>An anti-American malgré lui – Václav Klaus in 2003 II
>More crititical Klaus reflections from 2003 on the Iraq war.
Despite his well established critical stance towards the Franco-German axis and belief that the foreign policies of Reagan and Thatcher, rather than West German Ostpolitik had created the geo-political environment for the fall of communism and US foreign policy had lateropened a ‘clear corridor’ for early NATO membership and further development, Klaus rejected the Rumsfeldian notion of an Old (anti-American) Europe and a pro-American ‘New Europe’ of former communist countries in CEE and more reliable US allies in WE such the UK. Although the role of US in the collapse of communism created a ‘loyalty’ in CEE countries domestic factors had been the dominant cause of regime change. CEE thus knew that ‘freedom is not a gift or a good (zboží) that can be exported’.
He therefore stressed his right as President of a small country to formulate and assert his own view. After breaking out of the Soviet Empire CEE states wanted to follow their own interests – some he felt which was ‘very American’. Rational doubts about the Iraq war were not a New Anti-Americanism’ – as US neo-cons had argued. In belittling rational criticism they were he claimed paradoxically created a ‘new’ New Americanism into which critics of traditional anti-Americanism (like himself) were being forced (Lidové noviny 26 March 2003).
Apart from taking sides in the strange cross-cutting generated by the Iraq war against many of his more neo-con inclined ODS colleagues, Klaus anticipates Fukuyama’s mea culpa about the non-exportabilty of 1989 and the need to not to overgeneralise the fall of communism as a model of rapid and positive regime change. This would also seem to apply to writers like Timothy Garton Ash – and a host of less well known but academically better equipped political scientists (Milada Vachudova’s ever thought provoking book Europe Undivided comes to mind) who see 1989 – rather least democratic consolidation thereafter – as a product of the EU’s ‘soft power’ generated by enlargement. This too may not be a model that can just roll and roll – I suspected the Coloured Revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia (and perhaps just maybe Belarus and Moldova with the passing of some years) are part of this process, but the exportability of the CEE models of democratization, even in the irmore recent form of civic and electoral mobilization against semi-authoritarian nationalists rulers as in Slovakia (1998) Croatia (2000), Serbia (2000) or may be strictly limited exportability. Here, it seems, I am basically with Klaus, although, despite being a professional Klaus-watcher, I have always found the moderate secular conservative of ex-dissident, ex-PM and current Senatir Petr Pithart more intellectually interesting.