Defense Minister Margarita Robles has one of her usual allies in the PP. Also in view of the escalation of the war in Ukraine and the Government’s decision to position itself in the wake of the United States and bring forward the planned deployment of some military units in Eastern Europe. The president of the PP, Pablo Casado, has defended Robles in recent hours and has attacked United We Can and his presence in the Executive, which he has personalized in someone who is no longer part of the Council of Ministers: Pablo Iglesias. The leader of the PP has related the crisis in Ukraine to “the pocket” of the Spanish, has pointed to Vox as a defender of Vladimir Putin and has cried out against Pedro Sánchez’s indifference towards the head of the opposition: “He has not put himself in contact us, there he”.
Borrell rules out following the US and the UK in downsizing in Ukraine: “There is no need to dramatize”
The president of the PP has granted an interview to the Cope chain on Monday in which he has assured that his party will support the Government “in its obligations within the framework of NATO”. “The PP is a State and Government party, even when it is in opposition”, he maintained minutes before attacking the management of European funds, a strategy that has earned him even the public reproach of the former Minister of Finance, Cristóbal Montoro. Casado has demanded that the Executive “inform Parliament” despite the fact that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, has already announced that he will do so this Tuesday.
Casado has attacked the discrepancies that exist in the Council of Ministers about the role that Spain should play in the crisis. The Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, assured last week that Spain is, “categorically, the country of ‘no to war'”. And she added: “Basque, Spanish, Catalan society, we are people of peace, we are committed to peace, to the de-escalation of the conflict, to avoiding military maneuvers in the area, to dialogue and diplomacy.” For his part, the President of the Government said yesterday: “Following the situation in Ukraine very closely and in permanent contact with the representatives of the EU and NATO, as well as with European leaders. It is time for diplomacy. We are committed to unity, détente, solidarity and dialogue to resolve the crisis with Russia”. Meanwhile, the deployment of Spanish troops in the area is increasing: last week a minesweeper ship and a frigate were mobilized towards the Black Sea area.
But Pablo Casado has resorted to the statements of someone who is no longer in the Government to exemplify the differences between United We Can and the PSOE. “Let them clarify,” he said, after regretting having to “listen to Pablo Iglesias attack the defense minister.” An idea that he already pointed out on Sunday in a telematic intervention during the PP congress in the Canary Islands, in which he urged the president to “put order” in the Government: “They are insulting NATO and socialist ministers, as Pablo Iglesias has done, for defending what the Atlantic Alliance wants to do in Ukraine”. Casado added: “Who rules in his government, you or Yolanda Díaz? Who rules in the governability of Iglesias, you or Pablo Iglesias?”
An idea that he repeated this Monday at Cope, where he accused the former vice president of “lashing out” against Robles. Paradoxically, in the same sentence he has said that he sees “those who are anti-NATO and those who say ‘no to war’ are silent.”
In an act of support for the candidacy of Pablo Fernández in Castilla y León, the former secretary general of Podemos wondered if Robles “does he think people are stupid?” and assured that NATO defends “the interests of the United States”. In his opinion, rejecting an intervention in the area “is not to be pro-Russian, it is to be pro-peace.” At the event, held in Valladolid, he attacked the “militaristic fury” of some ministers and predicted that the same “script twist” would happen as with the hoax about the macro-farms against Alberto Garzón. “The people who took to the streets to say ‘no to war’ were socialists,” he recalled.
Ukraine and “the pocket” of the Spanish
Casado tries to appear to be a “state” opposition on the most important issues, especially foreign and defense policy. “The PP is a State and Government party, even when it is in the opposition. We support its obligations within the framework of NATO,” he said this Monday in reference to the Executive led by Pedro Sánchez, whom he has nevertheless accused of not wanting to count on them.
On Sunday he expressed himself in similar terms: “Two days ago [por el viernes], the PP announced its support for the Government of Spain to fulfill its obligations within the framework of NATO if a deployment in Ukraine is necessary. The Government has not said anything, Pedro Sánchez has not contacted [con nosotros]. There he”.
Relations between the two are going through their worst moment. Last Friday, for example, both coincided at the Fitur Tourism fair. They visited the same stands and even passed within five meters of each other. But they didn’t even meet each other’s eyes, much less a greeting or a conversation.
Casado’s support for the government hides a criticism of the position that the left maintained two decades ago in the face of the Iraq War. In fact, Casado has explicitly compared the conflict in Ukraine with the one that occurred with José María Aznar in Moncloa and George W. Bush in the White House. Last Friday, in Fitur, he boasted that he is not going to carry out a “campaign of ‘no to war'” like the one carried out then. “We have always participated under a UN or NATO mandate,” he said.
A parallelism that does exist with the 2003 war is the reference to the fact that an intervention in Ukraine can be positive for “the pocket” of the Spanish. Twenty years ago, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ana Palacio, said after the invasion of Iraq: “The stock markets have risen and oil has fallen. Citizens already pay a few cents less for gasoline and diesel. That is data”.
This Monday, Casado criticized the “incoherence of many parties without management experience” for opposing the increase in tension in the Ukraine area and “their outdated ideas on issues that cannot be sustained in real politics.” And he added: “Real politics because it affects the pocketbook: it affects the price of electricity, it affects oil, it affects economic recovery.”
Vox, “in favor of the regime of Vladimir Putin”
But the message was not only referring to the left-wing parties or those that raised the Not to the war. Casado has harshly criticized Vox for its silence on the Ukraine crisis. “I have not listened to Vox what he thinks. On many occasions he has spoken out in favor of the Vladimir Putin regime,” he said in Cope.
In the book-interview he did with Fernando Sánchez Dragó, the leader of Vox, Santiago Abascal, tried not to criticize the Russian president. “I thought that the KGB was better informed. I have never said that I have a mania for Putin,” he wrote. He also assured that he has never met with him “out of prudence.”
There are not many more references to Vox, Abascal and Russia, which abounds in Casado’s thesis. The silence in the Spanish extreme right about Putin and the conflict in Ukraine is real. There is not a single reference to the situation in Eastern Europe on Vox’s Telegram channel, one of its main channels of communication. On twitter There is only one message that includes the word “Ukraine”, and it is not even a main tweet, but a response in which it is criticized that the country has become a “farm of children”. And none that mention Putin.