Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Slovakia. Tide is turning...

The political tide is turning in Slovakia - for the worse. During the recent elections the communists (under whatever new name they are hiding now) won. Slovak president Ivan Gasparovic named Robert Fico to be the new Slovak Prime Minister.

Sharing power in Fico's new government will be former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar and the darling of Slovak nationalists Jan Slota. Vladimir Meciar (an ex-communist), the Prime Minister of Slovakia in the nineties, was and still is a nightmare of Slovak politics. In ruthlessness he could compete with Noriega (with whom he shares more than just some facial features) or any dictator up to Idi Amin Dada. During Meciar's rule, luxury cars turned car bombs were exploding in the streets on an almost daily basis (he blamed that on local mafiosi), his political opponents were persecuted or murdered (he blamed that on local mafiosi), the lucky ones hid abroad (he blamed that on local mafiosi I guess), some the not-so-lucky ones were blown up in their cars (he blamed that on local mafiosi), the son of the then-president was kidnapped (he blamed that on local mafiosi), and his mistress hanged herself (I do not recall, but I think he blamed that on local mafiosi too). During Meciar's government, Slovakia was on the brink of becoming a pariah of the civilized world. Now he is back in a position of power. Why? Has something changed?

Jan Slota is a national level politician, whose every third or fourth word in any given sentence in an earthy Slovak expletive, which can be translated as "whore." People just love it. He is a heavy-duty drinker. In his circles it is considered "standard." In the past, he has issued a call for everybody to get into tanks and to attack Budapest, which happens to be the capital city of neighboring Hungary.

And Robert Fico himself? A young spineless lawyer, populist and an ex-communist, a ladder-climber even during the communist regime, a member of the communist nomenklatura, who after the so-called Velvet Revolution founded a political party so extremely left of center that he was disliked even in the Socialist International organization - and they love any communist nut. It is not known if he has drawn any likable pictures of the streets of old Vienna.

And the above-mentioned three nuts were just put back into a position of power in Slovakia. By democratic elections no less.

They say that some birds are not meant to be caged, because their feathers are too bright. In the same fashion we can state, that some countries were not meant to be democratic, because ... well, whatdayathink? Maybe the Iron curtain came down far too soon. And do not tell me that Eastern Europeans have the right to democratically elect commies if they want to. They don't. There are a lot of historical precedents. If you will go to the library and look it up (or Google it!) you will find that even Adolf Hitler did not get to power in a violent way. Hitler, meine Liebsten, was democratically elected.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Czechs in EU - was it a mistake?

I remember about thirty years ago I read Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Vonnegut, with his well-known fondness for Germans, was explaining with the aid of his child-like drawings how it was with Germans and WWII. There was a doodle of the German flag with a swastika in the middle and a caption that dryly noted: "This was the German flag, when the Germans were sick." A few lines beneath that was a similar drawing, but without the swastika and a caption saying: "This was the German flag, after the Germans got well." A genius in simplicity.

I wish somebody would figure out a similarly simple explanation of what was the reasoning to accept the Czech Republic (or any other East European countries for that matter) into NATO and subsequently into the EU as well. At the time it sounded like a good idea to have them in NATO and the EU and have them act as a buffer between Western Europe and Russia, because for sure they did not qualify militarily, economically or as a sufficiently civilized society.

If it was a suspicion then, time proved the correctness of that suspicion now. The Germans went through "denazification" and to a large extent they cleansed their society of an element of evil - the Nazis. Look it up in any encyclopedia and you will find that communism has killed about ten times as many people as nazism did. All those Hitlers, Eichmanns and Heydrichs were just bumbling amateurs compared to their communist counterparts. In spite of all that, communism and communists were never punished for their crimes against humanity. Exactly the opposite - former communists are back in power in most countries of Eastern Europe and they are being freely elected to plush offices representing their countries at EU headquarters in Brussels. They say they are not communists anymore. Well, would you elect Heinrich Himmler to EU office just because he wore a different kind of uniform?

