I did expect Netanyahu's Likud to win – and I wanted it to win in the Israeli parliamentary elections.
Off-topic: solar eclipse will arrive to Europe on Friday morning. An animated map shows the eclipse will be total at an Atlantic Ocean path avoiding the Eastern beaches of Greenland; partial in much of Europe.
The country isn't necessarily living at an unprecedented time – every moment is "special" in some way. However, the present may be dangerous enough, with the Iranian nuclear bomb on the horizon and indications that the government of the most important ally is effectively ready to abandon Israel as a growing portion of the left-wing politicians start to view the alliance with Israel as a partisan issue.
Those are obvious reasons to re-elect the existing prime minister whose positions were rather clear and who was doing his job very well, as far as I can say.
Czechs can't view this variation of the Moldau as an alien song – especially because the lyrics is based on the same simple land-centered theme as the Czech anthem.
The way how the Israeli polls were covered by the Western mainstream media up to this very morning was another example of these journalists' dishonesty. We were bombarded by speculations about the end of the Netanyahu era who was poised to lose. And even hours ago, the results were said to be "neck-to-neck", a tie, and so on. Sorry but there has never been a good basis for similar claims; the victory was as sound as most of the victories that are considered sound elsewhere.
Netanyahu is actually likely to move the coalition to the right. He isn't a fan of the two-state solution of the Palestinian problem and certain people view it as the end of the world. But it's not. There are alternatives, including expulsion of the Israel-incompatible Arab population under some conditions or others.
Many early Zionists did consider the two-state solution acceptable. But the times are changing. We must understand that they were planning – or dreaming about – these things after some 2500 years in which the Jews were denied the right to possess any territory at all. So they were modest. They didn't really know for sure whether Israel would be a success. They didn't know whether it could secure friendship with the Arabs in the area.
The answer of the last 60+ years is that Israel is a great success; it is viable; but it does need teeth because too many of the Arabs – and other Muslims in the region (and even non-Muslims at many places of the world, the so-called anti-Semites) – remain hostile to the very existence of the Jewish state. All these new data are reasons to become bolder, at least when it comes to the modest pieces of the historical Jewish land that Israel has supervised for many decades by now.
Israel is a civilized and reasonably wealthy country that is ready to make a generous "deal" as long as it makes sense – as long as it guarantees a sufficiently large and sufficiently safe territory for Jews to live in the way that is natural from their point of view. It could pay compensations for the emigration to the Palestinian Arabs and do other things. But to give up a piece of land that will be immediately used as a weapon to fight against the rest of Israel is obviously not a wise "solution".
I often hear that the Czech Republic is a small country. Interestingly, I almost never hear it about Israel even though it is 4+ times smaller than Czechia. Why? Because way too many people think that the only right size of Israel is zero. Sorry, I beg to differ. It's crazy for a nation to be as important as the Jews to possess a territory that is so much smaller than the territory controlled by other, comparable (and perhaps less important) nations such as Czechs, Hungarians, or Croats.
Greece: reparations and the finger
The Greeks are excited about hostile ideas that they should get some new obscene amounts of money from Germany as reparations from the Second World War. The happiness with which they combine this newly born meme with their liquidity and solvency problems shows that they have no taste and the very plan to reopen some disagreements that led to the worst war in the history so far betrays their complete irresponsibility.
These disagreements are something that sensible people want to keep in the bottle. We are certainly keeping it in the bottle in Central Europe. For all of us in this civilized region of Europe, the topic of the reparations and compensations after the war has been geschlossen and this fact is very important for our healthy relationships.
As you might expect, the proposal to urge Germany to pay reparations to Greece is opposed by the German government but you find German politicians – in the green party and the sufficiently similar corners of SPD, too – who are ready to endorse arbitrarily insane ideas as long as they sound left-wing enough.
Sometimes the Greeks only want to be paid something comparable to 10 billion euros – which would obviously make no difference in their medium-term and long-term financial problems. (Greece talks about its ability to confiscate a German archaeological building, or ludicrously unimportant yet amazingly hostile things like that.) Some of them would love to make a difference and they talk about amounts that are higher by an order of magnitude.
The main problem is that many other countries (most of Europe, in fact, plus places outside Europe) have suffered under the Nazis, too. Germany wouldn't have a similar problem with the other PIGS countries because most of them were Germans' fascist comrades. ;-) But Germany could have huge problems e.g. with Russia if the reparation lawsuits were reopened. It seems totally obvious to me that the legitimacy of the Greek claims and the Russian claims is pretty much the same.
And the Russian communist deputies who demand the reparations to be reopened want something like $4 trillion; the cost of reunification of Germany was just $2 trillion over 20 years. If Germany started to pay lots of money to Greece, it would make it a matter of basic justice that Germany has to pay about 10 times higher amount to Russia, too. And to others. I assure you that even if this virus of reparation claims got out of control and spread in dozens of countries, Czechia wouldn't be among them. We 1) feel that despite all the bad things that Germany did to us, the final post-war setup wasn't so bad, after all, 2) remember that Czechs were no angels during the war, either, 3) we may be worried that our demands or cheekiness could turn against us, 4) we simply have a sufficient (and sometimes excessive) respect to our German neighbors. The world would be a better place if other nations saw the things from a similar perspective as my nation, I believe.
