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No radar for the Czechs

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US President Barack Obama called Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer on Wednesday night to tell him that the US administration decided to scrap the anti-missile shield project that would have included installing a radar in the Czech Republic. Fischer said Obama assured him that the United States “still consider the Czech Republic as one of its closest allies”.

The decision, though far from surprising, created strong reactions. ODS leader Mirek Topolánek, who served as prime minister when the radar contract was signed, said the move “only whets Russia’s appetite”. ČSSD head Jiří Paroubek, on the other hand, called it a “victory of the Czech people and realistic politics”. Former Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said that if the US “does not want it, then nothing is going on, for God’s sake”. President Václav Klaus said he is certain “the step does not mean any cooling down of Czech-US relations”.

Washington political analyst Daryl Kimball told Hospodářské noviny that Russia will definitely be pleased by the US decision, though not even Moscow should interpret this as a victory. “It is a decision that is, above all, in the best interest of NATO and the US.”

• How should Czechs interpret the US decision?
• Which of the interpretations do you agree with?
• Will Russia quietly rejoice?

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