Final Word from Wednesday, February 13, 2013

North Korea's announcement of its third nuclear test right before the U.S. State of the Union address is a reminder that one of the biggest responsibilities of a U.S. president is to launch a nuclear strike. Americans would not want an intoxicated president put in the position of making such a decision, and this is one of the reasons alcohol and drugs can be such an issue in presidential campaigns. A recovered alcoholic or recovered heavy drinker can get elected U.S. president, but an active one cannot. Czech voters are more tolerant, partly because their president has no nuclear football to carry around. There are in fact few, if any, instances when a Czech president must make an immediate decision, without the benefit of being able to sleep off whatever might cloud his judgment. Under such circumstances, a president's habits remain mainly the domain of jokes and internet forums. But any president seeking greater powers will understandably come under pressure to demonstrate that his vices are not an impediment to assuming them.[Czech Republic alcoholism alcoholic United States Miloš Zeman George W. Bush bad habits]

Glossary of difficult words

vice - a weakness of character or behavior; a bad habit;

intoxicated - under the influence of alcohol or drugs;

recovered - having voluntarily returned to a lifestyle of sobriety;

nuclear football - a briefcase with launch codes and retaliatory options for a nuclear strike;

to sleep something off - to dispel the effects of or to recover from something by going to sleep;

impediment - an obstacle or hindrance to doing something.


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