Skip to comments.Vaclav Havel on Obama: Soiling Your Pants Prematurely Will Not Gain You International Respect
Posted on 12/11/2009 11:52:43 AM PST by Justaham
Foreign Policy interviewed Former Czech President, political prisoner and playwright Vaclav Havel on Barack Obama and the costs of moral compromise.
Question: How, as president, do you decide when these small compromises are worth it and when they might lead to something more dangerous?
Havel: Politics, it means, every day making some compromises, and to choose between one evil and another evil, and to decide which is bigger and which is smaller. But sometimes, some of these compromises could be very dangerous because it could be the beginning of the road of making a lot of other compromises, which are results of the first one, and there are very dangerous compromises. And its necessary, I think, to have the feeling which compromise is possible to do and which, could be, maybe, after ten years, could be somehow very dangerous.
I will illustrate this with my own experience. Two days after I was elected president, I invited the Dalai Lama to visit. I was the first head of the state who invited him in this way, directly. And everybody was saying that it was a terribly dangerous act and issued their disapproving statements and expressions. But it was a ritual matter. Later, the Chinese deputy prime minister and the foreign minister came for a visit and brought me a pile of books about the Dalai Lama and some governmental documents about what good care they have taken of Tibet, and so on. They were propagandist, fabricated books, but he felt the need to explain something to me.
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My half-Czech heritage is smiling after that smackdown. :)
That deserves a toast with a good Czech Pilsner.
I’ve always liked Havel, he gets it.
Vaclav Havel is quite an amazing fellow.
So is my quarter Czech heritage. The current Czech president is pretty cool too.
What a smart man. Amazing how all the politicians from the former Soviet Block are so level-headed, fearless and BRILLIANT!
Unfortunately I’m Belgian and have nothing to smile about.
Even back in the 70s it was evident. My grandparents went back to their hometown of Ghent and upon returning stated they’d never go back again because “They’re all communists”
They’ve live under and survived real oppression and a state that was literally hostile to and often murderous towards its citizens. BHO has merely had to endure Fox News.
They've been more or less outlawed in the west...