There is no war that José María Aznar does not want to target. By war, it means any military intervention that serves to reinforce the hegemony of the United States on the planet regardless of the price that the inhabitants of that part of the world must pay. Everything else, including diplomacy, is accessory. His world was frozen on September 11, 2001. Since US public opinion began to evolve against the permanent presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and after the Trump and Biden governments loosen their moorings in the second country, Aznar has been quite alone. in a corner as he longs for the times when George Bush promptly informed him of the progress of the invasion of Iraq.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Aznar has given an extensive interview to ABC to unleash their disappointment and bitterness over what has happened in recent years, and especially over the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the victory of the Taliban. His beloved NATO has lost relevance due to the withdrawal of the United States, which under different presidents has been abandoning the endless wars that began in 2001. Three very different presidents – Obama, Trump and Biden – have made decisions that displease. to Aznar.
“Weak leaders often don’t have strategic visions and when you lose the strategic vision you fall for weak policies. In the end, the weakness is provocative. That (Afghanistan) war was won, and then suddenly after a while, whoever wins the war decides to surrender and do it in the most humiliating way possible, “he says in the interview. In his opinion, “weak leaders” are those who believe that wars must have a beginning and an end.
For the former president, this decline must be analyzed in almost anthropological terms. Western citizens have become soft, because they no longer want to impose their vision on the world through military campaigns. In his latest book, he quoted Francis Fukuyama to refer to “post-historical people”, those who “are not willing to make sacrifices” and “lack courage.” How he misses the Cold War.
He is so convinced that US leadership is unquestionable and that Europeans should be reserved the role of submissive partners for Washington that he disdains Europe’s efforts to have its own defense policy: “Are they going to create a European army? Don’t make me laugh, or rather cry. ” He maintains that European countries cannot be taken seriously on this matter until they increase their military spending.
Aznar is also nostalgic for his friendship with George Bush. In the interview, he recalls his communications with the then president of the United States. Always ready to disparage European leaders who did not think like him, he remembers responding to Bush’s invitation in September 2001 to visit Washington by telling him he would do so later, after “a race” broke out among eager rulers. for showing your support for the Americans. “I was not going to be part of the spectacle of solidarity that fades when decisions are made,” he says.
When he joined Bush’s decisions, he did it to the end. In his memoirs, he wrote that “the Summit of the Azores marked the highest point of Spain’s international relevance.” Actually, you are thinking about yours.
Aznar could have made some mention in the interview of the March 11 attack in 2004 to emphasize that no country is free from jihadist terrorism. Obviously, the author of the phrase that said that “those who devised 11M are neither in remote deserts nor in distant mountains” was not going to go that far, because he has never abandoned the conspiracy theory that the PP and its journalistic allies defended for years.
Speaking of disinformation strategies, the Chilcot Commission report on British participation in the invasion and occupation of Iraq recovered the written minutes of the meeting between Aznar and Tony Blair in Madrid on February 27 and 28, 2003, three weeks earlier. from the beginning of the war. Concerned about the repercussions in their countries, they agreed to implement a communication strategy with which to show that “they were doing everything possible to avoid war.” It was about wrapping the facts with a propaganda cloak. Blair needed to try to negotiate a second UN Security Council resolution that would allow him to argue that he had worked hard to prevent war. It was a matter of keeping up appearances, because Bush had already made the decision to invade and Aznar supported him completely.
He believes he knows with complete certainty that the withdrawal from Afghanistan was not inevitable. He claims that “with 2,000 men and sufficient air support, the Taliban would not have taken over Afghanistan.” Perhaps not immediately, but he prefers to ignore that the US had only 2,500 soldiers in that country at the beginning of the Biden Administration due to the Qatar negotiations. With the Doha agreement Signed in February 2020, the US promised to initiate the withdrawal of its soldiers, who were then about 13,000. Biden could not stay by the middle and had to choose between withdrawing all his soldiers or proceeding to another escalation, and he had already opposed a similar measure in 2009 when he was Obama’s vice president. He considered then and now that the US had achieved its objectives and could not maintain a military presence in Afghanistan forever.
“What matters is to tell the story and not misrepresent the facts,” he says. With this interview, he confirms that he is only interested in facts that conform to his opinions, even if they have to be twisted as much as possible.