- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2000

Troublemaker reborn

Pal Csaky calls himself a child of the 1956 Hungarian revolution, although he was born in the former Czechoslovakia.

Today as a deputy prime minister of the Slovak Republic, he is waging a different sort of revolution one for the hearts and minds of Europe and the United States, which had been skeptical of Slovakia's commitment to democracy after the country separated from the Czech Republic in 1993.

Mr. Csaky is the highest-ranking ethnic Hungarian in the government of Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda and considers that achievement proof that Slovakia has changed, especially for minorities who felt discrimination under the authoritarian Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar.

"Slovakia has gone from the position of troublemaker to a cooperative partner," he told Embassy Row on a visit to Washington last week.

Under Mr. Meciar, the West considered Slovakia a wayward country run by an oppressive leader who had no interest in integrating his new nation into Western Europe. The United States refused to invite Slovakia to join the first round of NATO expansion because of opposition to Mr. Meciar.

Mr. Csaky said the 1998 elections changed the country with the defeat of Mr. Meciar after four years in power.

"Elections in the fall of 1994 set us on a wrong path toward self-inflicted isolation, full of blunders, myths and anachronisms," Mr. Csaky said in a speech to a Washington conference of the Society for Science and Arts, a Czech and Slovak immigrant organization.

Now doors are opening, with a new potential for membership in NATO and the European Union.

Mr. Csaky, deputy prime minister for human rights, has one of the highest-profile portfolios because European institutions insist that member nations prove they protect civil liberties and minority freedoms.

"The government has adopted a program to fight all forms of intolerance, xenophobia and anti-Semitism and another program to fight corruption," Mr. Csaky said. "We are dedicated to applying this program effectively."

Embarrassed envoy

Philip Lader, the U.S. ambassador to Britain, is an embarrassed diplomat these days, and he is blaming a high-society magazine for his predicament.

Mr. Lader's 15-year-old daughter, Mary-Catherine, wrote a saucy article about her dislike of British boys that set off a media frenzy last week.

The ambassador was not so concerned about his daughter's opinion of British teen-agers, but he was outraged by the headline over Miss Lader's article in the Tatler magazine.

"British boys really suck," the headline said. Mr. Lader, in an angry letter to the magazine, insisted his daughter never used those words in her original article and that an editor added the offensive phrase for sensationalist purposes.

He said the magazine had caused his family "considerable embarrassment."

"One of the two adult editors, reviewing her submission, suggested an additional, sensational, critical comment … and my daughter responded that she would not want to say that in print," Mr. Lader wrote to the magazine.

"The editors promised to send her the final edit of her article before publication. This was never received, and she never signed any release."

The magazine stood by its headline.

Editor Geordie Greig told the Reuters news agency that Miss Lader had indeed approved of the phrase.

"She came into our office, and I personally had made a number of editing marks on her copy," the editor said.

"At one point there was a sentence which seemed to lack clarity. I said what would you say normally and she said: 'Well they really suck.' We wrote it in, she said that was fine."

Miss Lader wrote that British boys are crude, scrawny, ill-mannered and bad dressers. She said they are no match for the "tanned, athletic [American] guys."

"As sexy as I once thought guys with British accents were, their lack of appealing social skills and poor dress sense soon overshadowed the initial attraction," she said.

Miss Lader said that when she leaves Britain, she will miss the English countryside and the Scottish Highlands, but not the boys.

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