21st Century Wire says…
Washington Neoconservatives and military contractors were dealt a hard blow to NATO expansion ambitions yesterday as Czech leaders announced they do not want to host foreign NATO troops on their home soil.
Martin Stropnicky, Defense Minister for the Czech Republic whose country joined NATO along with Poland and Hungary in 1999, told Reuters:
“We know well how any permanent stationing (of troops) is still a problem. I belong to the generation that experienced the 80,000 Soviet troops based here during the period of (post-1968) ‘normalization’ and it is still a bit of a psychological problem”.
NATO’s head spokesman, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, has been aggressively talking up a military expansion eastward and military confrontation with Russia ever since a Washington DC-backed military coup seized power in the Kiev at the end of February.
Between 2007 – 2010, Washington hit a political brick wall of Czech public opposition to Pentagon plans to install its U.S.-NATO missile “Defense Shield” in the country by George W. Bush and later by the Obama administration after massive public opposition to the plan. It’s worth noting here that the US and NATO had originally tried to sell the project as protection against “missiles from Iran”, but as events in Kiev have proven, the missile program was always designed for a planned confrontation with Russia.
Not keen to take on additional debt, the Czechs have also resisted keeping their military spending levels above NATO’s proposed target of 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
The pressure on Czech leadership to comply with the wishes of Washington and Co. should not be underestimated. By not complying with the wishes of NATO and the international arms syndicate’s wishes, Czech risks becoming a target for an aggressive economic warfare, and a US State Department and CIA-backed regime change, or ‘colour revolution’ effort in their country.
Czech Republic does not envisage NATO troops on its soil
The Czech defense minister says his country does not want to host foreign NATO troops on its soil, as part of plans to beef up the alliance’s eastern wing in light of the Ukraine crisis in contrast to some other eastern European countries like Poland.
Martin Stropinsky, the Czech defense minister, has said his country is not in favor of any foreign troops being based in his country, even though they would only come at Prague’s invitation, Reuters reports.
“We know well how any permanent stationing (of troops) is still a problem. I belong to a generation that experienced the 80,000 Soviet troops based here during the period of (post 1968) ‘normalization’ and it is still a bit of a psychological problem,” Stropinsky told Reuters in an interview.
However, he said that expanded cooperation on training and other measures would not be problem.
“Raising the alliance’s presence on our territory in various modifications, yes. But when it comes to actual units, I am rather skeptical,” he said.
Stropinsky’s comments come in contrast to NATO’s top military commander, US Air Force General Philip Breedlove, who said last week that the alliance should permanently station troops in Eastern Europe as a result of increased tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine.
Poland has also asked for a permanent NATO presence on its soil and has said that practical measures will be hammered out at the next NATO summit in Wales in September.
The previous Czech center right administration supported US plans to host a US missile defense radar but ran into strong public opposition. The current center-left government is less supportive of Washington and the Obama administration has in any case shelved the plans.
Although the Czechs sent a small number of soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan they have failed to keep military spending at NATO’s proposed target of 2 percent of GDP.
Prague’s spending on defense is currently at 1.08 percent of GDP and political debate has been focused on keeping it at this level rather than increasing it regardless of the crisis in Ukraine.
“There is a certain consensus that a further decline is unthinkable. Now the issue is about defending and negotiating a reasonable gradual increase,” Stropinsky said.
In other comments Stropinsky accused Russia of waging a disinformation campaign in Europe over its policies and goals in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Russia voiced objections to NATO’s build-up of troops in Eastern Europe amid the Ukrainian conflict. Russian officials say that a permanent deployment would only prove Moscow’s assessment of NATO’s action as hostile.
Moscow also believes that the US has intensified its effort to create a Europe-based anti-missile shield and is increasingly certain that it is targeting Russia.
READ MORE NATO NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire NATO Files