Friday, March 27, 2009

COP:A Euro Dissenter Speaks Out

INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, March 26, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Leadership: The new EU president may have ruffled Old World feathers calling President Obama's massive spending "the road to hell," but Mirek Topolanek and his fellow Czechs know that road all too well.

One European leader has the guts to say what the nonsocialists among his fellow leaders — like German Chancellor Angela Merkel — know as well as he does. The Czech Republic's Prime Minister Topolanek warned during a European parliamentary session that the United States is "repeating mistakes from the 1930s, such as wide-ranging stimuluses, protectionist tendencies and appeals, the Buy American campaign, and so on." Topolanek added that "all these steps, their combination and their permanency, are the road to hell." The current U.S. economic policies will "undermine the stability of the global financial market," he added.

European politicians of the Social Democrat persuasion were beside themselves. Topolanek is accused of being "impolite" and "undiplomatic" to the U.S. president just before his first European visit (behavior that never seemed to concern Euro-socialists in the past). And besides, they say, Topolanek just lost his majority in his own country's parliament; his views have no real weight.

But a grain of truth has weight no matter what its source.

The sad thing is this: It was Margaret Thatcher who told Jimmy Carter to his face, alongside other NATO allies, that he was dithering in confronting the Soviet Union. And it was Charles de Gaulle who in 1961 warned John F. Kennedy that in Vietnam "I predict you will sink step by step into a bottomless military and political quagmire."

Why is it that a Merkel or a Nicolas Sarkozy hasn't the gumption to tell the president of the United States that he is following in the footsteps of Herbert Hoover? The great nations of Britain, France and Germany today are too meek to speak out in favor of economic freedom; it takes the plucky leader of a former Communist state.

The Czechs know what is at stake in the world of the 21st century better than the mollycoddled citizens of the European allied powers. Indeed, in early 1948 American timidity was a factor in Stalin forcing Czechoslovakia fully into the Soviet orbit via a coup against its hitherto mixed government, resulting in over 40 years of Czech tyranny; Topolanek knows how far Washington's missteps can reach.

In 1968, thousands of invading Communist tanks rode roughshod over the political and economic reforms attempted during the Prague Spring. Mirek Topolanek is justified today in wondering if a new American president is set on crushing his people's new post-Cold War Prague Spring with policies that could wreck private economies the world over.

Topolanek is an admirer of the United States of America, politically and economically. He's been an unwavering champion of a central European missile defense to protect against Russia and Islamist aggression. Under his governance, Czechs last year enacted a flat 15% income tax rate.

That same year, Topolanek visited Washington and addressed the Heritage Foundation, saying: "Ever since its foundation, the American Republic has seen itself as 'the stronghold of the holy light of freedom,' as referred to by Thomas Jefferson, which would ignite the flame of prosperity throughout the world.

"This American perception I respect," the Czech leader said. "And it is undoubtedly the loyalty to this heritage which gives the United States the moral right to champion American leadership."

This current European president now sees that moral basis to U.S. leadership collapsing. It is to his credit that he is willing to say so. And considering who and what he represents, Americans should listen.

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