The same countries are also members of NATO - formerly a defense alliance against the Empire of Evil. When countries of the Empire of Evil joined NATO without bothering to change to true democracy the purpose of NATO became very unclear. New NATO members are represented in Brussels by their "experienced" and "senior" military officers: essentially the same people who swore allegiance to the Soviet Union as members of the Warsaw Pact a few years back. I doubt that NATO has or can have any military secrets that the Russians do not know within 15 minutes.

Countries of Eastern Europe did not fulfill the expectations we had of them 16 years ago. They choose not to pursue Dostoyevsky's advice on Crime and Punishment. They choose unwisely - they choose not to punish the worst ever crimes in human history. I believe that history will treat those responsible for non-punishment as equally guilty as those who committed the crimes. Vaclav Havel, Vaclav Klaus, Alexander Lukashenko and Slobodan Milosevic will get their places in the halls of infamy right next to Hitler and Goring. No lecturing or doctoral titles honoris causa there.

What I was trying to say is that if Vonnegut were to comment on the Czech Republic or other countries of Eastern Europe today, almost 17 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, there would be no need for his doodles. It would suffice to say that their colors never changed.

Czech Republic and the new Europe...

We all know what pathological liars do: they embellish their stories in ways that they believe will impress people or make the liars look better than they actually are. But what about entities larger than a single individual? In a debate I participated in recently, I suggested that we have historical data to prove a pattern of pathological lying at the level of tens of millions of people at once: the case of the Czech Republic, formerly known as the left side (no pun intended) of Czechoslovakia.

Lying as part of the Czech national culture started with the communist takeover right after WWII and established its roots so deeply that it reached a state of confabulation. Confabulation is "the confusion of imagination with memory, and/or the confusion of true memories with false memories." Basically it is when you start believing your own lies. The Czech Republic is in a state of confabulation.

A few examples to ponder: the decrees of President Benes in 1945, which caused irreparable harm to millions were lies - and millions knew they were lies, but the Czechs believed it then and believe it now. They even honored those lies recently by passing the new "Lex Benes" law. Then there were the political trials in Czechoslovakia in the early fifties ­ everyone knew they were lies, but they believed it then and they believe it now. Can you imagine that the Czech Republic adheres to "legal continuity" with laws from the early fifties? Laws of the brutal terror of communism?

They lied (and knew about it) about the non-existent successes of socialism in the sixties, they lied about the Prague Spring in 1968 and their own confabulation made them believe that "reformed" communists like Dubcek, who tyrannized them a few months earlier, were now to make their lives better. Is it possible that 15 million people simultaneously suffer from Korsakoff's syndrome and (to quote Wikipedia) "confabulate by guessing an answer or imagining an event and then mistaking their guess or imagination as an actual memory?" It happened!

Russian tanks ended that psyched-out happening with the Prague Spring, but mass lying, confabulating and brainwashing continued. They lied on (and believed it) about their love for the Soviet Union and their inhumane system; they lied (and believed it) about "normalization" in the seventies and eighties.
Everybody with half a brain knew that the Velvet Revolution was just a KGB/StB prepared "changing of the guards" but nobody thought about stopping the lies. So they continued. Vaclav Havel, the darling of western liberals, made the whole Velvet revolution a lie by ensuring that not a single communist murderer or tyrant was punished. Nobody said a word. Vaclav Klaus, Havel’s successor, is lying about his imaginary successes in the West as an "economic lecturer" and ten millions of Czechs eat it up.

Senior officers of the Czech Army who just a few years ago were hard-line communist officers of the Czechoslovak Army (a Warsaw Pact member) now reside in NATO offices in Brussels - which rendered NATO effectively useless. Very large portions of Czech Republic representatives in EU posts are ex-communists. It is no secret that Czech representatives at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg busy themselves by lying about the number of complaints coming from the Czech Republic and hiding them from non-Czech speaking judges. A cartoon I saw recently, deriding the European Union as a "new socialist super state," was probably depicting things the way ex-commies from Eastern Europe would love to have them.

So, do we have historical data to prove a pattern of pathological lying at a national level or not?