About Scott MacMillan

Scott is on hiatus from afoe. An American freelance journalist who lived in Prague for nine years, where he also owned a restaurant. He is now on the run and was last spotted beneath a table at a pub in Dublin. An occassional contributor to Slate, Scott considers himself center-left in America but increasingly center-right in Europe. Writes Scotty Mac.

Blair uses the F word

My gut tells me there’s a bit of inevitability about reforming the EU’s ridiculous farm subsidies, so it surprises me that Mikulas Dzurinda, Slovakia’s PM, is only the first of the 24 one of the first of the many EU leaders lined up against Britain to break ranks. ?I am for reforms,? Dzurinda declared.

Meanwhile Blair is still talking tough, telling the European Parliament yesterday today that the EU risks “failure on a grand strategic scale.” (See also The Guardian‘s coverage on the speech.)
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Budget Airlines Go East

AP writes from Bratislava about how budget airlines are allowing middle-aged villagers from Central and Eastern Europe to get on an airplane for the first time. Presumably they will also allow British stag parties to enjoy piss-up weekends someplace other than Prague (or Ljubljana or Tallinn) for a change.

“British tourists can now discover Poland and decide for themselves what Gdansk, Bydgoszcz, Szczecin and Rzeszow have to offer…”

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The Adams Family

I’m crossposting something I originally wrote for my own blog because I realized it’s probably of far more interest to Fistful readers than to my own.

In March I wrote in Slate about Gerry Adams and the IRA, and the theory advanced by Ed Moloney (author of the excellent A Secret History of the IRA) that the Northern Bank bank robbery in December was part of Adams’ covert strategy to force the IRA to accept peace. If that theory is true, and I’m convinced by it more and more every day, then we’re now seeing the plan unfold.
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Shaped Like Prague

Just when you thought the Czech Republic had finally turned into a normal, boring European country…

Prague blogger Doug Arellanes has re-capped the Czech PM apartment scandal story thus far, saving me the trouble. (Frankly Arellanes has told the story better than could have.) As he rightly says, the story “is taking on magical-realist tones.” It’s worth reading, just to give you a taste of what passes for High Politics in the Czech Republic these days — and, for that matter, all other days. As Matt Welch notes, “This story is somehow shaped like Prague.” (And he hasn’t lived here since, what, 1995?)

Read the story first, then click on the clickie for more goodies…
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Gerry Adams’s Gambit (or “I’m Just Asking”)

They say the Troubles are unlikely to return to Northern Ireland. They say the Irish Republican Army doesn?t have the option of returning to war. The IRA has the guns, the IRA has the men, the IRA has the capacity ? but they Just Won?t Do It.

In a post-Sept. 11 world, so the thinking goes, no Western paramilitary organization wants to be lumped in with Osama bin Laden. Especially not the IRA, which after years of struggle has gained (one hesitates to say ?earned?) a certain badge of respectability ? a seat at the negotiating table alongside major powers. So don?t count on a ?spectacular.?

At the risk of sounding overly contrarian (not to mention alarmist) I wonder if circumstances might prove the conventional wisdom wrong here.
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Europe: Show Us Your Pajamas!

The Satin Pajamas were a real hoot for me, frankly. Had the 1st Annual European Weblog Awards been submitted to a jury of ?experts,? there?s a general feeling among us Euros in the Fistful that a well-known site like Crooked Timber would have won. And frankly, that would have been boring as hell.

Instead, the vote went the way it should have: It became a popularity contest, and an occasionally crass one at that, amidst a miniature orgy of backbiting and recriminations (?snaggle-toothed, accordion-playing hillbillies? was my personal favorite). This ? sorry to say it folks ? is one of the reasons I love Europe.
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Raise Your Hand If You’re Sick Of Hearing “Old Europe” and “New Europe”

Glenn Reynolds made the following observation: “Well, New Europe has done pretty well on this front, with active and vigorous support [of the Ukrainian protestors] from Poland, Lithuania, and the Czechs. Old Europe, not so much.”

This is glib. Poland is indeed taking the lead in negotiating a solution — no surprise, since they’re right next door — but is there any basis for saying the protestors don’t enjoy much support from “Old Europe”?
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Havel: Everyone’s Common Ground

It?s interesting that American conservative bloggers like Glenn Reynolds and Jonah Goldberg are touting the idea of making Vaclav Havel the UN Secretary General. I like the idea ? but for what I suspect are completely different reasons than the Instapundit crowd.
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