Final Word from Monday, June 2, 2003

Václav Klaus exchanged a few words with George W. Bush in St. Petersburg over the weekend, and it made the front page of two of the CR's major dailies. Those few minutes of niceties were crucial for Klaus. He can now say he met with Bush before Vladimír Špidla did. Špidla is set to visit Washington in early July, whereas Klaus might get the cold shoulder during a planned trip to the U.S. later this month. Condoleezza Rice commented after the Iraq war that France should be punished, Germany ignored and Russia forgiven. Klaus is now somewhere between Germany and Russia. His politics are still objectionable, but he can be useful to the U.S. in terms of dividing Europe. Furthermore, with Amb. Craig Stapleton to leave his post around the end of this year to help Bush with his reelection campaign (according to unofficial reports), it's in the U.S.'s interest to make sure relations with all major Czech politicians are in order.


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