Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has made a statement about his government’s aims in foreign policy. He seems to believe that the Czech Republic is entitled to its own foreign interests and policy. One wonders what Javier Solana, when he finally returns from his hols, will say.
Anyway, in the next 10 months, which is as long as this government may remain in power (past experience is not very encouraging), attention will be focused on the Balkans, Asia and Latin America. In fact, absolutely everywhere but Europe. What an odd idea for a country that really is at the heart of this troublesome continent.
According to Mr Paroubek:
“The contours of the multi-polar arrangements are appearing. The focus is shifting to Asia. China and India are beginning to be global players. This should be reflected in our foreign policy.” Interesting that he thinks of China and India as the players in the much-vaunted multi-polar arrangement. Whether it is true or not, there is certainly an argument there.
He intends to visit all the three regions, though doubts must emerge in any reader’s mind. Has Mr Paroubek seen a map recently? The Balkans are not to be compared in size and variety, though possibly in cussedness, with either Asia or Latin America.
The Czechs have 500 troops in Kosovo. They also have 100 police officers in Iraq, actively training Iraqi recruits. Mr Paroubek has confirmed that there is no intention to withdraw them, as they are aiding the democratization of Iraq. Of course, any Czech politician (or any other East European one, for that matter) would have a clear idea of the importance of democratization.