Final Word from Tuesday, September 1, 2020

In his 2011 book Berlin 1961, Frederick Kempe used declassified U.S., Soviet and German documents to show that John F. Kennedy acquiesced to and was complicit in the building of the Berlin Wall. As we wrote in Oct. 2009, a documentary on n-tv argued that to Berliners, Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech wasn't heroic or comforting but rather confirmation by the U.S. that the Wall was permanent. The U.S. would not intervene to stop the division of the city by the Russians, and the Cold War would continue. Such Realpolitik goes way over the head of Senate Pres. Miloš Vystrčil, who declared in Taipei this morning, "I am Taiwanese." Reuters wrote today that Vystrčil was "channeling Kennedy's defiance of Communism in Berlin in 1963." The reality is that the Czech Senate does not recognize the independence of Taiwan, never has and probably never will. In this sense, Vystrčil's momentary support for Taiwan in 2020 is indeed similar to Kennedy's for Berlin in 1963. [ Czech Republic JFK United States of America Germany East West president Parliament ]

Glossary of difficult words

to acquiesce to - to accept something reluctantly but without protest;

complicit - involved with others in an activity that is unlawful or morally wrong;

Realpolitik - a system of politics or principles based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations;

to go over someone's head - to be too difficult for someone to understand;

to channel - to direct towards a particular end or object;

defiance - open resistance; bold disobedience.

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