When things go wrong inside, go outside. from the british Boris Johnson to the Spanish president Pedro Sanchez they deal with strong internal tensions in political and socioeconomic terms. The Euro-Atlantic region went through a health pandemic almost without transition with the return of the war to Europe. And both events have caused serious economic and mental health consequences for thousands of citizens.
In the case of Spain, the response to the war has unleashed one of the greatest tensions between the government partners, PSOE and United We Can. Madrid has sent weapons to Ukraine and strengthened its military presence on the eastern flank under the NATO flag, all under the watchful eye and the awkward posture of the purple formationwhose DNA is the commitment to dialogue and demilitarization.
With this scenario, the Spanish president arrived as host of the NATO summit held this week in Madrid. And he did it in one of the most difficult moments of this legislature: with the worst result in the history of the PSOE in Andalusian elections, with the wound still open from the crisis with Algeria and the Melilla tragedy.
La Moncloa’s commitment has been reinforce the international image of Sánchez to outshine and minimize the fires that occur in the country. The president took advantage of the “historic” summit of the Atlantic Alliance, which leaves as one of the main conclusions the increase in the militarization of European borders, to announce that Spain will double defense spending – from 1.01% of GDP to 2 %– in the coming years and to consolidate its leadership image – materialized in a flurry of interviews with international media – in the global arena.
Erdogan, the great triumphant
But the Spaniard’s strategy to take advantage of the momentum current war and thus redirect media attention finds many fellow travelers in the leadership of the Atlantic Alliance. The most notorious is probably the case of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish president has been the great winner of the Madrid summit: Sweden and Finland have given in to his demands for the shipment of weapons and the extradition of the dozens of Kurdish militants that Ankara describes as “terrorists”.
Allied sources recognized shortly before the summit that the Turkish plan responded to a purely national issue. The country’s economy is in free fall, next year crucial elections will be held for the continuity of the bosphorus strongman and every time he said ‘no’ to NATO enlargement he rose in the polls. And Ankara has not said the last word. She warns that she is willing to block the Norse’s access if the extraditions she demands do not occur. A procedure that could happen, since the entry of Stockholm and Helsinki in the defense forum still needs to be ratified by the 30 national parliaments. Erdogan himself already recalled when he passed through Madrid that North Macedonia took two decades to become a member of the Alliance due to the Greek veto.
Like Erdogan, the terrible child of NATO, Victor Orban, his half-brother in a European key, has also made the war in Ukraine profitable. His policy of standing up to Brussels and sweetening energy sanctions to “defend the economy of citizens” Hungarians was very important in their electoral victory last April. The Turk and the Magyar leader, the closest to Vladimir Putin in the Alliance and in the community bloc respectively, have read the letters very well. The Western axis has as a priority to preserve unity and launch forceful messages and actions against Moscow. And the two countries have channeled this very emotional yearning to obtain internal concessions that would have been difficult to obtain in other circumstances.
who knows a lot about it Poland. Another of the countries that has benefited the most in terms of public image laundering as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Warsaw has gone from being the black sheep of Brussels for its continuous violations of the rule of law to one of the protected ones for leading the hard-line position against Russia and opening its doors to more than three million Ukrainian refugees. The award came in the form of the European Commission’s approval of its recovery plan, while the government of the ultra-conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) -Vox’s allies in the European Parliament- continues to squander the separation of powers and the fundamental rights of internal level.
On the other side of the English Channel, the British Prime Minister visited the Ukrainian capital for the second time since the start of the war just ten days after overcoming in extremis a motion of censure by the baptized as ‘partygate’. The Tory premier has a revolt in the Conservative ranks and has 40% of Parliament against him. In the last hours, he has become involved in a diplomatic dispute with Vladimir Putin after making fun of his exposed torso in a campaign video where the Russian appears on horseback. “I should stop drinking first if he wants to get naked,” the Kremlin tenant replied. In line with Spain and the general trend in Europe to multiply military spending, London will also expand its spending budget to 2.5% of its GDP.
The Franco-German axis, both sides
Even before the implosion of the contest, the French president longed to have a much more active and leading role in the global arena. Emmanuel Macron It is nostalgic for the golden age of France as a great power and now its margin of action abroad is hostage to the discrepancies within Europe and the attempts to have a common position. The former banker is the western leader who has spoken with the most times Vladimir Putin since February 24, the day that marks the beginning of the war. And he longs to set himself up as the president who paves the way for peace talks that should not “humiliate” Putin. But his muscle on the outside contrasts with his internal storm. The streets have always made him ugly as a leader disconnected from the reality of the French and cold. All of this comes in the midst of the collapse of last month’s legislative elections, in which Macron lost his absolute parliamentary majority, which will make governance and the legislature very difficult for him.
For his part, the US president has dragged on months of social tensions on the other side of the Atlantic, the debate on arms control or the recent decision of the US Supreme Court to repeal the right to abortion. Joe Biden landed in the White House with the priority of doing internal politics to unite a highly polarized society after the passage of Hurricane Trump and to promote economic recovery. But his harsh rhetoric against Vladimir Putin and his constant throttling to ship military hardware both to Ukraine and to the EU’s eastern borders are helping him forge an image of leadership that was not found at home.
The exception of this x-ray comes from the hand of the German chancellor Olaf Scholz. The role of the EU’s main economic engine is one of the most complicated due to its past with Moscow and its heavy dependence on trade and energy. For Berlin, the war has meant many divisions and moral debates. The country has made unthinkable decisions such as breaking its doctrine of not sending military material to a country at war and doubling its defense spending. But he has done so at the cost of intense moral debates and strong pressure from the Greens and the Liberals, Scholz’s fellow travelers in the stoplight coalition.