"Good afternoon to you on this cloudy Sunday, dear listeners. It is 12:30. Time for 'The World in Half an Hour', I am as always Waldemar Fiorarz."
"Great things are happening in Florida-Caribbea. I will speak with Professor Onute Staniszkiene, director of the Institute for International Relations of the WiLASz [Academy of Sciences, ed.], hoping that she can cast some light on most recent developments there."
WF: "Welcome, professor. We have been meeting quite often, really. You are becoming one of our regulars! Shouldn't I start calling you 'Nusia' by now?"
OS: "Call me anything you like, Mr. Fiorarz, or should I say 'Wally'? But please don't tell your listeners!"
WF: "Well. Professor, your name was frequently mentioned as the possible head of our temporary administration in Southeast Florida. How come you are still sitting here talking to me?"
OS: "You know, Mr. Fiorarz, I have no idea why, but the press always puts me in such positions. Three years ago it was written that I would 'almost certainly become the new foreign minister'. Last year they wrote that I would 'almost certainly become the new secretary-general of the Baltic League'. I don't know where they get this information, but let me tell you one thing: it's nonsense! The only job that I've been really offered is ambassador to Kiev. That was three years ago, and I turned it down. I am a scientist, Mr. Fiorarz, not a politician. I am perfectly happy with what I am doing now – teaching, writing, advising, training young diplomats, giving my opinion to whoever asks for it... and sitting here with you, of course."
WF: [laughter] "But if you had been proposed the job, would you have done it?"
OS: "I don't think that's the issue here. Besides, I know little more about Florida than any other person who reads the newspapers carefully. Plus some additional knowledge about international politics in general, of course. But my field of expertise are post-snorist societies, and their transition to more democratic models. What I think ís important, though, is that the process of rebuilding Florida should not be the exclusive domain of the military. With all due respect to Mr. Aldendorf and his crew, I think they should not start behaving like politicians. That's why I am very glad that Mrs. Prowana has gone there too...
WF: The former RTC ambassador to Miami?
OS: Yes. She has a very healthy mind. She knows the country from within, understands it, speaks the language, etc. The army should do what it was meant for: fight battles when necessary and maintain order. From this point of view, I think Aldendorf's show-off in Miami was not the luckiest choice."
WF: "Our allies seem to agree with that. An Irish newspaper wrote yesterday, I quote: 'The recent actions of the RTC go beyond liberation. They are nothing more than colonialism.' May I ask your opinion about this kind of criticism of our conduct in Florida?"
OS: "They surely have a point, although in my opinion they exaggerate it a bit. You see, Mr. Fiorarz, it is also a matter of psychology. Of course we were not the only ones who liberated Florida! Maybe we don't like to be reminded, but it was in fact the Scandinavians who did the job, not us. When we arrived, our bed was already made for us. The question is only: does it matter? To the average Floridian, we and the Scandinavians are basically the same thing. Our uniforms look alike. The only difference is that our flag is a red cross on white and theirs a white cross on red. They probably haven't even noticed the difference! Of course, the Scandinavians were slightly more, let's put it gently, emotional in their behaviour than we are... My point being, that if wé are the true liberators in the eyes of the Floridians, that will only make our mission easier to accomplish. This is all about reality, Mr. Fiorarz, not about rewriting history."
WF: "But they also accuse us of colonising Florida!"
OS: "You surely mean those drafting bureaus? No, I disagree. Look, people have always been emigrating to Florida, as well as to many other countries in the new world. Now they suddenly start calling that 'colonisation'. Furthermore, we need a lot of qualified workers there. That is, if we take our job of rebuilding Florida seriously."
WF: "How long do you think the RTC will stay in Florida? I've heard several politicians say that they want us to stay there for a very long time."
OS: "Honestly, I have no idea. Quite a while, I think. You know, transforming a totalitarian society into a democracy takes years, many years. I don't say we'll need to administrate the country for so long, but at least we'll need to guide the Floridians in the process. Much depends also on what the other members of the Coalition intend to do. Høgh-Guldberg wants to return Florida to Castille-Leon as a colony! I am very much opposed to that idea, and I think we should do anything we can to prevent that from happening. It wouldn't solve the problem on the longer term... it would just make it worse.
WF: "Do you think we – a neutral state after all – should have participated in that war at all?"
OS: "Ah, that's a tricky question. Well, the answer is simple: yes. I believe our neutrality had lost most of its meaning anyway. Not only because it was imposed on us, but also because the world is not divided in two camps anymore. If we would have stayed neutral... well, that would only be because we got used to it. No, we definitely did the right thing. A member of the Baltic League was attacked, so we decided to act. I think this is very important, because it shows where we stand, and that despite our overcomplicated political system we are still capable of acting. It also shows that the League has some potential for becoming more than just a body for economic cooperation. I must admit that from this point of view I'm a bit disappointed with some of the other members of the League. Especially from Estonia I would have expected a more daring attitude."
WF: "But at least Danzig and Latvia joined the Coalition. Doesn't that count, professor?"
OS: "It counts, it counts, of course it counts. Though personally, I have my doubts regarding Latvia's motives. Don't forget that Mr. Alksnis was a personal friend of Jaime Bush. Look what happened: on the very last moment, when the battles are over and this madman Silva has already been captured, Latvia joins the coalition. And at the very same moment, several important members of the opposition disappear. Even ex-premier Talmanis. You think that is a coincidence? Of course not! Our papers were so busy writing about our own heroic acts in Florida that they hardly even mentioned Latvia! No, to me it is quite clear that Alksnis has a hidden agenda behind everything he is doing, including this!"
WF: "Yet, Latvia seems more successful than one would have expected. It declared war on an already defeated Florida, subsequently claimed Tobago and sent out some war cruisers to secure it. And the world is letting it all happen."
OS: "Latvia's claim on Tobago is of course too ridiculous for words! Did you know that it is all based on two short periods in the 17th century? The Batavians claiming back the NAL or the Turks claiming back Hungary would be more legitimate than this! And what surprises me most is that both the Coalition and the Baltic League are just letting it happen. It seems like every Coalition member has got his own hot cake in the oven. This is all about interests! And what is Tobago after all? A small island, quite far away from where it all happens, with only 45,000 inhabitants and no significant natural resources. Simply not worth the effort. Well, perhaps Venezôla is going to act up, but even there I have my doubts. And the worst is, this is not about Tobago at all! Alksnis just needs a success abroad to cover up his interior failures. You see, the Latvians have already come to regret the choice they made half a year ago. Since that moment, successful reforms have been turned back, censorship has been reintroduced, members of the opposition are constantly being harassed, the army is everywhere... No, I feel genuinely sorry for the Latvians, although of course they inflicted it upon themselves. I wonder if our own government is going to say something about all this, at last. Because if we won't act, who will?"
WF: "Thank you for this conversation, professor. It was enlightening as always. Let me just use the occasion for some shameless advertising: professor Staniszkiene's latest book, 'Skuodia 1989–2004, from snorism to snobism', about its transformation from a small snorist country into the 'Jervaine of the Baltic' will make its entrance into the bookshops tomorrow, where it can be purchased for 2 talarze, 20 grosze and 55 dzienarze. Believe me, people, it is certainly worth the expense!"
OS: "Thank you very much, Mr. Fiorarz."
WF: "And now, time for some music. Let's listen to Maja Nazała, piano, playing Frydryk Chopin's Vénédaise in G flat minor opus 322."