Czechs at odds over hypothetical US base
The party congress of the ruling liberal-conservative Civic Democrats (ODS) in Prague welcomed the idea of building a US military base in the Czech Republic with great applause. But the project also has its detractors, and now, as expected, a fierce row has broken out. Yet the whole dispute is hypothetical because the US has no plans to build a base in the Czech Republic - as Prague newspapers smugly note.
Just a transit state for the US
The Czech Republic can only help Nato in other areas, Lidové noviny notes:
“The Poles, Estonians, Romanians and about four other nations directly bordering the Russian Empire are all above us on the list of those demanding the presence of the world's largest military power. Setting up a base in the Czech Republic today has about the same priority for the US and Nato as it would in non-Nato member Switzerland. ... First and foremost, we need to do our homework. That means spending at least two percent of GDP on defence. And we should conclude a framework agreement with Washington so that US soldiers can cross our territory or stay there for a limited time if necessary.”
Bizarre squabbling over nothing
The Czechs are possessed by a spirit of whimsical belligerence, says Hospodářské noviny:
“At the ODS congress on the weekend, Deputy Chairman Vondra proposed that a US army base be established on our territory. Defence Minister Jana Černochová immediately seized on this because she didn't want to look like a pigeon next to the hawk Alexandr Vondra. ... Government politicians began to nod vigorously, the opposition protested just as vigorously. And the fuss didn't die down when it turned out that no one had told the Americans about the plan. ... It's all like a script for one of Miloš Forman's bizarre early films. It's obvious that the Czechs just want to argue and won't let reality spoil their hobby.”