Final Word from Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A professor at the University of Chicago who is virtually unknown to Czechs is having a major impact on Czech policy toward Russia. The professor, John J. Mearsheimer, writes in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs (see here for English or Russian; sorry, no Czech) that the West provoked Vladimir Putin by enlarging the EU and Nato. Mearsheimer said hardly anything new, but the timing was exquisite. Pres. Vladimír Dlouhý of the Czech Chamber of Commerce picked up on it, which led to citations by Jan Macháček of Respekt, and also by ČTK. PM Bohuslav Sobotka then repeated parts of the analysis nearly verbatim in Právo. For those unfamiliar with Mearsheimer's article, Sobotka might have looked like an erudite foreign-policy analyst. The reality, though, is that Sobotka repeats what others tell him without understanding the substance or ramifications of his words. Is it truly proper, for example, for the PM of a Nato/EU country to state that any Nato military support for Ukraine would lead to World War III? Is it even analytically correct? [Czech Republic Economic Chamber European Union]

Glossary of difficult words

erudite - having or showing great knowledge or learning;

exquisite - (in this context) magnificent, superb;

to pick up on something - to become alert to something; to take notice of something;

verbatim - in exactly the same words that were originally used;

ramification - a consequence of an action or event, esp. when complex or unwelcome.

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