In general, the nation’s obvious interest in any country (any collective entity, community, tribe, cluster, genus) is an effort to maintain, persist, reproduce itself in the territory that this group of people is living.
In Europe (unlike other continents) we have national states, and therefore national interest usually coincides with the interest in maintaining, persisting, reproducing in which nation state. This must be regarded as the most general expression of the Czech national interest.
We have – as opposed to Hungary – the advantage of being a territorially sophisticated country. This is a great advantage.
Our peculiarity is that for thousands of years we have solved the problem of the survival of a small country that is a neighbor of the continental hegemony of Germany . What is more is that we are currently addressing this problem in the age of our membership of the European Union, in a specific construct that increasingly suppresses European nation states and strives to become an alternative. That is why the question of Czech national interests in the situation of today’s EU organization is considered de facto to be a bad question, politically incorrect, a question inappropriate.
The fundamental dilemma that has persisted since St. Wenceslas is how a small country behaves against a great neighbor, what institutional (or contractual) arrangement it should pursue. We have solved this – with various successes – for a thousand years. There are at least the following variants:
– The Czech Republic, as a separate, sovereign state, which has no ambition to conclude and isolate, and therefore wants to seek friendly and cooperate willing partners on a contractual basis;
– the Czech Republic as a satellite or an extreme version of Germany, seeking a chance of survival in this type of relationship;
– the Czech Republic, as a member state of a full-on-equilibrium, full-continental institution (or organization), on an equal footing of all member states (ie without any hegemony);
– the Czech Republic as a member of today’s real, not a hypothetical European Union, which is characterized by the ever-increasing hegemonic status of our neighbor, Germany;
– Czech Republic as a member of another, non-European, definitely looser organization, composed of fewer countries (type V4, Mitteleuropa, formerly Austria-Hungary, etc.).
Czech politics must decide democratically about which of these variants to pursue. Some are easy and achievable, others are completely unrealistic, if not utopian.
1. The idea of the European Union, based on an equitable status of the member states , is quite unrealistic , which would allow the so-called balancing of Germany and the abolition of its naturally created hegemonic position. This might be an acceptable solution, but it is not a reality, and it all suggests that it can not be. Today’s European Union is an equilibrium group. The idea, the dream or the illusion that membership in the European Union will eliminate our problem, the problem of a small country next to a large country, and the argument that we are joining the European Union just to achieve this has proved to be completely wrong. Still, many people in our country do not want to give up ideas of such idyllic Europe (or the EU).
2. The relevant question today is whether or not to be in the hard core of the EU , which is nothing more than a variant of becoming a satellite or even part of Germany. It must be clearly stated that the question of our participation in the so-called hard core of the EU is a matter of the Czech Republic’s being and non-existence , respectively. meaningfulness or nonsensiveness of the introduction of the theme of Czech national interests. They will not be implemented by one or the other voting within the EU.
3. Many people will say that the first option, an effort to stand alone, is totally unrealistic and will also lead to slipping into one of the other variants. Still, it might be worthwhile to strive for it. Its sub-option is the search for a grouping of countries with which to create a smaller than the all-continental integration group . It is a pity that more than forty years ago, EFTA (European Free Trade Association), which – it seems – has no chance for re-creation. However, a smaller grouping is certainly a variant.
4. Necessary, although for me, a “forced” or compulsory branch to Russia . Some listeners or readers will feel that a critical view of all five previous variants calls for a variant with Russia, which is a complete mistake. Nothing like that has ever occurred to me. We should finally begin to act on the consciousness that a close link to Russia in the second half of the twentieth century was a unique, unrepeatable episode of our history. Russia is not our neighbor, nothing needs to be promised, but there is no need to fear it (and do not even abuse this concern for internal political manipulation).
In any case, it is clear that all these options should be publicly debated and that they should become the topic of the October elections to the Chamber of Deputies. That’s the only way we can get a step further. Let everyone say aloud which option will be enforced after the elections.