Former Prime Minister of Spain gave an interview to France’s Le Figaro and had some interesting comments on the new President of the United States and the world-wide financial crisis. (translated from French)
LE FIGARO. – With Barack Obama, do you think U.S. policy will change?
Jose Maria Aznar. – I think there will be no radical change, even if the new president has raised many expectations. The threats to the world in general and the United States in particular are the same for Barack Obama as for George W. Bush. The priority for him is to save the U.S. from the economic crisis. There will be a new style but the answers will not be fundamentally different, because the room for maneuver is very limited. In Europe, many believe that Americans have elected an anti-American in the United States. It is a mistake. Barack Obama is an convinced American, committed to the values and history of the United States.
So, Europeans weren’t simply embracing Obama because he was the anti-Bush; they were also attracted to the notion that he might be an anti-patriot. I’m sure that flag lapel pin attached to President Obama’s jacket isn’t comforting to our internationalist friends in socialist circles abroad.
Aznar also gave his opinion on the economic crisis:
We have an obligation to save the banks, because without a sound financial system, there is no economy. But one must make economic reforms. More flexibility and freedom in the economy, lower taxes, less spending, more stabile budget, less government intervention.
LE FIGARO: But Europeans are doing the opposite?
Exactly. And this is why I am convinced that the United States will emerge from the crisis before Europe.
And regarding Europeans pulling their weight in the Afghan conflict?
Europeans need to strengthen their presence in Afghanistan, as called for Barack Obama?
Yes, they should, because it can not be in an Alliance, claim the benefits of security and do not contribute. Yet I do not think the Europeans will respond positively to this request.