Czech foreign minister dismisses president's anti-terrorism policy
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has publicly rebuked comments made by President Miloš Zeman regarding how best to fight against Islamic radicalism. Zeman used an event marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz to warn of the threat of a new “Superholocaust”. But the Czech foreign minister was quick to distance the Czech government from the head of state’s remarks.
In a TV panel discussion later that evening, the Foreign Minister expanded his opposition to the president’s prescription, dismissing the idea of assembling global armies to “storm” terrorist trouble spots as nonsense:
“I agree it is a serious issue, but we have a consensus already on what needs to be done: tackling the dangerous fifth column at home, cutting off terrorist funding, utilizing our intelligence services…when I hear arguments like President Zeman’s, then it reminds me of George W. Bush and his neo-conservative conception of a New American Century – whereby we storm in somewhere, carry out a regime change and are greeted as liberators.”
I spoke with analyst Erik Best, who said he was surprised by Minister Zaorálek’s criticism, arguing that the Czech president’s comments were indeed in line with US foreign policy – but he then offered a possible alternative interpretation:
I also asked Best if he thought that a Holocaust forum was the correct place to be discussing anti-terrorism policy.
“It is noteworthy that Mr. Zeman used this arena to present his ideas – most of which, by the way, are not new. When he speaks of a ‘super-Holocaust’ that could claim hundreds of millions of victims, he is changing the debate of the last couple of days from one that was focused on the reaction and aftermath of the Paris attacks. He’s taking a different approach to the debate, and to an extent, by doing that yesterday, he did somewhat dilute the message that the others at the conference were trying to get across.”