What will Donald Trump’s presidency mean for Czech-US relations? And is his ex-wife Ivana really in line to become American ambassador to Prague? Ahead of Mr. Trump’s inauguration on Friday I discussed those questions and much more with Daniel Anýž, a well-known commentator on Czech-US affairs who was based in Washington for several years.
A new psychiatric evaluation of US citizen Kevin Dahlgren has been ordered by the Olomouc High Court. The move follows Dahlgren’s appeal against his life sentence delivered in July for the murder of four relatives in Brno. The court then had found the 24-year-old fully responsible for his actions. The main defence argument in the previous trial was that Kevin Dahlgren was not at the time of the crime able to understand the consequences of his actions. During the trial, Dahlgren spoke of voices in his head that blocked out everything else and encouraged him to do evil. It’s not clear whether the new evaluations will be carried out near Brno, where he is in prison, or at Prague’s main psychiatric hospital.
The Czechoslovak communist-era secret police took an active interest in the Czech born first wife of US president-elect Donald Trump back in the late 1970s and 80s, according to newly examined archive materials. The StB kept an eye on Ivana Zelníčková after she immigrated to Canada in 1971, and later during her marriage to the American real estate mogul, who was apparently already revealing his presidential ambitions.
The dust has yet to settle in Europe following the election of Donald Trump as the next US president. Two EU member states boycotted emergency EU talks on how to approach the US president-elect over the weekend. The Czech Republic, which attended the summit, stressed the need to establish communication with the new US administration as soon as possible.
Former Czech-born US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spoke in Prague Friday on the impact of the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the US. Albright, who backed close friend Hillary Clinton, said the world had not ended but warned that things would evolve differently from what most people expected. In a conference at Charles University’s philosophical faculty, she added that many Americans feared that they were not as rich as before, and their jobs had moved to other countries. She said a gender factor was probably at play in the elections with many white males feeling that they had lost everything. She added that Europe should understand that the US was both an Atlantic and a Pacific power.
Czech leaders have congratulated Donald Trump on his victory in the US presidential election, saying they are looking forward to continued cooperation between Prague and Washington. But how does the Czech foreign policy community view Mr. Trump’s suggestion on the campaign trail that the US might not necessarily honour NATO’s key Article 5 and come to the defence of another member if it were attacked? I put that question to Petr Kratochvíl, head of Prague’s Institute of International Relations.
Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections, in which the Republican nominee defeated Hillary Clinton, has stunned political leaders all around the world. In the Czech Republic, as elsewhere, politicians have mostly reacted with uncertainty about what his victory will mean for the international community, but they also highlighted the fact that the democratic process was respected.
Spokesman for Czech president, Jiří Ovčáček, tweeted that the victory of Donald Trump showed that ordinary Americans could defeat the powerful pseudo elite in the country and the pompous media. He added that he hoped the same could happen in 2018, the date when direct elections for a new Czech president should occur. Current head of state Miloš Zeman has not announced yet whether he will be standing though is widely expected to. Zeman was one of the few world leaders who announced his backing for Trump, announcing back in September for if he was American he would vote for him. Zeman later stressed his agreement with Trump on issues such as immigration and the fight against Islamic terrorism. He added that 98% of the media had been against Trump, but it was not the role of the media to shape public opinion but reflect it. The Czech president said that he was sometimes dubbed the ‘Czech Donald Trump’ and in this case he regarded it not as an insult but as a compliment.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka congratulated Donald Trump on his win and said he counted on the US continuing being a reliable partner and ally. He added though that the Trump campaign had been characterised by aggressive populism and an appeal to protest voters. The Czech prime minister said that uniting the US might be difficult after the recent campaign. Sobotka said that Trump, unlike some predecessors, should know where the Czech Republic is, a reference to his Czech-born former wife Ivana. Czech interior minister Milan Chovanec suggested that a visit to the Czech Republic by Donald Trump could be a possibility given the family connection.
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