Leon Panetta in Portugal

We don’t get many visitors in Portugal. Parents every now and then. It’s a nice country, but not a major vacation spot or major player in international relations.

It’s a small country with a population size less than that of New York City, but every now and then we notice something about Portugal in the international news. Today it was a picture of Leon Panetta on Drudge with two Portuguese flags in the background.

Leon Panetta Visited "Us"

Leon Panetta Visited “Us”

No, he didn’t visit us, but it is interesting to note that he stopped by Lisbon while in Europe. A BBC story mentioned his visit:

“Before his brief visit to Madrid, Mr Panetta became the first US defence secretary to visit Portugal for 30 years. Although the US is adding to its overall military presence in Spain, it is cutting numbers in Portugal. While in Lisbon, Mr Panetta and Portuguese Defence Minister Jose Pedro Aguiar-Branco spoke warmly of their long-standing bilateral military ties.”

I’m not so sure that agree with the last part about “long-standing bilateral military ties” but that’s ok.

 

  • Ricardo Sant’Anna

    Hi Michael.

    Portugal and the US. have a long relationship in terms of diplomacy. A quick search on Google will give you a lot of info. For example:

    http://history.state.gov/countries/portugal
    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3208.htm
    http://www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-11004.html

    Military always follows diplomacy and Portugal (although not very well known) always provided the US with a firm ground to have a military intelligence information “hotspot” of European movements and decisions.

    There is still a lot of information to be studied but there are significant proves that Portugal played a significant role in the Spanish–American War, by allowing spy’s to arrive undisturbed and using the Portuguese-Spanish border line to gather intelligence.

    Also, even not always in a direct way, the US has had a role in arming the Portuguese army and training its officers since the 19th century.

    A known fact is the use of the Azores by the US.or the role of Portugal during the first and second world war. We all know the famous “Casablanca”, but Lisbon was the real deal. Do you know that Ian Fleming wrote his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale (1952), inspired by spy stories that happened in a well known Casino Hotel in Estoril, near Lisboa?

    Hope it helps.

    • http://cbcpm.net Michael

      Ricardo, thanks for the comment. You are right. My point of view was more based on the fact that Panetta was the first Secretary of Defense to visit Portugal in 30 years. I reasoned, if the ties were longer, stronger and more important, it wouldn’t take 30 years to visit.
      Again, you are right, but as an American when I think of long diplomatic relationships, my mind goes to England, Poland and Israel (which may not be long if looked at in terms of the Spanish-American War).
      I appreciate your comment and your kindly setting me, and the record straight.

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