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Czechs, Disliking Role, Pull Out of U.S. Missile Defense Project

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/16/world/europe/16shield.html
June 15, 2011
Czechs, Disliking Role, Pull Out of U.S. Missile Defense Project
By JUDY DEMPSEY and DAN BILEFSKY [Czech Republic] [Eastern Europe] [former Czechaslovakia] [under Soviet domination; 1968 Prague Spring] [apparently they have opted out of their former high-profile role in America’s missile defense?] [use psci350] [under Bush plan they were either receptor or radar site but I don’t recall under Obama’s adapted one what there role was exactly?] [cross in govt] [*]
BERLIN — The Czech Republic announced Wednesday that it was withdrawing from plans to participate in the United States missile defense program out of frustration at its diminished role in the system, which was conceived as a deterrent against a potential threat from Iran. [*]
The administration of President George W. Bush had initially proposed stationing 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland and a radar facility in the Czech Republic. [*]But in September

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/16/world/europe/16shield.html
June 15, 2011
Czechs, Disliking Role, Pull Out of U.S. Missile Defense Project
By JUDY DEMPSEY and DAN BILEFSKY [Czech Republic] [Eastern Europe] [former Czechaslovakia] [under Soviet domination; 1968 Prague Spring] [apparently they have opted out of their former high-profile role in America’s missile defense?] [use psci350] [under Bush plan they were either receptor or radar site but I don’t recall under Obama’s adapted one what there role was exactly?] [cross in govt] [*]
BERLIN — The Czech Republic announced Wednesday that it was withdrawing from plans to participate in the United States missile defense program out of frustration at its diminished role in the system, which was conceived as a deterrent against a potential threat from Iran. [*]
The administration of President George W. Bush had initially proposed stationing 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland and a radar facility in the Czech Republic. [*]But in September 2009, the Obama administration scrapped those plans and proposed a revamped program with an unspecified role for the Czechs. Two months later, it offered the Czech Republic the possibility of hosting a separate early warning system. [*]
The shift prompted accusations from Republican critics who accused President Obama of betraying allies under pressure from Russia, while officials in Eastern Europe, who viewed missile defense as a symbol of American support for the region, expressed discomfort at the change in policy. [*]
The Czech defense minister, Alexandr Vondra, who met Wednesday in Prague with Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III, said that the conditions offered by Washington were not good enough. “We will seek other possibilities of how the Czech Republic may participate in the allied system in future,” he said. “They gave us an offer and we assessed that.” [sounds like the are simply bargaining?] [*]
Mr. Vondra, a former Czech ambassador to the United States, was previously an outspoken proponent of Czech participation in missile defense, even as his center-right party faced deep resistance from a skeptical public. But at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels last week, Mr. Vondra dismissed the revamped Czech role as “a consolation prize.”
“Our ideas about the future cooperation are more colorful than just a room or two with some screens there,” he said. [*]
The decision by the Czechs to step away from missile defense came a month after Mr. Obama traveled to Poland for a 24-hour visit during which he emphasized America’s close ties with its allies in the former Eastern Bloc. Yet Polish and Czech officials have watched with increasing concern as the Obama administration has reached out to Russia [*]as part of a broader effort to restart talks to reduce nuclear weapons and to seek closer cooperation over Iran and Afghanistan. [understandable but they need to be realistic] [the CW is over] [the reset with Russia has served the US and their interests too] [*]
On Wednesday, the Pentagon issued a statement saying that the shared early warning center had been “overtaken by events,” because missile defense was adopted as a NATO mission at a Lisbon summit last November. Even so, the tone of Mr. Vondra’s remarks last week and on Wednesday show the level of disappointment with the Obama administration among what have been staunchly pro-American countries in this part of Europe. [oh well?] [*]
Separately, Russia, China and other members of a regional security organization signed a declaration on Wednesday that criticized plans by the United States to deploy a missile shield, saying it “could harm strategic stability and international security.” [*]
Judy Dempsey reported from Berlin, and Dan Bilefsky from New York. Michael Schwirtz contributed reporting from Moscow.

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