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Vaclav Havel and the Habsburg Monarchy

03.12.2008
 
Pages: 12

It is a scandal Mr. Havel supports NATO partnership for Georgia. Only a few weeks before he made this pronouncement, the BBC, never to be suspected of a lack of loyalty to “Western” values, announced the tragic Caucasus War of last August was started by Georgia's president. This irresponsible little sorcerer's apprentice, this juvenile delinquent, should not be rewarded for starting a bloody war and causing the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians and untold midery to thousands of others. By admitting Georgia, NATO would only further compromise its already sorry reputation in the fields of human rigts and democratic values. Moreover, Georgia's security could never be ensured by NATO membership. Georgia's security rather depends on its having good relations with its neighbors, Russia in the first place. Anyone who supports Georgia's entry into NATO is either has bad intentions or is deluded.

What explains Mr. Havel's declarations to the Italian press ?

It seems Mr. Havel lives in a world that no longer exists, a world that exists only in his imagination. Unfortunately, the opinions expressed by Mr. Havel are shared by millions and millions in “the West.” Such opinions are to be found all over the media, repeated daily ad nauseam, and have been part and parcel of public opinion in Western Europe and the United States for decades now. In essence, these ideas are a leftover from the days of the Cold War. Rather, it is just Cold War ideology dressed up a bit.

Like so many in Europe and the US today, Mr. Havel seems to suffer from a bad case of Russophobia, the unreasonable fear and hatred of Russia and everything Russian. This psychological disorder is not uncommon in the Czech Repubic and other countries of Eastern Europe. Russophobia would at least explain many, if not all of Mr. Havel's public utterances.

It has also occurred to me there might be another explanation: could it be that Mr. Havel believes Bohemia (as the Czech Republic used to be known before 1918) is still part of the Habsburg Empire? After all, if ever a state has been subject to self-delusion, it was the Habsburg Empire during the final years of its existence.

Threatened with dissolution during the Revolution of 1848, the multi-ethnic Habsburg Empire was saved in 1849 by Russian troops moving in to reestablish order in. Yet the Habsburgs never showed any gratitude toward Russia and went on to betray their saviour a few years later. They did not lift a finger in 1854 when Russia was attacked simultaneously by France, Britain and Turkey. Action by the Habsburgs could have made a world of difference and avoid the bloody Crimean War that resulted from the landing of French and British troops on Russian territory. In fact, Russophobia and treachery became the hallmark of Habsburg foreign policy. Before 1914, Austria-Hungary and Russia shared the distinction of being the most politically and socially conservative states of Europe, where human rights were practically non-existent and democracy at best an insult. The ruling dynasties, (the Habsburgs and the Romanovs) were convinced they had been chosen by God to save the world from modernism and its evils.

It is well-known fact that traditional ways of thinking can be very resilient and difficult to eradicate. Perhaps only a violent and revolution or a long, repressive political regime. The successor states of the Habsburg Empire not having experienced an upheaval quite as profound as the Russian Revolution of 1917 or the ensuing Soviet system (lasting more than seventy years), one is led to assume that ancient Habsburg ideas have somehow resurfaced and taken new forms.

So that must be it, that explains it !

Mr. Havel is a subject of the Habsburg empire come back to life, a leftover from an ideology long believed to be dead and buried ! I just never realized the Habsburg legacy would still be so strong today. Poor Mr. Havel.

Pages: 12
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