How has the US entertainment industry shaped how politicians are presented to American voters? How liberal is Hollywood in reality? And is Donald Trump the ultimate showbiz president? Those are just a few of the issues I discussed with historian Kathryn Cramer Brownell, author of Showbiz Politics: Hollywood in American Political Life. The Purdee University academic was in Prague recently to deliver a talk on just that subject at the city’s branch of New York University.
The Czech-Russian Discussion Forum, a new annual platform created by the two countries’ respective presidents, met for the first time on Thursday, in a Prague session closed to the public. The aim is to promote open discussion on a wide range of topics, including bilateral relations and chapters in their shared history. The Forum has, however, been derided by a number of Czech public figures as a potential propaganda tool for the Kremlin.
Tom Dine is the president of the American Friends of the Czech Republic. The Washington-based foreign policy expert doesn’t have Czech roots. But he does have close ties to Prague, having been president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – which is based in the city – between 1997 and 2005. After a tree-planting ceremony by the Woodrow Wilson statue opposite the Main Train Station, which the American Friends helped restore, Dine shared some recollections of his years in the Czech capital.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has expressed deep concern over the re-election of leftist authoritarian leader Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela’s presidential election at the weekend. The ministry joined widespread international condemnation of election irregularities, intimidation of political opponents and violations of human rights.
The Czech Republic has backed the EU’s decision to continue to respect the 2015 nuclear weapons agreement with Iran, after President Trump’s announcement that the US would withdraw from the pact. However the Czech Foreign Ministry noted that the international community should not close its eyes to the dangers of Iran’s ballistic program.
Experts from Europe and the US met in Prague this week to discuss the hybrid war threat and ways of countering disinformation campaigns against Western countries. In an interview for Czech Radio the head of NATO’s Military Committee, General Petr Pavel, said the Czech Republic underestimates the dangers of the hybrid war waged by Russia.
The air strikes against military targets in Syria carried out by US, UK and France in the wake of a recent chemical attack on civilians in the Syrian city of Douma have divided the Czech political scene. While the government endorsed the attack, the president and some opposition parties denounced it as aggressive and unacceptable.
The newly-appointed Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini held talks with Czech top officials in Prague on Wednesday on what was his first foreign trip since taking office. Twenty-five years after splitting up, the two neighbor states are cooperating closely to defend their national interests and boost their position in the EU.