AGW sceptic to be EU president
In the 1980s, a Communist secret police agent infiltrated clandestine economics seminars hosted by Vaclav Klaus, a fiery future leader of the Czech Republic, who had come under suspicion for extolling free market virtues. Rather than reporting on Marxist heresy, the agent was most struck by Mr. Klaus’s now famous arrogance.
“His behavior and attitudes reveal that he feels like a rejected genius,” the agent noted in his report, which has since been made public. “He shows that whoever does not agree with his views is stupid and incompetent.”
Decades later, Mr. Klaus, the 67-year-old president of the Czech Republic — an iconoclast with a perfectly clipped mustache — continues to provoke strong reactions. He has blamed what he calls the misguided fight against global warming for contributing to the international financial crisis, branded Al Gore an “apostle of arrogance” for his role in that fight, and accused the European Union of acting like a Communist state.
At least the last couple of lines are right. And it doesn't stop there. The NYT digs up anybody they can find to slag off Mr Klaus:
But Mr. Klaus’s sheer will and inflammatory talk — the eminent British historian Timothy Garton Ash once called him “one of the rudest men I have ever met” — are likely to have some impact.
“Klaus is a provocateur who will twist his arguments to get attention,” said Jiri Pehe, a former adviser to Vaclav Havel, Mr. Klaus’s rival and predecessor as president.
To supporters, Mr. Klaus is a brave, lone crusader, a defender of liberty, the only European leader in the mold of the formidable Margaret Thatcher. (Aides say Mr. Klaus has a photo of the former British prime minister in his office near his desk.)
To his many critics, he is a cynical populist, a hardheaded pragmatist long known as a foil to Mr. Havel, the philosopher-dreamer, and a troublemaker.
Successful character assassination complete, I think. And finally, this gem:
Mr. Klaus declined to be interviewed for this article. His office called a list of proposed questions “peculiar.”
Now there's a surprise.
Read it here.