Friday, April 11, 2003

"Czech President Vaclav Klaus yesterday rejected the idea of a common European Union foreign policy, and warned against building up the bloc as a counterweight to the United States."

Klaus said he would speak up foreign policy, and now he's speaking up. Klaus and what he represents (Eastern nationalism-cum-euroskepticism) is a much greater threat to European unity than the Iraq crisis. That's the "big picture" that's being ignored by the mainstream media. He's an odd one: He's eager to join the EU, but also sees Czech membership as a fait accompli and wastes no time attacking Brussels (and Berlin and Paris).

Of more local interest might be Klaus's outrageous hypocrisy -- or, perhaps, just plain old foot-in-mouth disease: "We must strengthen the transatlantic axis and not seek confrontation," he says. Oh really? If you believe the "unofficial sources" of the Final Word, a daily bulletin covering Czech news, Klaus asked the U.S. ambassador to remove the Czech Republic from the list of U.S. allies in the "coalition of the willing." The ambassador (Craig Stapleton, Bush's cousin-in-law and former parter in the Texas Rangers) got so angry he stormed out. Oops!

Locals have long predicted that Klaus will make some embarrassing diplomatic misstep sooner or later. Can one do better than piss off the U.S. and the E.U.?


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