Why the Catalonian Crisis Is Only Going to Get Worse


The Rostrum, featuring Rafael Bardaji on Catalonia.

Catalonian president Carles Puigdemont’s near-declaration of independence is the latest move in the Spanish state’s struggle for autonomy — a struggle that is putting pressure on Spain, the markets, and a Europe already under serious strain. For this week’s podcast, we spoke with Rafael Bardaji, former Spanish national security advisor, about the risks and dangers the situation presents.

About Rafael Bardaji:

Rafael L. Bardaji, born in 1959, graduated in Political Science and Sociology at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid and specialized in Strategic Issues and Military Affairs at Oxford University, Harvard and MIT.

From 1986 until 1996 he was the Director of the Strategic Studies Group (GEES), a private, non-partisan institution based in Madrid which conducts research and produces analysis on international security and defense issues.

During his professional career, Rafael has continuously provided consultancy work for NATO military commands, the Spanish armed forces, the Spanish intelligence service and defense contractors. He is currently an advisor to the Special Operation Forces HQ at NATO.

In 1996 he was appointed Senior Strategic Advisor to the Defense Minister of Spain (where amongst other things he was responsible for the Strategic Defense Review). In 2002, he became National Security Advisor to the Spanish Prime Minister, José María Aznar.

From 2004 to the present, he has served as the Senior Advisor to the former President of Spain, being also the Director for Foreign Policy at FAES Foundation in Madrid. He is a member of the Atlantic Council of the United States Strategic Advisory Group, and has recently been appointed senior research fellow at the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs. He is also an Advocate Member of the Bush Presidential Library.

Since its beginning in 2010 he has served as the Executive Director of The Friends of Israel Initiative, a global organization fighting the deligitimization of Israel.

He has published several books and made numerous contributions to texts and seminars abroad, as well as articles in specialized magazines and in the press where he holds weekly columns in different newspapers.

He has been awarded the Aeronautical Merit Cross (1991) the Naval Merit Cross (2000) and the Army Merit Cross (2003).

A Scuba diver instructor and underwater photographer, he has won several international awards for his work to protect the sharks.

He is married with one son.