Staunton, August 6 – During the Cold War, some on the European left routinely chanted “better red than dead” to show their opposition to the United States. Now, their descendants have updated that slogan for analogous reasons to “better Putin than a Muslim,” according to Prague commentator Václav Vlk.
In “Neviditelny Pes” this week, Vlk points to this latest version of a slogan which first appeared among German soldiers in World War II who earlier declared “better dead than red” as evidence of the way in which European thinking has evolved (neviditelnypes.lidovky.cz/evropa-lieber-rot-als-tot-i-d08-/p_zahranici.aspx?c=A150802_205520_p_zahranici_wag
They have done so “in the interests of their national survival,” and consequently, “every time when an internal crisis and war begins in the West or when it simply makes a mistake, these peoples) and not only they but also, let us say,” Vlk adds, “Austria) turn to Russia.” That is what is happening now.
These peoples “understand that this is a Byzantine despotism” regardless of its formal title, “but there is the conviction that it is possible to survive in its shadow. With difficulty and misfortunes but possible nonetheless.” Hence, he suggests, the slogan of today, “better Putin than a Muslim.”
Those who can’t see this, the Czech writer says, don’t have any political vision: they “can’t see further than their own nose.”
Obviously, not everyone in Europe feels this way or shares the xenophobic attitudes toward Muslims that Vlk points to. But the attitude he points to, with what might be called its “survivalist roots” undoubtedly plays a large, even growing role in the politics of many countries on the continent. And it can be opposed only if it is first understood.