Friday, December 11, 2009

Havel Speaks Out

One of the few sentient leaders left in Europe, Vaclav Havel, the playwright and former president of the Czech Republic, sat down with Susan Glasser over at Foreign Policy for an interview. It is well worth the read, but here are a couple of high-lights:

On whether China and the rise of Asia are dangerous to Europe:
She (China) may sort of inconspicuously, through the use of economic mechanisms, become the owner of a half of the globe over time. But I do not see obvious expansive intentions behind it. Certainly nothing like the Russian Orthodox faith that they are the ones who will save the whole world, which characterizes the Russian regime today.
How about Obama postponing his meeting with the Dalai Lama?
When [French Prime Minister Edouard] Daladier returned from the [1938] Munich conference, the whole nation was applauding him for saving the peace. He made a miniscule compromise in the interest of peace. But it was the beginning of a chain of evil that subsequently brought about many millions of deaths. We can't just say, "This is just a small compromise that can be overlooked. First we will go to China and then perhaps talk with the Dalai Lama." It all looks practical, pragmatic, logical, but it is necessary to think about whether it is not the first small compromise that can be the beginning of that long chain that is no good.
But when do you decide small compromises are worth it?
Because they (the Chinese) respect it when someone is standing his ground, when someone is not afraid of them. When someone soils his pants prematurely, then they do not respect you more for it.
On Obama's decision to add troops to Afghanistan (sadly I agree, though I offer a new course over at Red State Rumblings:
Out of a kind of reluctance, the Taliban has been allowed to flourish and take root, and now it will be much more troublesome. To a certain extent, in my opinion, Obama is harvesting the fruits of the works of the previous presidents. Neither clearing out of there nor sending a million soldiers in there is a good solution anymore.

How about Europe today? (This answer is a little chilling.)

I think that America has not forgotten us, but it should still take into account that the terrain here in Central Europe is somewhat more explosive than other areas of conflict elsewhere in the world. World wars start here, not in Iran or Korea or anywhere else.

Good read from a great man.

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