For Václav Haval – dissident imprisoned several times by the communist regime, and first president of democratic Czechoslovakia after the fall of the Berlin Wall – the hope is not to spend oneself in something that will be successful, but in something that makes sense, beyond the result. After spending himself in the fight against the dictatorship, a fight so uneven that he should have advised him to surrender, yet ultimately winning, he spent himself for the entry of his country into NATO. It wasn’t easy. It was more difficult to enter NATO than to exit the Warsaw Pact, of which Havel was the most ardent supporter, because “the enlargement of NATO to Eastern Europe lasted substantially ten years”: Western countries were excessively cautious, “they had fear, they were convinced that they did not know us well enough ».
Havel insisted, with the strength of his prestige, because “I felt that the enlargement of NATO to the countries of the East would guarantee the irreversibility of the new political situation and peace in Europe”. Had it not happened, Havel added, the danger would have been the emergence of “an authoritarian government which, having dismissed the red flag, would have flown the national flag. The resurgence of nationalism would have brought the threat of new conflicts. Nationalists resemble each other like drops of water, but this does not favor brotherhood at all but just the opposite: nationalist ideologies are essentially conflicting ideologies ». And so, just beyond the borders of NATO, an authoritarian government today no longer waves the red flag but the national flag, and wages war.