Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Soft hypocrisy

What we say is if you cannot get anywhere with soft power and have to use ordinary bribery by way of funds and defence contracts, try soft hypocrisy. Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, seems to agree with us.

Via Pajamas Media we get the story of Señor Zapatero going to Mexico and attacking the United States for constructing a fence along the Mexican border to keep out illegal immigrants. The question of illegal immigration into the United States and what to do about it is an internal American one and we would not presume to comment on it. Why bother, anyway? There are hundreds of American blogs that write about it at great length and very interesting it is, too.

However, several things can be mentioned even on this side of the Pond. One is that immigrants, legal and especially illegal, do not have immediate and unargued rights in the country which they enter. Secondly, many of those who argue against illegal immigration over the American-Mexican border are, in fact, legal immigrants from that or other Central and South American countries. This is very understandable and we see similar developments in Britain.

Thirdly, it is hard for me to grasp why a country like Mexico, which is potentially rich enough to have its entire population living well, should have leaders who have supposed friends in Spain or wherever, who consider that it is absolutely right that the height of any Mexican’s ambition should be to leave and it is shockingly unfair of the United States not to go along with it.

Why not concentrate on making it possible for people “to build a better life” in their own country? Not building it for the people – no government could do that and whenever they do try everything becomes much worse – but create a political structure in which people can do so for themselves.

Fourthly and most importantly we are particularly taken with Señor Zapatero’s hypocrisy. Let’s face it, one of the European Union’s preoccupations, rightly or wrongly, is how to keep immigrants from Africa out of the member states.

Spain has been in the forefront of that fight and, as Soeren Kern, the author of the PJM article reminds us, has not been using particularly pleasant methods. Spain has been criticized by the New York based Human Rights Watch. It is possible that Zapatero is a tad miffed at not being invited to the White House because of his pro-Castro stance over Cuba, a stance that even the European Parliament has disagreed with.

As it happens the debate as to whether Muslims are more assimilated in America than in the various European countries is not quite as one sided as Soeren Kern makes out. There are many indicators on both sides.

But there can be no debate about one aspect of Spanish policy and that is Ceuta, one of two Spanish-held enclaves in Morocco, which remain so for no apparent reason. And, as we have pointed out before, there is a socking big fence around Ceuta to prevent any immigrant from entering what is regarded as Spanish territory. Errm, what about their desire for a better life, often blighted by the EU and its trade and fishing policies?

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