INTERVIEW with José Aznar – English Portion Only
D – I’m talking to the Former Prime Minister of Spain, Jose Maria Aznur
D - Mr. Prime Minister, as a world leader, how do you see America’s role in the world?
A - Well, I believe in the leadership of the U.S.
I consider that the leadership of the U.S. in the world community is indispensable. And the U.S. is basically an expression of democracy, of freedom and expansion of these ideas. I like this.
But the presence of America must be decisive, not irrelevant. If the influence of America is declining the world will be more dangerous in their next future, inevitably.
D – Traditional Western values, including Judeo-Christian values, have long been under attack in Europe. Is this how you see it?
A - I am very comfortable defending these values. Our problem is not defending these values. Our problem is to apologize for defending democracy or freedom or prosperity and the opportunities for the people. This is the expression of a better world. I consider this extremely important, no? A world without values is a world that is running in the direction of intolerance and confrontation, inevitably.
D- Government plays a very big role in the lives of Europeans and increasingly here in the U.S. Does this concern you?
A- Big government -- this is a problem. The welfare state that we have created in Europe, after the second World War, in this moment, is unsustainable and untenable. Big administrations, huge governments, a lot of interventionism is finally very bad for societies.
D- So then, why do you Europeans love big government?
A- If you create a system, and the system is the welfare system, you can be living in the system very comfortably. If you work limited hours during the week, you have long holidays, you have good health system, free educational system -- the comfortability for a lot of people is very serious, no?
But the problem is nothing is free. Nothing is for free.
D- So are you saying that Europeans have chosen comfort over conviction?
A- We have forgotten convictions, no? The price of European success is to forget convictions and to live in indifference to values.
And a country, a continent that doesn't believe in anything, can believe in anything. And this is problematic.
D- The European Left, which is after all, most of Europe, doesn’t have much respect for conservative America. Why is this?
A- This is an expression of European arrogance, no? European intellectual arrogance. They think one part of America is not very intelligent because it's not enough European.
D- Unlike many of your fellow Europeans, you’re a great defender of Israel. Why?
A- This is a time to express naturally that Israel is a democracy, it's a part of the Western World. It's a Democracy as U.S., as Spain or France or UK or Germany. It's a democracy under threat. It's a democracy that's on the frontline of Western values. We share the same values, we share the same ideas, basically. And we have a responsibility and obligation to defend Israel if Israel is under threat or Israel is under attack.
D- You have formed an organization to support Israel, the Friends of Israel Initiative. Tell us about it.
A- I am not Jewish. I have no special connection with Jewish people. But the most important question for the Friends of Israel Initiative is precisely that it's not a Jewish organization. We defend strategically the idea that the state of Israel is a central part of the Western World.
Israel is a normal country. Even more, now it's a land of opportunities, of prosperity, and high technology, and research, and a lot of opportunities for the people. But it's a democracy.