Pozadí astronaut Brázda
Pozadí astronaut Brázda

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Respekt in English

Neighbours are more important

Almost everything has changed since 1989, including the fact that the United States, our former enemy, is now our ally.

  • Autor: Respekt
• Autor: Respekt
Fotografie: Igor Lukeš. - Autor: Archiv • Autor: Respekt
Fotografie: Igor Lukeš. - Autor: Archiv • Autor: Respekt

Igor Lukešis a professor at Boston University, where he lectures on history and international relations. He has published several books, among tem Inside the Apparat and Gorbachev's USSR: A System in Crisis, as well as, in Czech, Československo mezi Stalinem a Hitlerem: Benešova cesta k Mnichovu (Czechoslovakia between Stalin and Hitler: Beneš's Way to Munich).

Almost everything has changed since 1989, including the fact that the United States, our former enemy, is now our ally. Therefore, it sounds unbelievable that we are still preoccupied with the situation around the US visa-waiver programme.

The basic facts are clear: Americans do not need a visa to visit the Czech Republic, while Czechs travelling to America do. Visas are expensive and the entire process is mortifying. Diplomats have a special word for such a situation: „asymmetry“. But the Czech general public will surely think of a heartier word.

Prague has been trying to make things better for many years, but it saw a positive move only in August 2007, when the American Congress finally offered a list of conditions for those wanting to join the US Visa Waiver programme. With great joy, it was discovered that the Czech Republic complies, and the press announced that the battle was won. I would like to warn against this illusion and highlight both the danger and the opportunity that the new…

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