Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Czechs Get It.


It is too easy to look at Europe and despair at how easy it is for free people to surrender even their most basic liberties in the face of the bizarre prevailing political culture of the hour or even to outright physical intimidation. People of the fashionable left who march in the streets of London or Paris behind banners that glorify Hamas or the "Palestinian Resistance" or which proclaim "We are all Hezbollah Now" have already lost any respect for themselves and the vast cultural achievements of their countries. Little European countries that prosecute politicians for "hate speech" for making some observations about the dangers of Islamic extremism while savagely defending and protecting the worst forms of genocidal racist incitement from Islamic extremists have already primed themselves for another Nazi occupation.

This is why it is gratifying to be reminded that there are still some liberal democracies in Europe that have enough respect for human rights and their own nationhood to actually support liberal democracy abroad and enough courage to stand up to the ugly fanatics who want to see it torn down at home and to recognise them for who they are. It should come as no surprise that these tend to be countries of liberal tradition that not only had to endure fascist occupation seventy years ago but also had to throw off Stalinist rule within the living memory of most.

The Czech Republic is the prime example.

Yesterday Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited Prague with seven Cabinet ministers. Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas took the opportunity to tell the Israeli press that the Czechs had “a special feeling” for Israel.

“We’ve got a full understanding of Israel’s situation as a small, democratic country in a very dangerous region with very dangerous neighbors,” Necas told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview before the meeting.

He said the Czech Republic would like to continue to be a strong supporter of Israel within the European Union. “We are concerned about the Iranian missile and nuclear programs,” he said.

Israel’s situation was reminiscent of Czechoslovakia’s in the 1930s, Necas said. In 1939, Nazi Germany invaded the country, citing the need to defend its German-speaking minority.

“We’ve got a special feeling for Israel’s situation – that of a small nation surrounded by enemies. We remember our situation in the 1930s, when the small democratic Czechoslovakia had neighbors that wanted to destroy it or take part of our territory.”

Without question the Czechs will remember something else.

In 1938 Czechoslovakia not only was an advanced liberal democracy but had a strong and professional military and a world class armaments industry. This did not prevent the cowards of London and Paris in charge of the two leading democracies of Europe selling out the country to the Nazis in a midnight meeting with Hitler while the Czech delegates were forced to wait outside the door to hear the fate of their nation.

It would be three generations before the Czech people were free of totalitarianism and got back their democracy.

None of us should forget that the appeasement of racist hatred and tyranny only serves to inflame them. The Czechs know this. We are watching exactly the same thing now. Appeasement of totalitarian imperialism does not avert war. By its nature it will only be satisfied by complete submission. Appeasement ensures war and makes certain that when it comes it will more terrible than anyone can imagine.

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