Instituto de Estudios Ceutíes
It has been a long time since there have been any major incidents in the historical, recurrent and unsolved, but not unsolvable, subject of Spanish diplomatic disputes, which enable the problem to be better conceptualised and on which I continue systematically, almost religiously, if not also in a solitary professional capacity, to draw up the corresponding balance sheets, which show an undeniable increase in the deficit.
Among the differences, a kind of minor dispute, in the Salvajes, where the Lusitanian position on the surface has been definitively established and the voluntary and overcoming proposal from the Canary Islands to go to a condominium, which I myself described as rather late, has been abruptly removed from the negotiating limbo by the unilateral and foreseeable provisions of Morocco and Algeria on jurisdictional waters. To gauge the impact properly, it should be noted that only the Rabat delimitation affects no less than those of the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla, and Western Sahara.
With regard to Perejil Island, it should be reiterated, in the face of a hypothetical though unlikely judicial dispute over sovereignty, that there seems to be a better, not a single but a better right for Spain. And Olivenza, where Spanish law is indisputable and can be included in the (good) neighbourly relations with Portugal and Ibero-America, must always be the best, continues to be confined to the uncomfortable terrain of the map, ignoring possible solutions such as a referendum, which, as things stand, would seem to be Spanish.
That is, in the three disputes, as in the three major ones, Madrid continues to use a tactic of response, of “towing”, not of initiative, playing as Black instead of making the most of White’s drive, sometimes allowing the issues to deteriorate to such an extent that it is difficult to redirect them, which in operational terms leads to an insufficient foreign policy on such a stormy board. That is, the strategy can perhaps be improved, not only because of its patent, mortgage-like (a word which, as far as it is not legal, I offer, as I have done with others, to my unknown friends the successive perpetual secretaries of the Language) passivity, but also because the actions, taking advantage of the otherwise scarce favourable circumstances, do not all appear to be governed by the greatest success, a fact or sub-data that does not seem to require further consideration and which leads us to disputes.
At this point, I am used to pointing out a law, if not a mathematical one, which is certainly diplomatic: until Spain resolves or properly channels its truly complicated dossier of territorial disputes, it will not have fully normalised, as it should, its situation in the concert of nations. Diplomatic philosophy and technique thus appear to be an unavoidable diarchy for the country’s foreign affairs.
In Western Sahara, the ceremony of such visible confusion in terms of international orthodoxy continues to be accentuated by a purely mechanistic element: it has been fifteen months since the United Nations appointed a mediator and none of the participants, some with historical responsibility and others with variable interest rates, has been demoted. It is said that the efficient and complacent Lusitanian who serves as secretary general is looking for an ex-president. End up with manoeuvres that can perhaps be described as semi-escapist, as far-fetched as they are sterile, and put someone capable, knowledgeable and with a vocation. There is the “letter of 43”, in which this symbolic number, referring to the years that have elapsed since the conflict, with diplomats, the university and the militia, asks for my appointment to help the UN mediator, when he is appointed, of course.
It would be a matter of unblocking such a bitter contest, of attempting to reach or approach the “neither winners nor losers” which, from his well-proven diplomatic ‘sagesse’, Hassan II, the great political momentum-doser regarding relations with Spain, would have coined in the historic interview at Marrakech, the only one with the participation of the Alaouite throne, with the king cordially dismissive; the guerrilla fighters submissively haughty, and the palm groves sung by the poets. And there, who knows, perhaps the partition, sponsored from the omnipresent realpolitik.
About Ceuta and Melilla, I have been warning for some time about the growing hyposyncrasy of the Spanish position and animus. Ignacio Cembrero says: “After thirteen years without mentioning them, Mohamed VI is quietly devoting himself to suffocating them economically. They are already in a vegetative coma”. I have argued for the opportunity, if in such a delicate matter something could be fully appropriate, of the royal diplomacy, acting from Don Juan with Hassan II, whose understanding was accentuated by the complicit smoke of two hardened smokers.
And Gibraltar. Little to add to the much I have already lectured and written, to the point of hyperbolizing that the plains were going to remain in the lurch after the Brexit, sometimes from the library of the Reform Club, with the living memory of its illustrious members, Churchill, Gladstone, Russell, Palmerston, who all dealt with the Rock and like Fox, sang its impregnable character. Now, the odd movement of the current headline of Santa Cruz, at whose feet I stand, and which I would say interferes in the iter to the key hanging from the door of the castle in the coat of arms and in the reality of Gibraltar, has in a way dislocated us. What do you want me to say in good professional terms?
© All rights reserved