Le Figaro: “NATO is no longer the former confidence”

Le Figaro: «в НАТО больше нет былого доверия»

Lubomir Zaoralek (Lubomir Zaoralek) — Minister of culture and former Minister of foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic from 2014 to 2017. In this candid interview, he harshly criticized the behavior of NATO and Donald trump talks about the “errors” of the Czech Republic in connection with the alignment with Washington during the invasion of Iraq, condemns the Emmanuel Macron over the doubts about article 5, but shares his desire to think about strategic and military autonomy of Europe. Zaoralek is a Professor of philosophy and participant in the velvet revolution of 1989. Then he made his career in the Czech social democratic party, which arose on the ruins of the Czechoslovak Communist party. He is also a member of Parliament since 1996.“Figaro”: In an interview with the Economist Emmanuel macron said that if Europe does not get what he calls the grammar of power, it will be doomed to be a vassal. Does the Czech Republic today, the urgent need to form a military and strategic capabilities of Europe amid the promotion of the plans of Russia and China, the impact of conflicts in the middle East and Africa, as well as the relative retreat of America?Lubomir Zaoralek: 30 years after the velvet revolution the main threat comes from the deterioration of the international situation, which worsens day by day. Our European weakness is problematic. We will be able to cope with the challenges if we are United. Yesterday’s architecture is stable enough. Looking back, I don’t think it was right to strengthen the unilateral position the US as the hegemonic world power. It was a mistake of the Czech diplomacy. Another error was the Czech President signed the document about the support of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The Czech Republic was not supposed to be equal to them. France and Germany were right. We played a bad role. If we were committed to international diplomacy, should support multilateral rather than unilateral methods. Supporting based on lies to the American policy in Iraq, in a way we paved the way for the current President, who lies all the time. Time we took part in a case that has blurred the distinction between right and wrong, can we wonder that people today are more oriented today between truth and lies?— The Syrian conflict has turned to Europe’s existential question, but clearly wasn’t for US. Isn’t it time for Europe to establish independent military capabilities? Emmanuel macron, without a doubt, chose the dangerous provocative wording when talking about “brain death” of NATO, but not raised it is thus very important point?— I understand the initiative of the President of Macron and agree with his criticism of NATO’s work. However, I am concerned that in his speech, he continued the line of trump, challenging the meaning of article 5! The fact that NATO is based on mutual trust and commitments. A few years ago I talked to American generals, who said to me: “You Czechs are suspicious. Do you have experience Munich… You think that countries like ours will not fulfill its obligations. But you’re wrong. We deliver on our commitments, and if there is a problem, we’ll come.” Anyway, with that conversation in America has changed a lot. Trump said something else entirely. So you understand my anxiety at the sight of how the President Makron answers the question about the effectiveness of article 5: “Who knows what will happen.” If I could suggest something to the President of France, would recommend him to avoid the phrase “I don’t know what will happen.” It is better to say: “we Have obligations, and we will fulfill them.” Because these words of the President of Macron and trump aren’t scary…as for the rest, reflections of a President worthy of attention, and I agree with them. After the Second world war, Europe had lost its role and was divided into two parts. Then she slowly came to. Indicators of this process was the unification of Germany and the return of Central Europe to the European scene. We, the Europeans, believed that we had soft power will be enough in a world where paramount economic power. Then there was the situation with Ukraine. And we’ve hit a wall. The tanks came back. It seemed unthinkable just a few years ago. All visits of the foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Poland to Kiev to facilitate negotiations, nothing has changed. Each time you return they told me: a complete failure, we’re out of the game.Russia has shown that the world is not so much changed, that, ultimately, the crucial are often have tanks. Look what is happening in Syria, and who belong there is a leading role! Powers that possess weapons and shoot it. Russia, Iran and Turkey. We Europeans quietly stand behind the door with our soft power. We allocate for the defense budget more than Russia and China combined, but completely powerless. I know it’s hard, but we need to think about how to move forward on this issue. We, Czechs, have a good experience of Austria-Hungary, in which coexisted the national army. Touched upon this subject a writer in Hasek “the good soldier Schweik”.— Do you share your point of view Babish Prime Minister and your government?— We raised the issue at the Council of Ministers, in particular the fact that the defense and foreign policy does not have sufficient weight in the EU. In addition, we have expressed dissatisfaction with the Turkish crisis. Some NATO countries conclude bilateral agreements, whereas in others there is virtually no voting rights. Important decisions are made in a narrow circle, and the summits of NATO are purely formal. At the NATO summit, each country will only be given 4 minutes to speak, and this means that we have the opportunity to discuss real issues! In the past the foreign Ministers could gather in one room and openly discuss issues within 6-7 hours. Waged fierce controversy that led to the agreements. This is no more. The situation is so complex that States are afraid to start a debate. Separate meetings are held, for example, between the US and Russia. As far as I know, the intervention in Syria has been pre-negotiated with the Russians. Operating within the Alliance rules no longer apply. More no former trust.— Whether Central Europe to invest more in security issues?— When I was Minister of foreign Affairs, published an article by the French Minister of those times Jean-Marc Herault (Jean-Marc Ayrault), in which we suggested the need for European autonomy in the defence plan. We with Prime Minister Sobotka supported the idea of a European army, even though he knew that fast to achieve this goal will not work.— Your current Prime Minister follows the same course?