Final Word from Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Czech policy on punishing Russia for what is happening in Ukraine should now be clear: The Czechs want to have their sanctions and to eat their caviar too. They want to keep their allies of new happy without angering their allies of old. It's the same approach with regard to the military response. PM Bohuslav Sobotka convinces the U.S. ambassador that the Czechs are staunch Nato allies but then starts waffling as soon as the ambassador departs. This Janus face wins Sobotka prime-time coverage on Russian state TV. In a new article for Foreign Policy, Sobotka says that the commitment of his country to Nato is best measured by the sacrifices it has made in human lives: Five Czech soldiers were recently lost in Afghanistan. Sobotka is prepared to offer up others as proof of his commitment, but he's unwilling to offer up himself by taking a firm political stance - one way or the other - on what is happening so close to home. [Czech Republic Ukrainian crisis]

Glossary of difficult words

to have your cake and eat it too - to enjoy both of two desirable but mutually exclusive alternatives;

staunch - loyal and committed in attitude;

to waffle - to waver or equivocate; to fail to make up one's mind;

Janus - two-faced; hypocritical; two-sided;

to offer up - to sacrifice, to offer as sacrifice.

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