Ivan Gabal

    is a Czech politician and sociologist based in Prague. A founder of the Civic Forum in 1989, he has been the executive director of Gabal Analysis Consulting and since 2013 an MP for KDU-ČSL (Christian Democratic People’s Party). He has published collections of essays including Ethnic Minorities in Central Europe: Conflict or Integration; The impact of NATO membership on the Czech Republic: changing Czech views of security, military & defence and, most recently, Hrách na zeď [Against Brick Wall]. The experience of the first Czechoslovak Republic demonstrated very clearly that a strong economy is not sufficient to guarantee safety. The Czechoslovak koruna was still considered a strong currency even though Czechoslovakia ceased to exist after the Munich Agreement. Joining NATO and switching our allegiance to the West paved our country’s way to EU accession. An investment in security and defensive capacity, especially collective defence equals an investment in stability and prosperity. Relinquishing our defensive capacity and weakening our security is bound to result in economic problems. It’s basic maths, in my view. We have stopped thinking in terms of long-term security of our country and ensuring safety for our children and the next generations. We follow the maxim ‘après nous le deluge’. […] We have grown lazy and have lost the sense of moral and factual co-responsibility for the security of the West and our allies, we have forgotten what we have to thank for the security and stability of being part of the Western world. In terms of domestic privatisation as well as external defensive solidarity we have succumbed to rather short-lived self-indulgence, egotism and self-centredness. […] Membership in the wealthiest and safest global community does not come free of charge. This is an elite, expensive and rather exclusive club where nothing should be taken for granted. Just look at what non-Europeans are willing to sacrifice just to get closer to Europe. Europe is a unique place and we have to keep it safe. And we must not take the present-day state of affairs for granted and immutable. It may come back to haunt us.”