Final Word from Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Which side would Václav Havel be on in the Syrian war? When the "What would Havel say?" question arose a year ago regarding the refugee crisis, Michael Žantovský wrote in HN that Havel would expect the Syrians to do more to topple their totalitarian regime. Problems of countries and regions can only be resolved on the spot, Žantovský said. Judging from this, Havel would likely support the U.S. effort to help "moderates" bring down Assad, just as he supported the "humanitarian bombing" of Serbia to help the Kosovars. We don't know how Havel would react to the way Kosovo has since become, according to the New York Times, "a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists." Nor how he would react to the U.S.'s apparent readiness to go to war with Russia over Syria. Havel underestimated the bellicosity of his American friends. It's painful to say so on Havel's 80th anniversary, but the road to hell is paved with his good intentions. [Czech Republic Yugoslavia United States Nato Hospodářské noviny]

Glossary of difficult words

to topple - to overthrow; to remove (a government or person in authority) from power;

on the spot - at the scene of an event;

font/fount - an abundant source;

pipeline - a channel or system for supplying goods or information;

bellicosity - aggressiveness and willingness to fight;

the road to hell is paved with good intentions - one might mean well but cause or allow bad things to happen.

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