I can already see how much invective will descend upon us for this campaign. But we’ll take it, because we take America along with its faults; we cheer the Americans and are aware that we owe them for the very existence of our republic. That’s why we want to welcome them.
Roman Joch once wrote an immortal sentence, that the U.S. Army should receive the Nobel Peace Prize every year. I regret that I didn’t come up with that bon mot myself, but even so I totally identify with it. The U.S. Army and our membership in NATO are the [two] things, you see, that really guarantee that we are and always will be Europeans — that we won’t become Russian muzhiks*.
America played a key role in the birth of Czechoslovakia in 1918; without it we wouldn’t have an independent state. America played a key role — alongside the Soviet Union and Britain — in the defeat of Hitler in 1945; without America and its allies we would no longer exist as a nation today. And finally, America arms-raced the Soviet Union in the 1980s to the extent that its empire crumbled and we gained our independence. Thanks be to America yet a third time.
When the president of China was here recently, it wasn’t the government that gave his visit the biggest hello, but citizens – above all the Czech-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, which hung Chinese flags all over Prague and paid for it like a normal advertisement. When the [Russian biker club] Night Wolves were here not long ago, they weren’t greeted by the government, but by citizens. Maybe 200 to 300 pro-Putin Czechs, and Russians who’ve settled here, showered them with lilacs in Olšany Cemetery as if they were liberators. Does that mean that we, who’d rather see American soldiers than Night Wolves and Chinese businessmen, can’t do a damn thing?
And so, girls and boys, we who publish Reflex together have decided to go greet the Americans, the U.S. Army. Let’s just say the gesture has an international political dimension — we’re grateful they’re here — as well as a domestic one. We want to show that neither Putin nor Chinese communists have mass support here, but America: the land of freedom and democracy, with which we are connected by ties of culture and alliance, a land which is the pillar of the Euro-Atlantic zone, to which we want to belong. A land that we accept along with its faults. We’re Europeans, not Russian peasants, thanks in large part to the Americans. So let’s go greet them at least in somewhat higher numbers than the Russian cockroaches did the Night Wolves. (You can find the details of the Reflex demonstration, which I personally registered on Friday as a citizen, along with Dan Hrubý, on Facebook Events.)
After all, the more American tanks there are peacefully rolling by in the Czech Republic, the lower the likelihood that Russian tanks will rumble around shooting at us.