This makes me proud to be a Czech American!
Czech President Miloš Zeman (AFP Photo/Patrick Kovarik)
Leader of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, says he won’t let any ambassador of another nation intrude with advice over his foreign visits. This comes as the US Ambassador criticized Zeman’s plans to go to Moscow’s celebration of the WWII parade.
“I’m afraid, after this statement the doors of the Prague Castle are closed for Ambassador Schapiro,” Zeman told Parlamentni Listy webportal on Saturday. Prague Castle is the president’s official residence and office.
Earlier, the US ambassador to the Czech Republic, Andrew Schapiro, criticized Zeman’s decision to go to Russia for Victory Day celebrations in May. He called the plans “short-sighted”, as it would “be awkward” if the Czech president was the only statesman from an EU country on Red Square.
“I cannot imagine a Czech ambassador in Washington giving advice to the US president on where he should travel,” Zeman said. “I will not let any ambassador interfere with the program of my foreign trips.”
In the interview, the president also voiced his concern over the current Western attempts to isolate Russia.
“It is essential to maintain and develop relations with Russia not only on a commercial basis, but also, for instance, based on the strategic partnership in the fight against international terrorism,” he said.
Previously, Zeman said that his visit to Russia would be a “sign of gratitude for not having to speak German in this country.” He also intended to pay tribute to the memory of 150,000 Soviet soldiers who died liberating Czechoslovakia.
Washington is just panicking because it is apparently failing to isolate Russia, said the head of the State Duma Foreign Relations Committee Aleksey Pushkov.
“Judging by the hysteria of the US Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Washington is nervous about Western countries’ leaders traveling to Moscow on May 9. Scared that the isolation will not work,” Pushkov said on Twitter.
Andrew Schapiro, 51, is a Chicago lawyer who became an ambassador only half a year ago.
By Saturday, 25 foreign leaders and several international organizations confirmed their participation in the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War that is to take place in Moscow on May 9, the head of the Kremlin administration Sergey Ivanov said.
The Soviet Union lost over 11 million soldiers during the war, constituting the biggest death toll among other members of the coalition, fighting against Nazi Germany. Military parades to mark the victory in the Second World War are to take place on the streets of 26 Russian cities.
Much more here.
By Vlad Sobell
President Zeman’s demarche banishing the US Ambassador Andrew Schapiro from the Prague Castle is a welcome sign that at least some European leaders have drawn the line at Washington’s imperial-like bullying. After all there are limits to what they are prepared to tolerate. It is also an urgently needed reminder to Washington that some European leaders take seriously the values of democracy preached by America: genuine democracy is incompatible with the renewed Soviet-style practice of passing down instructions on how the foreign policy of putatively sovereign nations should be conducted. Although Zeman’s political role in the Czech Republic is honorary (rather than executive), it is to be hoped that the US political class will take notice and interpret his “disobedience” as proof that not everyone in Europe is ready to be pushed around without so much as a murmur.
Let’s briefly consider the most recent events providing the background to the spat – namely Moscow’s reclaiming Crimea. The peninsula was Russian from 1783 onwards, with the vast majority of its residents being Russophone. It was handed over to Ukraine by a totalitarian dictator, Nikita Khrushchev, in 1954 when he needed to strengthen his hand in Kremlin power struggles. Of course the Communists would not have dreamt of conducting a referendum the way Putin did – paying heed to legality certainly was not their style.
Fast forward to February 2014, when, in another illegal act, Kiev fell under the sway of a virulently anti-Russian US-backed regime. Anticipating trouble, the Kremlin swiftly responded by re-claiming Crimea. Would any self-respecting power risk the unleashing of terror on its fellow nationals by far-right “punishers”, not to mention the inevitable transfer to NATO further down the road of the Russia-leased Sevastopol naval base? We saw how Britain, with US support, acted to reclaim the Falkland Islands in 1982 (after they had been annexed by an Argentine fascist junta), eventually declaring its inhabitants British citizens. By reintegrating Crimea with Russia, Putin (like Mrs Thatcher) corrected a historical wrong and respected the publicly declared wish of the overwhelming majority of the territory’s current population.
