Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister who pulled his country's troops out of Iraq, is one of those haughty moralists who tells others to "make peace, not war." OK, he doesn't exactly say that. But he comes close. And where have all the flowers gone? We shall overcome. Etc.
Some of his cachet about being a peace-maker came from the relative calm Basque terrorists, ETA, kept in the country. You see, people said, Zapatero knows how to make peace. Alas!
An article in todays's Herald Tribune by Paddy Woodworth tells us what's happened to Zapatero's Basque policy. It has collapsed. "Spain's botched peace process," reads the headline. A pull quote: "The gap between the ETA and the Spanish government appears to get wider by the day."
Woodworth remains sympathetic to Spain's socialist government. But he cannot disguise the fact that Zapatero's conciliatory actions towards ETA were self-defeating at best. He is in big trouble.
"Only if ETA immediately abandoned violence...," writes Woodworth... Yes, and as Golda Meir used to say about the Palestinians, "If my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a pushcart."
But ETA has announced a "war on all fronts." Just like Hamas. And, of course, Spain aspires to be an interlocutor for Israel and the Palestinians. What chutzpah.