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Since the Catalan regional government held an illegal referendum on independence on Oct. 1, its separatist leaders and their sympathizers have called repeatedly for international mediation in their standoff with the Spanish government. The goal, exemplified by Puigdemont in his speech, is to make Catalonia appear magnanimous, in order to get the international community on its side.The call for dialogue – such a sleek and simple request, fitting neatly into a 140-character tweet – resonates with much of the international media and the broader nebula known as the "international community". Democracy relies fundamentally on dialogue.Democracy is hard work.With all due respect for Annan and Tutu, this is what external mediation would amount to – and it would threaten to cripple Spanish democracy.That is why the world – and especially Europe – must resist Catalan separatists' calls for international mediation. Nothing less than the future of the rule of law and constitutional democracy in Spain – and elsewhere – depends on it.More broadly, if democracy in Spain, in the heart of Western Europe, can be weakened so fundamentally, so can democracy everywhere.
American power without wisdom, a risky road
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