If Romney Wins,
He Can Keep His Radar! (NeviditelnyPes, Czech Republic)
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."
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.
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 JaraCimrman, Prime Minister MirekTopolanek 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: JaraCimrman 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
At the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister AlexandrVondra 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."
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, JiříParoubek, 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
VlastaParkanova 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 OndřejVetchý played "common citizen" during
an interview with Prime Minister Topolanek.
Posted by Worldmeets.US
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.
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] VlastaParkanova - 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.
Worldmeets.US is a non-partisan, volunteer-based, not-for-profit organization that operates solely in the public interest. The opinions expressed in articles posted by Worldmeets.US are not necessarily those of Worldmeets.US, its sponsors, or its volunteers.