Institute of Ceuti Studies
After the negotiations on the Brexit, somewhat atypical as far as Gibraltar is concerned and whether British exit is or not going to be, a series of considerations about the colonial situation, that constitute almost a corpus, remain intact.
The first concept is background. The three main disputes of Spanish diplomacy are totally interrelated, to the point that pulling the thread of one inevitably arise the other two, thus nucleating a game of high diplomacy in the hypersensitive area of the Strait, where “no power will allow the same state to hold its two shores”, in the formulation of Hassan II (although the assertion can not have the same value with Spain as member of NATO).
Hence, “when Gibraltar were Spanish, Ceuta and Melilla must return to Morocco”, which is the strategic leitmotif of the neighbour of the south and that is completed in the Alaouite tactical doctrine with the Saharawi incidence: “the vindication of the cities, which it is imprescriptible, depends largely on the resolution of the Sahara issue”.
Second, Great Britain, which is a pioneer in representative institutions, champion of democracy and, as such, guarantor of the ‘llanitos’ (gibraltarians), stands as the champion of its cause. Now, there may be sufficient basis, given the background, to suspect that the noble English position is burdened by a manifestly interested load, as are the benefits that the possession of the Rock can give to the United Kingdom, faithful to its best mercantilist tradition.
And at this point, which may be key, it has already been pointed out that London will soften its position on the Rock when its profitability diminishes. However, at the same time, its value should be recognized, maybe on the downside but with sufficient force, as a military base in Western schemes.
And third, the possibilism, the realpolitik, stands as a fundamental milestone, as a trump card for the future, to put sovereignty where it corresponds and indicates the international doctrine.
Spain could be generous, flexible, understanding, as far as dignity and national interest allow it. If the United Kingdom leaves, Gibraltar also leaves by definition. And then, if the ‘llanitos’ -which sooner or later would end up in the lurch or near- want to remain in the European market, taking on account their own profit, would have to consider changing the British for the Hispanic link.
Whether or not Brexit is carried out, more than three centuries of colonial situation would entitle Gondomar to invoke: “Shrapnel shells to England, which could ruin them”. And that was a century before the English, in a spectacularly heterodox maneuver, seized Gibraltar. The hard line should not be discarded altogether, given a certain degree of shamelessness over the litigation. Its implementation and scope corresponds to the government of the day.
I have already commented several times that of the list of distinguished ambassadors that Spain has had before the Court of Saint James, perhaps the most eloquent has been the Marquis of Santa Cruz, of whom it is said that every morning, and presumably also in the evenings, he took his little dog to Buckingham Palace to express his protest in a more than symbolic way.
P.D. I write this postcard from the same library that I did days ago: the very British Reform Club, with the living memory of its illustrious members, Churchill, Gladstone, Russell or Palmerston, that all of them occupied and sang like Fox, to the Rock.
14/12/2018. © All rights reserved