Final Word from Thursday, July 2, 2015

Fans of "House of Cards" know the difference between taking on a powerful corporation and a world power. Neither is a cakewalk, but the world power is ultimately able to summon far greater resources. Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek is in the unenviable position of being caught between three world powers (the U.S., Germany and Russia) and several not-so-impuissant Czech oligarchal and criminal structures with expansionist tendencies of their own. After some initial false steps, Zaorálek has found a path that allows him to survive in this minefield. On the global level the Americans have the upper hand (they got rid of Petr Drulák, for example); within the EU context the Germans have little reason to complain; and the Russians always have Miloš Zeman to rely on. This leaves the criminal structures to do what they want domestically and regionally, as long as their interests don't collide with those of the big boys. [Czech Republic policy first deputy European Union United States]

Glossary of difficult words

minefield - a subject or situation presenting unseen hazards; an area planted with explosive mines;

cakewalk - an absurdly or surprisingly easy task;

to summon - (in this context) to muster, gather or collect;

impuissant - unable to take effective action; powerless;

to have/gain the upper hand - to have/gain advantage or control over someone or something;

Petr Drulák - formerly first deputy foreign minister, who criticized a foreign policy based on the legacy of Václav Havel;

to collide with - to come into conflict with.

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