Final Word from Wednesday, March 26, 2003

One week into the Iraq war, Czech commentators are still complaining that the CR doesn't have a clear position. In fact, though, President Václav Klaus is now almost single-handedly setting the Iraq agenda. Premier Vladimír Špidla has been distracted by internal ČSSD problems, and Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda was silenced by critics after he made a self-interested remark about the CR being on the side of the coalition. Klaus has flourished, adopting a think-tank tone about false methods and motivations in the serious media (HN, BBC) and a simplistic anti-Bush pose in the more-popular MFD ("war is horrible"). His strategy is working brilliantly. For the pro-Bush faction to regain its voice, it might have to find a spokesman. Václav Havel is perhaps the only one with the authority to challenge Klaus' views. It wouldn't be surprising if Havel broke his silence soon.


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