Final Word from Thursday, February 15, 2018

Czechs spend more on defense than on justice, law-making, diplomacy and culture combined, which is explained by the high cost of military equipment and firepower. Karla Šlechtová as defense minister has disrupted the cozy relationships that developed under ČSSD - Martin Stropnický was never really in control of his ministry - and has started questioning some of these high equipment costs in a rather undiplomatic way. Examining costs, ownership structures and potential security risks is the prudent thing for any defense minister to do, but when Andrej Babiš's political interests are involved, it's always wise to look not only at how he or the country gains from a policy, but also how his political rivals suffer from it. Everybody understands this when an ex-health minister from ČSSD is removed as head of a state-owned hospital. It's less obvious when a Kč 12bn military-helicopter deal with the U.S. is scuttled, yet the same principles apparently apply. [Czech Republic Bell Helicopters weapons]

Glossary of difficult words

firepower - the destructive capacity of guns, missiles, or a military force;

prudent - acting with or showing care and thought for the future;

to scuttle - deliberately to cause (a scheme) to fail.

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