Prague Twin

Friday, June 01, 2007

Missle Defense Debate Heats Up

The most recent poll indicates that most Czechs still oppose the planned missile defense system to be built partially in the Czech Republic. 61% of Czechs now report opposition to the plan, and a full 75% believe there should be a referendum held to decide on the subject.

For those of you who are a little behind the curve, the U.S. is negotiating directly with Poland and the Czech Republic to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. The missiles would be located in Poland, whereas the radar system would be located about 30 miles from Prague on a disused military base near the town of Brdy.

Opinions are sharpening on the question as the "Don't Know" responses are dropping with each new poll. One of the main complaints I've heard is that this project is being negotiated bi-laterally between the U.S. and the Czech Republic, and also bi-laterally between the U.S. and Poland. Critics hope to see Poland and the Czech Republic, or ideally the European members of N.A.T.O., negotiate with the U.S. They argue such unity would strengthen Poland's and the Czech Republic's bargaining position.

Meanwhile, Russia has recently conducted a test of a new I.C.B.M. which Vladimir Putin says is a direct response to the missile defense system. Putin had some other choice quotes in the article which are worth reprinting. I suspect the media in the U.S. has not taken much notice of these quotes...

"It wasn't us who initiated a new round of arms race."

"We have signed and ratified the CFE and are fully implementing it. We have pulled out all our heavy weapons from the European part of Russia to (locations) behind the Ural Mountains and cut our military by 300,000 men," Putin said.

"And what about our partners? They are filling eastern Europe with new weapons. A new base in Bulgaria, another one in Romania, a (missile defense) site in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic," [Putin] said. "What we are supposed to do? We can't just sit back and look at that."

"It's dangerous and harmful," he added. "Norms of the international law were replaced with political expediency. We view it as diktat and imperialism."

And Putin is not the only one complaining about the U.S.'s disregard for the preservation of peace. With George Bush scheduled to visit the Czech Republic just three days from now, a citizen has filed a criminal complaint against him for "suspicion of the criminal offense of propagation of and incitement of war." Of course, this has everything to do with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and nothing (officially) to do with the missile defense system, but the point is clear: George Bush is certainly not perceived by many as a friend to peace.

Labels:

19 Comments:

  • PT,

    "Critics hope to see Poland and the Czech Republic, or ideally the European members of N.A.T.O., negotiate with the U.S. They argue such unity would strengthen Poland's and the Czech Republic's bargaining position."

    What, and have the US "play" fairly, why would we do that? As will not be much of a surprise, this one was below my radar. I was never much of a news hound and school has not helped that particular failing. (Besides, why search it out myself when there are so many excellent bloggers who've got the premium goods on their pet topics?)

    Anyway, point being, how is this a surprise? Bush is not a peaceful man. Been there, learned that.

    My question is this: Why do it at all? What's the purpose? Who's brilliant idea was this? Who is it intended to "protect?" Us? You? Someone else?

    I'm looking for a logical explanation and coming up blank. Then again, the entire story was below my radar.

    By Anonymous Stephanie, at 10:50 AM  

  • Psst.

    Concerning that other thing:

    Mark thinks I should get a site I pay for and trying to get a wider audience this time 'round. (How exactly, he couldn't tell me, seeing as he's had significantly fewer hits than myself.)

    My question for you would be this: In your opinion, would it be worth learning a new system of blogging (behind the scenes stuff), for having the benefit of techies that actually fix things when they go wrong?

    BTW, I'm leaning strongly towards starting up a new blog when this term ends (lighter course load over the next two terms, heave course load currently, though still getting my 4.0). I've noticed the difference in my writing since I've stopped and I don't like. Got to, got to, got to get away from the hellishly mixed metaphors!

    ;-) Just thought you might want to know.

    By Anonymous Stephanie, at 10:55 AM  

  • Stephanie,

    This system is ostensibly being set up to protect Europe from the threat of rogue states and their (non-existent) nuclear warheads and long-range missiles. It is wholly conceived by U.S. officially, but I'm sure it has British backing.

    Iran and N. Korea have been mentioned as the subjects of its creation. However, the unspeakable and very real threat is if Musharraf looses power and his arsenal falls in the hands of extremists.

    In terms of getting readership, as far as I can tell it just involves a hell of a lot of work, good concise content, and luck. There is no short cuts, unless you do posts on underwear or something like that.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:18 AM  

  • PT,

    "There is no short cuts, unless you do posts on underwear or something like that."

    No, thank you! I'm not looking for short-cuts. Time. Time would be nice. But, no short cuts.

    It is my experience that short cuts lead to dead ends.

    By Anonymous Stephanie, at 2:17 PM  

  • praguetwin, what do you know about the US tuberculosis patient who traveled to Prague not long ago?

    "Speaker, a 31-year-old lawyer from Atlanta, learned he had TB in January. In May, doctors realized his strain, known as XDR-TB, was extensively drug-resistant. He then boarded a commercial flight to Paris May 12, and returned from Europe 12 days later on a flight from Prague, Czech Republic, to Canada."

