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If Romney Wins, He Can Keep His Radar! (Neviditelny Pes, Czech Republic)


"His words can't be given much weight. It is likely just one of the many embarrassing slips of the inept Mitt Romney, who wants to undo the Obama model and win favor across the ocean. But it is not a good advocate whose advisers fail to keep him properly informed.  ... The last thing any of us want is a return to awkwardness on the hill in the Brdy Forest. Therefore, we should insure that a reprise of the exhausting radar theater doesn't take place. ... Yes, someone should really say something to him."


By Blahoslav Hruška



Translated By Casey Patrick Reilly


August 29, 2012


Czech Republic - Neviditelný Pes - Original Article (Czech)

A sign calls people to protest the use of Czech soil for a U.S.-built anti-missile radar system. Czechs had thought that America had given up the idea. But Republican nominee Mitt Romney has suggested that if he wins, it could be revived.


RUSSIA TODAY VIDEO: Czechs rally against U.S. missile shield, Feb. 18, 2009, 00:04:05RealVideo

Romney’s idea of returning to the Brdy Forest radar game revives memories of a ridiculous affair, which we would rather forget ...


Five years ago, all was well in early September.


The sunshine was perfect, the air smelled of Indian summer, so the government decided it would hold an outdoor meeting in Brdy. A lot of people were angry about this. Quoting a perhaps sarcastic Jara Cimrman, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said about the radar: "We can debate it, we can disagree with it, but that's all we can do about it."


[Editor's Note: Jara Cimrman is a fictional character invented during the Cold War just prior to the Prague Spring, to represent the Czech people. He continues to be used as a reference point for Czechs].


At the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra once again carted out a basket of mushrooms from the Brdy Forest. They were easy for him to find - and why wouldn’t they be? Mere mortals aren't allowed into the dark forest accessible only to the military. His lack of mushroom-collecting tact was later atoned for. Even as the defense minister announced that military training in Brdy had been canceled, Vondra pulled out the America card. It was as if, now that the Americans have whistled for radar, let us all collect mushrooms together.


Now-Senator Vondra is very upset about recent statements by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. This man, so anxious to unseat Barack Obama from his White House chair, has said that Democrats have somehow forgotten America's friends in Poland and the Czech Republic, and that the radar project, including its associated anti-missile systems, could be revived. His words can't be given much weight. It is likely just one of the many embarrassing slips of the inept Mitt Romney, who wants to undo the Obama model and win favor across the ocean. But it is not a good advocate whose advisers fail to keep him properly informed. Recall that in late July, he doubted whether London was ready for the Olympics, which angered every Brit.


In Poland, he sought largely in vain to establish contact with people from the former Solidarity Movement, and again in Israel, he said that the Palestinian economy is struggling due to "cultural differences."


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Romney seems to behave like a bull in a china shop, and once his advisers tactfully inform him that rather than missile silos, Poles have acquired mobile units - and that in any case, the radar would work far better in Turkey than in the Brdy woods - we won’t hear about his friends in Eastern Europe again for a long time to come.


But rather than Romney’s political ineptitude, speculation about how, instead of mushroom collecting on Brdy Hill No. 718, there would again be protesters, and in the future U.S. troops, reminded Czechs of one of the most embarrassing episodes of our politics - which all of us would prefer to forget.


Across the Czech political spectrum there has been an incapacity to reason, an unwillingness to listen, unrealistic horse-trading about the billions of dollars that would flow into the country, into Czech science and research, assessments of the health, the (non) hazard of a radar system that no one would actually see, and discomfort over the eternal waiting over what we still have to communicate to the cryptogamous Americans on the project. Ten years ago, the radar was discussed for the first time by the then-Social Democratic defense minister. Secretly, of course. His party chief, Jiří Paroubek, later thundered that all guarantees [about the project] had been canceled, while later, as revealed by diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks, the American Embassy in Prague again promised U.S. support. Later again, on the eve of a visit by George W. Bush, Defense Minister Vlasta Parkanova belted out a devoted ditty: "Good morning, radar, you are welcome." And Green Party leader Martin Bursik went against his own party [to back the project]. One need not describe ordinary relations between Topolanek and Vondra [they are arch political foes, meaning that their agreement on the U.S. radar proposal was unusual].


