Instapundit has a remarkable vision: Vaclav Havel in Kofi Annan’s place.
Update:Chris Muir’s has returned and his Dec. 6th is on Havel (and Annan). (The link doesn’t seem to work; but our sympathy and thanks go to Mr. Muir, who has made many a moment happier.)
Update: In another news story, Havel demonstrates that he certainly isn’t “campaigning” for the post and it also reveals his – it seems to me quite transparent and honest – perspective. (Or that to use Gerwitz’s point and Peggy Noonan’s words – he “has two of them”.) His respect for others is clearly not determined by power – in his op-ed, he takes those to task who would blame our hyper-power for their problems and here he declares his respect for the vulnerable. (More on both stories below)
Some people mistake bravery for standing up to a relatively benign management; others look at each situation and determine responsibility and solutions. The former are not brave; they are irresponsible and passive. Havel doesn’t make that mistake because he doesn’t take a perspective that concerns power as much as truth nor complaints as much as solutions.
Further update: The Czechs, aware of the similarity between Castro’s government and the one they knew quite well, are taking a stand on the EU reconsideration of ambassadorial sanctuary; see the WSJ column by ambassador Martin Palous. A former dissident in the Velvet Revolution, he presented the 1999 resolution condemning the Castro regime at the meeting of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. He argues
Precisely because we lived a communist dictatorship and saw firsthand how totalitarian mechanisms worked to crush the spirit and the foundations of moral structures, we feel the obligation to speak up on behalf of the brave Cuban people. We know well their situation of being harassed, blackmailed, ridiculed, persecuted and jailed. From our own experience we also know the crucial importance of international pressure to the dissident struggle.
See Palous in a recent Texas visit.
Further Update: Nov. 29: Reynold’s editorial for WSJ.
Meanwhile, however, bumperstickers have arrived (at a site with many links to other enthusiasts).
Havel’s eloquence both in his op-ed on the United Nations role and in Taiwan are excerpted in the extended entry:
Mad Minerva notes Havel’s acceptance of the Order of the Brilliant Star from Taiwan. “Former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel praised Taiwan’s courage in “walking its own road” Monday in the first public speech delivered since his arrival in Taipei Friday for a six-day visit.” Havel clearly sees in Taiwan a history similar to that of his own country, at least in its vulnerability, its ability to perform well in terms of art and democracy, but also its integrity and beauty.
“Havel said that although the Czech Republic is far away from Taiwan, they have many things in common.
“We are both democratic states. I admire the people of Taiwan and the economic development here,” he said. . . .
“Although Taiwan faces a difficult situation in the international community, its people have been courageous. I believe Taiwan should join the UN. I supported Taiwan’s entrance to the UN in the past. I still support its participation in the UN and will do so in the future,” Havel said.
But, above all, it is necessary that we not lose faith in the meaning of alternative centers of thought and civic action. Let’s not allow ourselves to be manipulated into believing that attempts to change the established order and objective laws do not make sense. Let’s try to build a global civil society that insist that politics is not just a technology of power, but must have a moral dimension.
And he concludes with his usual argument for self-consciousness and responsibility, put in the context of Western society:
We Europeans have one specific task. Industrial civilization, which now spans the whole world, originated in Europe. All of its miracles, as well as its terrifying contradictions, can be explained as consequences of an ethos that is initially European. Therefore, unifying Europe should set an example for the rest of the world regarding how to face the various dangers and horrors that are engulfing us today.
Indeed, such a task, which is closely tied to the success of European integration, would be an authentic fulfillment of the European sense of global responsibility. And it would be a much-better strategy than cheaply blaming America for the contemporary world’s various problems.
Havel’s Presidential Library has issued its first volume according to his admirer (but then, there are a lot of us) Welch. Yes, this is a New Europe not all that ready to mind the French’s remarks to “keep quiet.” And wouldn’t such a man be willing to see the “oil for food” program to its nasty depths?