The Czech Republic: A Beacon unto Europe (but Don't Tell that to the New York Times)
November 29, 2012 is a day that will live in infamy. On that day, the representatives of a contemptible group of nations that occupy prime Manhattan real-estate voted to recognize an invented people's claim to a fictitious land. By a vote of 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions, the United Nations voted to grant recognition to "Palestine" as a non-member observer state. Just what the U.N. needed: another dysfunctional Arab state to pad their votes.
Israel and the United States (along with four Pacific Island states) were joined by Canada, Panama, and the Czech Republic in a hopeless yet symbolic effort to defeat the politically significant but practically meaningless motion. Muslim and radical third-world influence in the U.N. made the results of this provocative Palestinian Authority request a foregone conclusion.
In its initial reporting of the event, the New York Times noted that, "[a]part from Canada, no major country joined the United States and Israel in voting no. The other opponents included Palau, Panama and Micronesia."
It is odd that the New York Times would choose to omit the single dissenting European nation while seeing fit to note specs in the Pacific. Just as intriguing is the New York Times' subjective opinion that the Czech Republic is not a "major country." What, pray tell, would the New York Times consider "a major country"?
The Czech Republic is a member of the European Union and is one of only 34 countries in the world belonging to the prestigious Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD). The Czech Republic is also a member of NATO. Since 1991, its armed forces have partaken in 31 foreign operations in depressed and volatile theatres, including Bosnia, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Chad, and Iraq, to name just a few.
But the Czechs have something more to be proud of. They have a tradition of standing up for democracy and freedom and not shying away from a fight with tyrants. Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, they have convincingly proven to the world that they are tough, proud, and resourceful people.
During the interwar period between the two World Wars, Czechoslovakia was one of the few democracies of eastern and central Europe. In 1938, on the eve of World War II, the Czechs had an outstanding professional army, considered among the best of Eastern Europe. It is likely that with the help of France or Britain, the Czechs could have bloodied their aggressive German neighbor to the west, but fate would have it otherwise, and the proud nation was abandoned by the likes of Neville "Peace in Our Time" Chamberlain and unsavory politicians from France.
Following WWII, the Czechs were abandoned yet again by the West, being hemmed in by Stalin's Iron Curtain, but this did not stymie their efforts to remain free. In 1968 they revolted against the yoke of Soviet oppression and totalitarianism, prompting an invasion by most of the nations under the Warsaw Pact. The "Prague Spring" would later inspire other liberal movements, and it even influenced Mikhail Gorbachev's Glasnost and Perestroika policies.
Despite the New York Times' attempts to downgrade the importance of the Czech Republic, the Czechs have influenced Europe and the world far beyond what their numbers and geographical size would suggest. During WWII, Europe turned its collective back on the Jews, allowing them to perish in German ovens. In 2012, Europe once again turned its back, with the Czech Republic being the sole exception. When it comes to principles, morals, and standing up for what's right, Europe is light-years behind the Czechs.