Final Word from Thursday, October 29, 2015

U.S. Amb. Andrew Schapiro told Czech Radio earlier this month that he's happy with his relationship with the Castle and that he had already been to a ceremony there since Miloš Zeman closed the doors to him in April. Almost as if in response to this, Zeman told this week that he only closed his office to Schapiro, not the entire Castle. Otherwise, he said, Schapiro couldn't even visit the Castle Gardens as a tourist. Of course he invited Schapiro to the awards ceremony last night, Zeman added. What he failed to say is that he put Schapiro near the back of the long Vladislav Hall, although he did at least give him an aisle seat. Zeman could have used the interview and last night's ceremony to repair relations with the ambassador, but he intentionally didn't. Schapiro seems to have become a sort of Michael McFaul figure for Zeman. McFaul was the specialist on revolutions who was U.S. ambassador to Russia for two years. Putin and his cronies loved having him there, because they could pick on him anytime they wanted to send a message to Washington. [Czech Republic television TV Radiožurnál United States of American D.C.]

Glossary of difficult words

to toy with someone - to treat someone without due seriousness;

aisle seat - a seat, esp. on an airplane, situated at the end of a row, adjacent to the aisle;

crony - a close friend or companion;

to pick on someone - to repeatedly single someone out for blame, criticism, or unkind treatment in a way perceived to be unfair.

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