Laya refers are quite debatable if we look at the way in which the Reagan administration confronted the URRS in the context of the war in Afghanistan. As much as it condemns Soviet atrocities and crimes, it was negligent policy to fuel a war that later helped jihadism to gain momentum. Soviet brutality and the funding by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United States of any Islamic fighters willing to kill Russians largely fueled what would become al Qaeda a few years later.
On the other hand, praising men like Schultz has the danger of making us forget the transcendental role that the mobilizations against nuclear weapons had and the great work that scientists did both at the research level and at the dissemination level. Remember the danger of nuclear winter and Carl Sagan, for example. The force of the anti-nuclear movement was so powerful that it would change the environmental movement forever. Observation made with some reluctance by Eric Hobsbawm: “They left an ingrained prejudice among environmentalists against any kind of nuclear energy.” To say briefly that Hobsbawm’s observation has been valid to this day about the extent to which nuclear power can be adopted as a strategy against climate change in the short term (in the longer term any serious ecologist cannot be in favor).
Years later, the Bush Jr. administration would turn to the right again and declare war on terror after the September 11 attacks. Thus he invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and two years later invaded Iraq, a savage, atrocious and petty action that surpassed what Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton had done. Let us remember not only the First Gulf War, but also how the United Nations sanctions, also defended by Tony Blair, caused the death of half a million children, preventing people suffering from cancer from the uranium bombings from having access to medication either. impoverished.
The war on terror, as we all know, continued during the Obama and Trump administrations. However, its origin is not usually discussed so much. It was in the days of Reagan and it can be said, without any doubt, that the United States became the country that led and sponsored international terrorism. Especially severe in the case of Latin America, but also in the case of Israel or the war between Iraq and Iran. We will not go into the details, except to mention that, in the case of Israel, Washington often viewed with complacency the atrocities of the State of Israel and helped the Zionist regime avoid international legality. An attitude of complacency that ended up breaking in the case of South Africa, although people like Schultz hindered the efforts.
The fight against terrorism made sense for the rulers and was their way of acquiring the right to apply terrorism. This is true for both the Bush and Reagan administrations. The speeches to justify criminal actions were very eloquent. In this sense, it should be noted that Schultz was a teacher and paved the way for a new episode of imperialism and justification through American exceptionalism. In 1984, George Ball, in the NYT – a medium that has often been quite accommodating to US foreign policy – criticized George Schultz for insisting on “retaliating forcefully against terrorist violence” rather than “refraining from launching attacks. preventive measures to thwart threats of terrorist attacks simply because such attacks could result in some innocent civilian casualties ”and by making an unfortunate comparison with Israel that right now we could only hear from within the most sectarian sector of the Republican Party.
Perhaps it is convenient to remind our foreign minister that Schultz’s commitment to diplomacy is more than laughable when the response of the former secretary of state to the concern about the “death of Americans” and of “some innocent people” was that “it is We may never have the kind of evidence that can be upheld in an American court of law. […]. But we cannot allow ourselves to become the Hamlet of nations, worrying incessantly about whether and how to respond. ” According to Schultz, “to combat [el terrorismo] we must be willing to use military force ”.
González Laya’s mistake is in assuming the political positions of American exceptionalism. It is understandable (although he does not share it) that Antony Blinken describes him as a legend, a visionary and someone who “helped achieve the greatest geopolitical feat of the time”, however, it is hard to think that from the irrelevance of Spanish diplomacy he value a man with this record. In my opinion, it just exudes mediocrity and unscrupulousness. Apart from being completely unnecessary.
In any case, to be fair, the culmination of immorality is represented by González Laya’s current trip to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. For Spain, the important thing continues to be business, businesses that continue to be ahead of human rights despite the fact that more than 300 thousand people have died in the war in Yemen. Something that also happens in Egypt, a country that is probably experiencing the worst dictatorship in its history and in which Laya has even talked about the empowerment of women. To give you an idea, the repression is so absurdly high that, if you are a woman and you make videos on Tik Tok, this can mean jail time. If you can listen to this testimony about what it means to live in the “Republic of fear”.
This and many other reasons not addressed here make me turn to Arancha González Laya and remind him that Spain has been committed to promoting human rights for several decades. To paraphrase Greenpeace “Arancha, do not pass human rights through the triumphal arch.” Let’s stop being mediocre and immoral and let’s do something truly remarkable for human rights.