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Radar, Obama, and Czechs anchored in the west

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Some of the Czech media have, both in their news coverage and in their comments (for instance Lidové noviny) dealt with the fact that new US President Barack Obama has written off the radar in Brdy. It has not been stated clearly (that probably doesn’t happen in politics and diplomacy), but let’s be honest with ourselves and say that it’s becoming quite obvious.

There is always something good about all bad things. For example, I had a feeling that Czech society makes the whole radar thing very simple. In their view, the radar will help us cement our relationship with the west. The problem is that at the same time, something in Czech society is moving in the opposite direction, pulling us out of the arms of western society. Unfortunately, any radar, even if there were ten radars and two US military airports here, would not help us overcome most of these problems.

Let’s take a few examples. Russia is known for having two legal systems – the law for the power elite, and the law for the plebs. The latter is obeyed relatively strictly and there is relative order in the country.

Let’s take an example from the Czech Republic. When you illegally build a summer house somewhere near the Sázava river, then someone would send there a bulldozer to tear it down. When a Russian entrepreneur illegally builds a whole village near Karlovy Vary, nobody’s going to tear it down. The town hall is either afraid or is blackmailed or accepts bribes. Or all of the above.

Let’s take the Čunek case. The investigation was apparently manipulated, and a member of the political elite achieved preferential treatment. Only when Čunek left the government did the justice minister allow criticism of the case by a public prosecutor. The Czech president’s effort to dismiss Supreme Court chairman Iva Brožová is similar. Would the US president ever think of dismissing a judge whom he appointed earlier?

The ban on wiretapping release is a similar concept. Instead of getting to the media, wiretaps will continue circulating but just within the privileged groups which, in line with the Russian example, will use them for blackmail and political manipulation.

Also completely “un-western” is the way the Social Democrats are disintegrating the legal system with their approach to the health care fees.

And the lamenting could go on and on: The dirty streets, the service in restaurants, misunderstanding about what public space means and how it should be treated are all also un-western. Non-western is the way the state cares for education and culture that, like in Russia, are perceived as a superstructure. Anyway, we confuse culture with entertainment for the plebs, taking again the Russian circus as an example.

Any recollection of the Munich Treaty in connection with the radar is nonsense. It’s not the USA’s fault (and Americans certainly don’t understand it at all) that the radar here has become a means for a political battle and a battle for power, a tool for political polarization and politics of confrontation. That goes for both of the large parties – after all, it’s both ODS and ČSSD who benefits from the politics of confrontation and polarisation.

This method of politics and public debate is a Soviet one (eliminating the internal and external enemies), not a western one. A dialogue and a fruitful consensus are the achievements of the western civilisation, not the eliminating of enemies and stamping of opponents on the orders of the politburo and a deputy for ideology.

So there’s a lot of good in all bad things. From the geographical point of view, we are situated where the northwestern civilization meets the southeastern authoritarianism and corruption. It is up to us what environment and culture will prevail here. Now, without the radar (probably), we have another reason to fight for ourselves and our anchoring. And to try harder.


I apologise to some readers. I had written various versions of this. I wanted to recycle my idea in connection with the latest development regarding the US radar.

Translated with permission by the Prague Daily Monitor.

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