Final Word from Monday, July 4, 2016

When Miloš Zeman takes a disliking to someone, he just can't let it go. Bohuslav Sobotka knows all about it, as does Andrew Schapiro. The official reason for Zeman's grudge against the U.S. ambassador is Schapiro's objection to the president's trip to China to celebrate the end of WWII in Asia 70 years ago, which earned Zeman a reciprocal visit by the Chinese president. When asked in May whether the Castle remains closed to Schapiro, Zeman told a Russian journalist that Schapiro can always visit as a tourist. What's most interesting is that by doubling down yesterday with regard to his open hostility toward Schapiro, Zeman is forcing the U.S. government to support Sobotka even more. This is a risky strategy for someone whose No. 1 political goal is to bring Sobotka's premiership to an end. Unless Zeman is convinced that support of the White House will be inconsequential, or even a negative thing, when the death blow is finally dealt. [Czech Republic United States USA State Dept. newspaper]

Glossary of difficult words

Correction: Schapiro criticized Zeman prior to his trip to Moscow, not before his trip to China. Our apologies for the mistake.

to get at someone - to find a way to irritate someone; to manage to wound someone, physically or emotionally;

to let something go - to stop doing something; to not take action;

grudge - a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury;

to double down - to strengthen one's commitment to a particular strategy or course of action, typically one that is potentially risky;

inconsequential - irrelevant.

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