Final Word from Thursday, March 4, 2004

Czechs are paying close attention to the U.S. presidential elections, in part because of John Kerry's Czech roots, but also because George W. Bush's policies on terrorism, visas and Iraq have touched them directly. Kerry is portraying Bush as the "great divider" and himself as the one who can bring America together. Kerry's lookalike in the CR, Jan Sokol, was also supposed to be a uniter, but instead that role went to Václav Klaus, who won the presidency a year ago. One of Klaus' critics at the time, Jiří Pehe, admitted in Respekt that Klaus has used his power to influence the government much less than expected and has tried to be above party politics. Klaus has also helped determine how Czechs look at the U.S. He, like many others, admires it for the blocks on which it was built but disagrees with some of its policies. If Klaus were voting, Kerry would likely be his choice. security


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