Czechs do not want the American radar

The Czech daily IHNED.cz reported today (some information in English can be found from BBC here and here) what has been by no means unexpected – two thirds of the Czechs do not want the US radar on their soil. In addition, majority (75%) of the Czech people would invite the referendum to be held on the question whether to allow the Americans to build their radar – or rather not.american_radar

The radar tracking system in the Czech  Republic should be one of the parts of the American missile defense system in Europe. Neighbouring Poland should host the interceptor rockets.

The problem for us Czechs lies in the troubled past of our country – which had been for 51 years a part of the Soviet bloc and had to endure every whim of the Soviet government. What is now being (rightly) perceived is that we had only changed sides – and instead of the Czechs going their ‘own way’ – they had gone ‘the American way’ – and stepped from one political dominion into another.

I do not suggest that the American effort to build the defense system in Europe is either ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ since clearly nothing like this exists in politics. It might protect Europe against the countries of the ‘Axis of evil’ (but this is quite improbable, for instance Iran will be quite happy if it will not be destroyed by another campaign ‘against terror’), however, it is also a powerful symbol that signifies dominance. When one country builds a base on a territory of another, whatever ‘friendly’ relations are between them, it shows which of the ‘partners’ is more powerful – which has more resources – both financial and military – and influence to establish a constant military presence on the soil of another ‘sovereign’ state. I have a very good fantasy, but I can hardly imagine a European country building its base in the middle of the United States.

The fear of Russia that the military defense system threatens its national security is more than substantiated. Their vehement protest against it and threats towards European countries are thus only a natural reaction. Every student of the classical realpolitik knows that the increase of power (whether military, or as a sphere of influence) of one country produces fear in neighbouring countries (which is, thanks to our modern technologies, not limited by natural borders) that their interests will be threatened and that they might be ultimately dominated as well. The international politics is nothing but competition for power, a zero-sum game, where only winners and losers exist. The well known Melian dialogue from Thucydides might give you the idea.

It is crucial to understand that no battle of forces of good against evil exists. There are only battles fought from different perspectives, each of which considers its cause as ‘just’ and ‘right.’ You might say that this is not true, that some of them truly pursue ‘good life’ for us all, but history knows different, she will silently smile walking her way and will give the good fortune to the powerful, and send to death the weak.

The Czech Republic thus must seek its own way, however not the ‘Czech way,’ that would be today totally unrealistic, but the ‘European way.’ Only the unity of the European peoples will allow them to protect their interests and cultural values against the threat from other international actors. True ‘unity in diversity’ (and in necessity) is our only chance.

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