The Times, April 17, 2017
Compared with the USSR, Kim and Putin are far less of a match for a newly assertive America
In April 1989 I was scraping a living as a freelance journalist in Prague. It seemed a difficult, often frightening time. The tide of reform sweeping other parts of the Soviet empire had yet to soften the grim concrete contours of secret-police power in communist Czechoslovakia. A British diplomat warned me away, saying that I would “die of boredom”.
Life was not boring. I was harassed, threatened with expulsion, arrested and beaten up. As the country’s sole resident Western newspaperman I would have been lonely but for a few brave Czechs who befriended me.
In retrospect it was a golden age. Communism was only months from its demise. The West was riding high. The magnificent US embassy in Prague buzzed with activity, helping dissidents and…
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