Czech Against U.S. Military Power
Activists successfully oppose a Pentagon radar base plan in the Czech Republic.
On March 17, the Czech government withdrew its proposal to ratify an agreement with the Pentagon to install a U.S. military radar base in the Czech Republic.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek halted the ratification process when it appeared that the Chamber of Deputies—the lower house of the Czech Parliament—was likely to vote to reject the agreement.
"The retreat was very significant, because our government had promoted the radar as one of its key accomplishments," says Jana Glivicka, a leader of the grassroots No Bases Initiative, which has opposed the radar for more than two years.
Indeed, one week after the government withdrew the radar proposal, Topolanek’s governing coalition collapsed. Its position in favor of the radar was one of the reasons why the government failed to win a vote of confidence in parliament.
Two-thirds of Czechs have opposed the radar since it was first proposed in 2006. Calls from activists with the No Bases Initiative and the Nonviolence Movement for a popular referendum on the issue have repeatedly been rebuffed.
In September 2008, the Czech government put the final touches on an agreement with the United States to install the radar, and the —Czech Senate approved the accord. However, the agreement could not be implemented until the Czech Chamber of Deputies ratified it.
"Thanks to the hard work of anti-radar groups in the country, popular opinion remained strongly mobilized against the radar," says Glivicka. "This public opposition culminated in the likely ‘no’ vote in the Chamber."
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Source (American): Landy, Joanne. Czech Against U.S. Military Power. In These Times, 17.04.2009
Joanne Landy is co-director of the New York-based Campaign for Peace and Democracy, and a member of the editorial board of New Politics.