There is a story about Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, who considered himself an expert strategist, taking part in war games before World War I. After the mock battle, the German Army’s chief of staff supposedly told him, “There were a number of traps in the war game, your majesty, and you fell into every one of them.” The Kaiser’s modern counterpart is Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. He has mishandled the drive for Catalonia’s independence at every stage, and Spain is reaping the whirlwind.
From the start, it was Rajoy’s refusal to negotiate a more equitable tax collection regime, or even to acknowledge that the current arrangement might be a problem, that led to the election of Catalonia’s pro-independence majority. His evident astonishment that the parties in the independence coalition would keep their campaign promise, and hold a referendum on separation from Spain, compounded the error.
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