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Possible Maximum? 25 years of independent Czech and Slovak foreign policy

At the end of 2017, the three co-operating organizations - the Institute for Public Affairs (Bratislava), the Association for International Affairs (Prague) and the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung  e. V., office in Prague Affairs launched the publication Maximum možného? 25 rokov samostatnej českej a slovenskej zahraničnej politiky [Possible Maximum? 25 Years of Independent Czech and Slovak Foreign Policy]. 

 

The book contains 12 essays dedicated to operation  of both countries in the international environment.  Authors present their original, critical and normative reflection on Czech and Slovak foreign policy. 

 

The six authors from Slovakia focused on the starting positions of Slovak foreign policy after Czechoslovak state was divided, on the links between foreign policy and the main trends and important events in the internal development of the country, on the European dimension of the foreign policy agenda – in a broader socio- cultural as well as a narrower institutional contexts.  In contributions of Slovak authors the attempts can be found in several places to interpret the links between the trajectory of the country's internal development and the conditions for achieving national interests in the external environment (European integration, relations with neighboring states, regional cooperation, security policy). The approach of political elites to foreign policy is seen here by optics of socio-cultural preferences, focus on “national” or “international” values, openness to the outside world or closeness toward external influences, through optics of preference for ethnically or value defined principles. 

 

Six authors from the Czech Republic put detailed attention to the question of historical roots of Czech foreign policy.  Given the traditions of Czech statehood and their rich reflection in professional and public discourse it is quite understandable. West versus East, relations with Germany, Russia, America and Europe - these contexts of the current foreign policy of the Czech Republic are not omitted. The contributions are more marked by the topic of preserving or strengthening the value framework of the foreign policy of the Czech state. The authors point to Vaclav Havel's reference to the priority of human rights, promotion of democracy and liberty, most of them point out the attempts to question or to relativize this links. The civic engagement of authors on this issue does not create disturbing impression, on the contrary, it adds to their contributions the necessary value anchoring. They also emphasize the importance of consensus of political elites in understanding the priorities of the Czech Republic's policy on the international scene, as they regard this consensus as a prerequisite for success in achieving the established foreign policy goals.



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