09 February 2007

The Influence Of President Klaus

Whatever else you might have to say about him, it is hard to dispute my assertion that President Vaclav Klaus is the most influential politician in Central and Eastern Europe. Allow me to share a recent article by him. Headed "The Politician I Admire" it concluded;

"For the advocates of freedom and democracy Margaret Thatcher is deservingly a living legend. I have met with many giants of the world politics but none of them has left such an impression with me as this exceptional woman."

Klaus has reached the summit of politics. One of the pluses of that position is a freedom to speak freely. This week, in answer to a journalist querying whether he might be more effective if he were to tone down his criticism of the EU, he snapped back that;

"Political correctness is one of the most destructive things of current times. It is just as dreadful as Marxism and perpetually retards our development"

Feel free to use the comments for other examples of politicians laying it on the line.

6 comments:

CityUnslicker said...

I think the lack of comments is telling in itself.

I did like Norman tebiit though; get on your bike, the cricket test....

istanbultory said...

Much maligned by the Global Left but the Polish President Lech Kaczynski often hits the nail on the head:
Kaczynski told the German daily Die Welt in March 2006. "The EU is an artificial creation" and continued...There is no European public opinion, rather national public opinions"
On the European Constitution:
‘…The constitution may radically change Poland's status in the world. It isn't true that it merely puts in order the existing legal framework. It's a new entity. It creates something of a European state. It introduces a principle of superiority over the Polish constitution and all other national constitutions. There's an underlying idea in this document it sets a path towards the elimination of nation states and the emergence of a European state in the strictest sense of the word. I am definitely opposed to it" March 2006

Increasingly, I think the East may save Europe from its current madnesses...

Sean Hanley said...

It is, I'm afraid, very easy to dispute your assertation that Klaus is the most influential politician in the region - he's probably one of the most prominent and better known CEE politicians in the West - partly because he's been around a long time and can speak English and German - and his calculatedly provovative utterances get a disproportionate amount of publicity a lot of publicity, but the Czech presidency has no real power and outside narrowly defined Tory and right-wing Eurosceptic circles few people are prepared to take him seriously... Havel, whatever his faults, had far greater influence and, managed to cut across numerous political boundaries. And, as for Klaus and Kaczynski coming to the rescue of the British Tories in Europe, well that really does smack of desperation...

Prague said...

Sean - Havel is in the past so that's no argument at all. Klaus' influence is primarily on Czech politics (it's not all good in my opinion but I think you need to speak to more people if you think it doesn't exist) and extends to the surrounding nations who certainly do take him seriously.

Sean Hanley said...

Well, yes he's certainly a player in the small provincial world of Czech politics - and thus an object of interest to professional watchers of the CR such as myself -And here he certainly does have an interesting crosscutting appeal, as his ratings and (for example) ability to cut deals with the Communists in 2003 show. But as an international and regional figure, I suspect your sympathy for man's message leads confuse prominence and influence. Anyone interested in drawing lessons from Czech right-wing politics would be better advised to look beyond Klaus's strutting of the European stage and track debates on Europe or tax in the party in founded. Czech right-wing politics, especially now, is far more than just Vaclav Klaus. For my money, Klaus's real influence is to be found in helping to create a strong Czech right-wing tradition when none existed before.

By contrast, Havel's international influence (and be honest, who outside the Czech Republic apart from convinced conservatives or political anoraks like me actually reads Klaus?) was bought at the price of leaving no domestic legacy at all.

Praguetory said...

I agree with almost everything you've said. The middle classes in the Czech Republic almost uniformly support the ODS and the political agenda is far to the right of most Western countries (e.g. flat tax debate). Whether this is a cause for celebration is subjective, but I do give him credit for it.