Pedro Sánchez says that Spain is obliged to sell arms to Saudi Arabia because it's in the country's interest. It's a way of telling the people that if he wasn't prime minister, he call for the opposite, but the responsibilities of the office oblige him to do something which maybe he doesn't want to. The defence of Spain's interests becomes something of a catch-all which can support anything from imprisoning social leaders and a government with accusations that are patently false to using unjustified police violence against citizens who were queuing at their polling stations to vote. In defence of Spain's interests, king Felipe VI took a stance against the great majority of Catalan society in that horrible speech on 3rd October last year and today the Spanish monarchy isn't in a better state in Catalonia, where the head of state has been condemned by the Parliament. He also has ever more difficulties to avoid protests in the Basque country and Navarre; and, more recently, has even had problems in Asturias and the Balearic Islands.
But let's return to weapons. You can look the other way in the case of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist allegedly murdered by his country's authorities in their consulate in Istanbul. Yes, you can. Pedro Sánchez has been doing so for days to save a few thousands job in Andalusia, where there are regional elections just around the corner. It's a different thing to do that with one hand and, with the other, present your policy under the halo of irreproachable ethics. Dude, not that. What Spain does with arms sales is many things, but not ethical.
The attitude of chancellor Angela Merkel has been very different: she's suspended the sale of arms to the Saudis until the Khashoggi case is resolved. And that's not nothing for Germany, since they're third in Europe in terms of arms sales, behind France and the United Kingdom. Behind the Germans come Italy, Bulgaria and Spain, in sixth place. Can we deduce from this attitude from chancellor Merkel that she's not thought about Germany's interests? Nobody would dare to say such nonsense in light of the ever stronger condemnation of Saudi Arabia in international public opinion.
Would it not be that Merkel has thought that Germany's interests are best defended this way? Turning the most complete condemnation of the Saudi regime into a political banner and pushing for a radical opposition from the European Union. Sometimes, it would also be good if, if only for a while, Spain's interests would also have this perspective, much more committed to values which are so fundamental in a western society. Because following a murder like Khashoggi's you cannot be on both sides. Either you're on the side of the companies or you support the most furious condemnation of a horrific state crime.