But it is not hard to see how many divisive, emotional arguments would be raised if this talk were reopened. Let me stick to the Czech-German example because I am not really afraid of it – we like the thick line these days. But 300,000 Czechoslovak citizens were killed during the war due to the German Nazism. It sounds like a very, very big number and could be used as an argument against Germany. A problem with that – one that may be immediately raised – is that 90% of these casualties were Jews and they're not "the same demos" as the dominant population in the current Czechia or Slovakia. So why should the "pure" Czechs and Slovaks of the present be rewarded for those Jewish deaths? And you know, this complaint is morally true, too. Arguments would inevitably polarize the opinions (not in this situation of ours but in others).
It's right to kill all this talk before it's too late.
Another source of Greek-German tensions is a vastly overrated event. In a May 2013 seminar, the Greek finance minister Varoufuckis gave the finger to Germany as he was saying that it would be better to "stick the finger to Germany", default within the Eurozone, and demand that Germany solves all the problems.
First of all, some Greek diplomats were trying to say that the video was fake or doctored. This is complete rubbish. You may easily see that this is how he normally talks. It's what the temperament of the Southern nations normally does. There isn't the tiniest sign of doctoring in the video and there is no reason for that. The recording is pretty cheap and to doctor it in a convincing way would cost much more money than what was paid to record it. (A German presenter now claims that the gesture in the video was doctored by his folks in February 2015. Plausible but it's also plausible – and in the opinion of mine and many others, more likely – that this doctoring claim and the polite video accompanying it is fake. I don't really care. Update Thursday: ZDF indeed admitted that the admission of doctoring was fake, and the polite version of the video was fake, and the original video does contain the finger and is real LOL. Another reason to be nearly certain that the finger was there is that the video with the finger was posted on SkriptaTV, the YouTube channel of the conference organizers. Why would they use a video doctored by German TV folks?)
(Czech ex-prime minister Topolánek as well as finance minister Kalousek and top singer Karel Gott and lots of others have used the obscene gesture at some point. Topolánek explained it when he said that he was just signalling "you are the #1, Mr Kalousek" LOL.)
But I think that the content of the seminar is much more toxic than the gesture involving the finger – which an average Greek does more than once a day, I believe. It's still the same idea that it's the "others" who are responsible for all the problems and who are obliged to solve everything and pay for that. Sorry, the world can't work like that, Marxist scumbags, and because Greece tried to impose these "rules" internally, Greece became a failed state. You have devoured your future and no one else may be blamed for the bulk of it. It wasn't everything bad. You will live in misery for many years – but you have lived through the golden times, too. You can't have both. To move some of the luxury from the future to the present is what the loans mean!
And every individual, company, or nation has to be responsible for its acts and enjoy the consequences. It's simply not possible for someone "at the top" to be always there to adopt all the sins and debts of others and solve everything. Communism or the superstitious heaven may work like that but the real world of humans can't.
Letter to Iran
Almost 50 senators have sent a letter to Iran that says what should have been said. The power in the U.S. is divided and the executive power may only make decisions that may be reverted as soon as another president is elected (which may be a Republican, but even a Democrat may decide to stop the arrangements that the Obama administration made).
If some decisions fail to be approved by the U.S. Congress, by the legislative part of the government, they simply shouldn't be expected to last when the president is out of office. That's how democracy works! The people are able to control their lives by electing their representatives – lawmakers – who may define and redefine the limits in which the executive power may operate. Obama without the U.S. Congress simply cannot bind America by some eternal regulations in the long run.
Some (usually far left) pundits have called the senators "traitors" and invented lots of insane criticism of the letter. For example, this Huffington Post rant said that "Democrats and some academics say the letter undermines Obama's — and future presidents' — ability to set foreign policy." Sorry but it's good that "just the president" – whether he is a Democrat or a Republican – can't change and set foreign policy forever. We usually say that it's because he is not a dictator and because the U.S. is a democracy. It's a good thing that he can't do that, not a bad thing! The president may either "inspire" the lawmakers and make decisions that will affect future generations; or he (or Hillary) must live with the fact that his decisions only apply to his term or two terms.
Victory Day parade in Moscow
Aside from Putin, the leaders who will attend should include the presidents of Czechia and Slovakia along with: China, North Korea, Cuba... Are we in a good company? OK, it sounds too cruel, there may also be Cyprus etc. but the absence of most of the Western countries will probably be obvious. I think it is very unfortunate, and I am happy that my president is among the brave ones who is not afraid to do the right thing.
The Soviet Union has played a very important role – and perhaps the most important role – in the defeat of the Nazis. Millions and millions of soldiers have sacrificed their lives. And on May 9th, 1945, which will be 70 years ago, the war ended on the European continent – on that day, Prague was liberated by the Red Army, too.
This victory occurred during Stalin's reign and you know, Stalin wasn't a perfect democrat and humanist, to put it really nicely, and he wasn't perfectly respectful towards other nations, either. In spite of that, the Western leaders acted as his reliable allies. Everyone who hasn't lost his mind must know that Putin is a vastly more committed democrat than Stalin. So even if Putin were not a perfect democrat or things like that, it simply cannot be a reason to stick the finger to the Soviet soldiers who did their hard work, made huge sacrifices, and succeeded. The Russian government is the main and perhaps the only government in today's world that identifies itself with those soldiers.
It is very clear that the actual reason why some people want to stick the finger to Russia is that their reasoning is built in the same way as the reasoning of the Nazis. So nations who don't send their leaders to Moscow in May 2015: be ashamed, you are piles of fascist crap.