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The defeat of Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar in the elections last week which took place in the aftermath of the Madrid bomb blasts was significant because the new government has made it clear that it would pull its troops out of Iraq unless the UN was given charge. PM elect Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has, ever since Spain decided to join the coalition of the willing, made it clear that his party, the Socialist party, was opposed to sending Spanish troops to help with the war against Saddam Hussein.
What made things worse for the ex-PM Jose Maria Aznar was that having been at a battle against Basque ETA terrorists, his government, rather rapidly, blamed that terrorist organization for the blasts in Madrid. The Spaniard next-door however wasnt convinced that it was an ETA attack. Basque ETA disclaimed any linkage to the blast. Analysts felt that ETA's involvement was unlikely because their typical modus operandi involved targetting politicians and giving warnings of bombs placed in public places. Additionally, if Basque ETA was behind the attack, it would only strengthen public support for Aznar's stand against them. The plot thickened when Al Qaeda claimed responsibility, as a response to the Spanish government's collaboration with the US and its allies.
Then Spaniards realized that it was possibly Islamic terrorism at work and decided that Al Qaeda was determined to hurt them because of the Aznar government's policy towards Iraq and the war against global terror. [This part of the war sponsored by the United States of America] They voted the Aznar government out of power. Alternately, they were angry that the government misled them by fixing the blame on Basque ETA and failing to see the terrorists.
It is a very significant development because it shows that electoral results can swing when events of this nature occur. Given that the terrorists have shown their ability to strike at will, anywhere, the chances that their actions could result in governments opposed to action against terrorism coming to power increase drastically, thereby strengthening the terrorist movements. Spain's rejection of Aznar's government could be taken as evidence of George Bush’s friendlessness as well as possibly trigger off dissent amongst the coalition forces.
Colin Powell's visit to India has had its fair share of questions on nuclear proliferation, Indo-Pak ties etc. He also answered questions on the various protectionist bills/laws being enacted at state and federal levels in the USA in reaction to jobs being outsourced to countries like India, China, Phillipines etc. Powell repeated his government's line, that India erecting high trade barriers was not helpful in Indo-US trade and that if India proceeded to lower the barriers, the US would also be able to address the issue of restrictions being placed on outsourcing. However, the central problem with an argument which attempts to link up outsourcing to open markets is that discussions on lowering existing barriers is typically done at the WTO. However, the stance by various governments/groups in the US against BPO is a case of a new barrier being erected. Keeping in mind that until recently, there were no such restrictions placed on BPO in the US, effectively, the demand is that India lower its duties and tariffs if it wants the US to not introduce fresh controls. Such a proposal also totally ignores the problems faced due to barriers & regulations placed on industrial and agricultural products placed by the US and other leading developed nations, in the form of agricultural product subsidies.
That famously maverick politician, Subramanian Swamy offers his views on why Nehru's secularism model failed.
Link of the day
Google has launched a new service called Google Local which can be used to locate services etc. in the neighbourhood as well as providing maps to help people get to where they want to.
The plight of customer care:
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