Final Word from Tuesday, April 21, 2015

During the Cold War, Russians said that "optimists learn English, and pessimists learn Chinese." In the era of the New Cold War, some Russians say that the opposite is now true. Optimists study Chinese, and pessimists see the American era as coming to an end. If this vision of the world is accurate, the example of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) shows that there are many, many optimists across the globe. To the chagrin of Washington, 57 countries have signed up to become founding members of the China-led institution, including 20 European countries. Among those who are "pessimistic" about the outlook for the U.S. are such stalwart allies as France, Germany and the U.K. Notably absent from the list, though, are the countries of New Europe. They're still grateful to the U.S. for the end of Communism. Oops. Poland signed up for the AIIB last week. Do the Poles perhaps know something the Czechs don't? [Czech Republic United States language D.C.]

Glossary of difficult words

New Europe - in this context, the post-Communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe;

chagrin - annoyance or irritation;

outlook - prospects, hopes or future.

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