The US Ambassador in Prague may consider Zeman’s intention to take part in the celebrations in Moscow “short-sighted” and his appearance there “awkward”. However, many independently thinking people, not only in this country but throughout Europe and even in the US, may well see Zeman’s actions as a desperately needed affirmation of national sovereignty and, indeed, democracy. As the Czech President explained, he is going to Moscow above all to honour the 150,000 Soviet soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the liberation of this country from Hitler’s Nazi hordes. As he has put it, his visit to Russia will be a “sign of gratitude for not having to speak German in this country”. From an objective viewpoint, it is difficult to find anything disreputable in Zeman’s plans.
The Czech President’s stance is a courageous act in the context of the unashamed US/EU/NATO-supported revival of Nazi tendencies in Ukraine and efforts to portray the beast as a democracy-promoting force. Zeman has served notice that not everyone in Europe is willing to be pushed around by uncouth viceroys such as Victoria Nuland or the armchair warrior Senator McCain. This is exactly what was needed in a country long traumatised by foreign occupations and which has opened a new page within a supposedly democratic alliance. Zeman has also delivered a much-needed lesson in democracy to the increasingly faltering Washington. High-handed imperial-like instructions and a misplaced sense of solidarity in an alliance that is clearly losing its democratic ways have nothing to do with genuine democracy.
Vlad Sobell lives in Prague and teaches political economy to university students both there and in Berlin.
Group of Czech and Slovak reservists will not support NATO in a war against Russia
Czechoslovak reserve forces against the war planned by NATO commanders
On January 19th 2015 the facebook group, which combines all members of the CSLA, PS, VMV, SNB in reserve or decommissioned, issued an important memorandum, which has become even more urgent in light of the situation today. A defensive back up location in the event that the group gets „disappeared“ from Facebook, the group of the same name exists on VK.com. as well.
For the first time since the end of the 2nd World War we see a genuine threat of war yet again. Consequently, we consider it necessary to issue the following statement.
We, the Czechoslovak soldiers in reserve, unanimously reject any participation in battles that are geopolitical acts of aggression of the global elite by way of NATO and the support of our governments.
We swore to defend our homeland the Czech and Slovak Republics. We swore to protect the freedom and independence of our proud and sovereign nations, for which our ancestors laid down their lives in the world wars. We are guided by this oath in a civilian initiative to deal with a crisis situation. Freedom and independence is being jeopardized long time by a system of representative pseudo-democracy, where an elected representative does not have the obligation to advance the interests of voters and in practice, laws represent but the personal interests of the legislators, the interests of political parties and economic interest groups. Our homeland is under the pressure of global elites and economic interest groups, who are doing away with the power of citizens through a system of representative democracy.
Our deliberately flawed constitution and charter of rights and freedoms is being perverted and constitutional laws are violated by legislators themselves. Legislative power is being privatized, executive power is being politicized and judicial power corrupted by lobbying laws and pressure from our governments. The results are an unplayable public deficit, deindustrialization, the privatization of the republic’s property and defrauded budgets, food and energy dependence, the privatization of natural resources, pensions and the health of citizens. Our country has been unlawfully divided, looted, indebted, people enslaved and their families liquidated by repossession genocide, national infrastructure transferred into the hands of western corporations. Destructive chaos and despair dominates in the community.
For this reason, we the Czechoslovak soldiers in reserve recognize our military oath and together we come with a vision for the defense of our nations. We unequivocally reject fighting in the ranks of NATO against the Russian federation or other Slavic nations and we likewise intend to stand up firmly through organized civilian pressure against the further liquidation of our democracy, freedom and independence. We are uniting in a crisis situation and by utilizing our civilian and military skills and expertise we intend to create sufficiently strong, organized civil pressure for the period of time necessary to assert our patriotic goals.
We swore allegiance to our homeland, the Czech and Slovak Republics.
We, the Czechoslovak reserve soldiers,
will fulfill this oath!
This diplomatic debacle shows how little influence the typical American citizen, voter, and taxpayer has over US foreign policy. The overwhelming majority of Americans, of every political stripe, do NOT want the US government to provoke a war with Russia. Incidentally, Russia is not at war with anyone, yet it was BHO who received the Nobel Peace Prize. Go figure…