To be fair - awkwardness and pathetic gestures characterized both right and left activist wings. While the young people bivouacked on Hill 718 looked as though they had strayed from a nearby techno party, committed artists recorded a DVD, and actor Ondřej Vetchý played "common citizen" during an interview with Prime Minister Topolanek.

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The "No Bases Initiative" plastered Prague with cartoon stickers like those from the Normalization-Era Czech Journal Porcupine ("The Normalization Era" refers to the period after the 1968 Prague Spring), and the government hired a PR firm and behind-the-scenes coordinator named Thomas Klvaňa. Their joint efforts served as free publicity against the pro-radar party - the number of radar opponents while the party was active increased by up to two-thirds. The best expression of the ridiculousness and pettiness of Czech conduct on the question of the location of the radar was a televised debate between Civic Democratic Party Senator Thomas Töpfer and film director Vera Chytilova, which still ranks among the greatest farces the Web archives have to offer. "I am an ally of the entire [anti-radar] alliance," the actor and senator said, tangling his words. "You are talking idiocy - there will be a radar station there as big as a pig," the director slammed.


The radar episode finally ended as it began - tiring and tragicomic. No screenwriter could have come up with the image of a sleepy Prime Minister Jan Fischer, in his pajamas, informed by telephone from the White House that there would be no radar. And if they did, people would have considered it too far-fetched.




Kommersant, Russia: U.S. Reversal: Romania to Host Anti-Missile Shield  

Yezhednevniy, Russia: Shall Russians Praise or Curse 'Those Treacherous Yankees'?

Rzeczpospolita, Poland: Poland Agrees to Accept Modified U.S. Missile Shield  

Dziennik, Poland: 'Live American Shields' Better than Bush Missile Defense  

Financial Times Deutschland: Missile Shield: 'Time for Confrontation is Over'

Der Spiegel, Germany: Biden Seeks to Smooth Feathers in 'New Europe'  

Gazeta, Russia: After the Shield: Time for Kremlin to Bring Itself to Reciprocate

Novosti, Russia: Iran Can't Be 'Swapped' for Halt to U.S. Missile Defense  

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Russia: Medvedev 'Confesses' His Plans Differ from Putin's    

Rzeczpospolita, Poland: Obama's Russia 'Gambit'

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Obama's Lesson: Poland Can't Count on the United States

Rzeczpospolita, Poland: Banish All 'Magical Thinking' Regarding the Russian Bear

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Missile Shield Talks: How the Bush Team Lost Poland

Sydsvenskan, Sweden: Obama's Anti-Missile Gambit Pursued for the Greater Good

Le Monde, France: Obama's Missile Policy Change a Shrewd Gambit

Der Spiegel, Germany : 'Russian Euphoria' at Obama's Decision To Shelve Missile Shield

The Times, U.K.: 'Dismay in Europe' as Obama Ditches Missile Shield

Novosti, Russia: Russia's NATO Envoy Warns Against 'Childish Euphoria' Over Shield


In September. it will already have been three years since Obama’s nighttime phone call. Not that the public debate over the last three years has been any better or resulted in anything substantial. Radar madness, full of empty rhetoric and ridiculous gestures, however, has not been repeated: with its beetles, Šumava [aka/the Bohemian Forest] is far from Prague, and thanks to corruption, no one has yet been tied to a tree. Differences of opinion often end with sudden quiet or even go directly to relaxation: when 1,000 trade unionists gather in Prague, their boss goes out with the finance minister for a beer.


The last thing any of us want is a return to awkwardness on the hill in the Brdy Forest. Therefore, we should insure that a reprise of the exhausting radar theater doesn't take place. It would be a good mission for [former defense and justice minister] Vlasta Parkanova - instead of reading reports on the CASA case [Parkanova is charged with taking kickbacks], to sing some new propaganda jingle to Mitt Romney. She might borrow the title from the song Somebody Told Me by The Killers, which Romney ranked on his list of favorites. Yes, someone should really say something to him.




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[Posted by Worldmeets.US Sept. 3, 7:39pm]



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