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 5:12 PM  

  • It's nice to see that school isn't preventing you from blogging too much. (It's nice to read that school is going well too. You must be one of those over-achievers I always envied!)

    By Blogger Kathy, at 6:58 PM  

  • ...a citizen has filed a criminal complaint against him for "suspicion of the criminal offense of propagation of and incitement of war."

    Now that's a slippery slope, isn't it? Isn't the Czech Republic one of the EU members in danger of losing their voting rights for assisting the US with extraordinary rendition?

    By Blogger Kvatch, at 9:42 PM  

  • First, the US is not seen in a favorable light at this point. The Bush admin.'s wanton disregard for human rights and its aggressive behavior toward other countries has left a bitter taste and created massive mistrust in Europe. I think we visited the subject of the missle defense a month or so ago. It does seem to be more of a power play than a effective deterrent to rogue dictators with missle capabilities. As for Putin, being former head of KGB and stalwart communist, I can only reiterate that Putin will look for any excuse to cloak Russia once again in a veil of secrecy in order to fulfill his own agenda. I notice how adverserial his comments sound, much like the cold war days, even though "the Cold War" is supposed to be over.

    By Anonymous rockync, at 1:18 AM  

  • no_slappz,

    I know a lot more now. I didn't realize he was in Prague. I was through the Prague airport last on the 21st. That was close.

    Kathy,

    I wouldn't say I'm an overachiever. I'm doing stories that come easy!

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:18 AM  

  • Kvatch,

    Yeah, I don't the the Czech AG is going to do anything about it other than announce it was filed. I also don't think the EU is going to punish CZ. We get the presidency in 09!

    Rockync,

    Indeed, the goodwill that Bush had here has largely dried up.

    The thing I can't figure out about the rogue state missile theory is which country has capability to reach Europe? Even India doesn't have the technology yet.

    As a result, the cold war is being re-ignited. Laws of unintended consequences are still in effect.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:21 AM  

  • PT,

    "As a result, the cold war is being re-ignited."

    As crazy as it sounds, could that be Bush's intention? Either in his typical over-aggressive style, or due to intelligence that may (legitimately or not) "justify" such an action?

    Such as terrorist cells working successfully through Russia?

    By Anonymous Stephanie, at 12:50 PM  

  • There's nothing like an arms race to bring back the good old days...

    By Anonymous abi, at 2:52 PM  

  • Do they have logic in the Czech Republic? I ask because building a defensive missile shield doesn't seem like a warlike act to me. What Russia is doing seems more like the warlike act. Anyone filing a criminal complaint against proto-dictator Putin? I say screw you guys. Let Russia or, as you and I predict, Muslim extremists in Pakistan nuclear blackmail you in the next decade or so. That'll teach us.

    By Blogger Roger Fraley, at 3:20 PM  

  • Stephanie,

    Such as terrorist cells working successfully through Russia?

    There is a new angle. That is so crazy, it just might be true!

    Abi,

    Yeah, it brings back fond memories of my childhood.

    Roger,

    I feel your frustration, but seriously, if this missile defense system really has nothing to do with Russia, why don't we put it IN Russia.

    At the very least, we could include them in the negotiations instead of building up defenses facing them without even consulting them.

    As little as I like Putin, he is no fool, and what he says makes sense.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 6:01 PM  

  • Personally, I don't think this whole missle/radar discussion would have been a blip on the news front if relations between the US and Europe was in a better state. I think most of the flap about this is being propelled by anti-American factions who have been able to build up a head of steam because of that very unpopular Iraq war.
    Do Eastern Europe really need the system in the first place? Good question. I am usually in favor of rational preventative actions, but I'm not sure this whole missle thing isn't just US posturing to keep Putin in his place. For that purpose, it is a poor plan. Putin will simply use this as a way of catapulting his heavy handed communist idealology.
    If, as the US admin claims, this is protection against an attack by some rogue state, they will have to produce evidence that someone has that capability and that they want to attack Europe. With the very aggressive behavior of US politicos, it's not surprising that European countries are leery of becoming a pawn in some larger global morass.

    By Anonymous rockync, at 6:05 PM  

  • PT,

    While I'm far from happy with my new template, it's a good beginning. Click the blue.

    By Anonymous Stephanie, at 8:49 AM  

  • Rockync,

    Very sound analysis. I think more than anything, the Czech opposition is in reaction to feeling like a pawn in this whole thing.

    Meanwhile, Putin is still at our doorstep, and despite almost universal hate for Russians here, no one really wants to anger them unnecessarily.

    Go figure.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 12:51 PM  

  • PT, the Czech Republic has a history of vulnerability and has only been out from under Russian oppression for a short period of time. They were pawns when the Nazis invaded and no allies would stand up with them. They were pawns after WWII when the Yalta Conference decided their fate. Given that all this happened in modern times, is it any wonder that they are not jumping on the US bandwagon or willing to risk the wrath of a former KGB chief with Putin's power?

    By Anonymous rockync, at 4:06 AM  

  • Rockync,

    Again, you make very good points. The Czechs also are just finding their national identity, and they don't want to dilute it too quickly.

    Mostly, though, they have the most to lose by angering Putin and his minions.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:02 AM  

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