— Not sure he supports the idea of a European army, but he criticized the situation in NATO and the fact that member States are not aware of some meetings. He also criticized the fact that at the summits of the NATO member States allocated a total of 4 minutes. It is important to engage in dialogue to find solutions and not throw away the achievements of the past, when we had no alternative solutions. The point is that the us nuclear deterrence continues to play a key role on the world stage. We failed to create for Europe the alternative in this area. That is, we can’t be themselves until the question is clarified.— Who said anything about replacing the us nuclear deterrence? It’s not about how to get rid of the American system, and to form an independent military capabilities.— Yes, but in this perspective need to clarify a lot. For example, in Russia. On this topic we need less individual approaches of each country, and the more common European approaches.— Disagreements in Russia exist not only between countries but also within each country, including in the Czech Republic?— Yes, I was talking about this issue with the President. I said to him: “How can you play along after the Russian tanks in 1968?” He replied that he’s not strategic, and tactical differences on Russia. The problem is not the weakness of the response and the opportunity to engage in dialogue. This is extremely important for Europe. Because there are only two options: either we fall or stand on the table and reach agreements. For example, for us the issue of security of the Balkans is of great importance, and we are concerned about the termination of negotiations on accession of Albania and Macedonia (because of the veto of France, approx.ed.) despite the obvious progress.— In military terms, France feels lonely in Europe, especially after Breccia. Central Europe will contribute to the solution of this issue?— I like the Nietzsche phrase that the future of Europe — maze. We can’t turn this maze into something unified and form a United States of Europe. However, the corridors of this maze should allow us to make something working. Central Europe is part of this maze. Speaking of which, I see danger in the separation of East and West. It’s too simplistic shortcuts. I would like to one day see what has been called the Central Europe area is much more diverse than say. This field of innovation for all of Europe. As the Minister of culture, I hope to show this dynamism, in particular the Prague film school. Milan Kundera (Milan Kundera) spoke about this forgotten Central Europe, its distrust of the great powers, mocking the traditional views, the sense of the grotesque, which is part of the Central European mentality.— Now the anniversary of the velvet revolution. How do you assess this period with an eye to the past?— I remember how one American journalist said: “Your revolution is not staging?” The essence of her question, I realized just now. Looking back to the past I’m starting to better understand the meaning of the book of Milan Kundera “Life is not here.” Put simply, the book explains that in the Czech Republic the problem with lyrical state of our soul. I realize that at that time, we was engulfed in romanticism and pathos. I am one of those who can say: “It was the best days of my life.” But then we did not understand what awaits us. We were captured by the atmosphere and were not aware of the theatricality of the event. I guess you could say that this revolution was not completely ours, not their own conquest of the Czechs and Slovaks. As correctly noted by Ambassador GRULAC, it was rain after a long drought.— Why do you say that it wasn’t your revolution? Because it all happened very fast and started somewhere else? Because the poles went to the revolution 20-30 years?— I remember a conversation with Strelkovoi Yvonne (Yvonne Streckova). She told me: “I envy your generation because you will see a big change”. Russia will have its own Dubcek, and then begin to change the situation in the satellite countries. She said that the year 1968 in Czechoslovakia came too early, but that the changes in Moscow are inevitable. She was also wondering whether you truly go from socialism to capitalism, and, if so, how it would affect the population.She was right in the first moment, because that’s exactly what happened. Gorbachev sought to create socialism with a human face and said satellite countries to act at their own discretion. I have to thank for this Gorbachev as “Solidarity” in Poland. The revolution was really the product of our expectations, but that’s why the metaphor works with the rain. We waited, but could not imagine how everything will happen. We didn’t know what we are building. In addition, in 1989, was scared to say the word “capitalism”. He was associated with something terrible, but we couldn’t talk about socialism with a human face, because this ideology is completely discredited. Everything was uncertain.Decided to Vaclav Klaus (Vaclav Klaus), who created the Civic democratic party and decided that we are going to build capitalism. He added that it would be capitalism without adjectives, not social capitalism. Later, he even was talking about pure capitalism, more capitalist than capitalist countries. Not surprisingly, in such circumstances, a hero of our times was an entrepreneur. Perhaps that is why our government is now headed by the second richest man in the country.— However, there are two parallel movements: realism Claus and the moral stance of former President Vaclav Havel. Pure capitalism was built in the Czech Republic under the moral umbrella Havel?— For some time they complement each other. Havel was very popular abroad, in the kind of export product, and we use it. Anyway, they worked not the best way. Klaus didn’t get along with Havel. The problem of philosophy Havel who drew inspiration from Potocki and Heidegger, was that it emphasized the individuality of each person in a kind of denial of life in favor of lyricism. Havel was of little interest to everyday politics. He considered politics a dirty business, and claimed that politicians sink deeper into politicized disputes.— You say that the moralizing Havel formed a certain play. You mean that society did not support his point of view, and that it replaced the common struggle?— First, the lyricism Havel took. Kundera perfectly described this Czech lyricism. But it was probably the philosophy of the positivism of Auguste Comte (Auguste Comte). It is firmly entrenched in the mentality, and it remains so. I taught philosophy, and my students still love Comte. That is, on the one hand we have the pragmatism, the adoption of techniques and technologies. However, as in France, where one side is Diderot and Voltaire, and on the other peg and Pascal, the Czechs are pragmatic and lyrical side. We had to taste a time when with one podium, spoke the dissident Karel Kryl (Karel Kryl) and supported the regime, Karel Gott (Gott Karеl). We remember the speech of Vaclav Havel from a balcony on Wenceslas square in too short pants. We were attracted to him for some time. But then we’re back to practical daily life, which symbolized Klaus with “the Prosperity and efficiency.”