Tensions are running high in Central and Eastern Europe as the countries of the region review their place and role in the European Union and NATO. In the Czech Republic citizens sign a petition calling for withdrawal from the European Union. Over 50 thousand people have already signed the document with many others to follow.
The citizens of neighboring Slovakia express serious concern over the ongoing NATO military exercises. Brussels has offered an explanation that the recent movement of military hardware on Slovak soil took place in accordance with previously agreed training programs. The plans to build military facilities in the vicinity of Bratislava have been made public recently.
This idea poses a much bigger threat to the Slovakia’s national interests. The Slovak Ministry of Defense had to admit that the alliance is going to set up a NATO coordination group to ensure that NATO forces can be quickly deployed on Slovak territory. With the group in place there will be just one step left to get the country fully involved in military adventures of Brussels and Washington. For instance, NATO plans may include participation of military units (including Slovak military) in the Ukraine’s conflict siding with nationalists who rule in Kiev. Another option is deployment of forces in Syria to bolster the terrorists fighting against the Russian aviation backed government of Bashar al-Assad.
For Slovakia the implementation of any of these scenarios would mean the loss of national sovereignty and involvement in a full-fledged war to pursue the goals of others that have no relation to the national interests of the country. Any other country of Central and Eastern Europe could face the same situation. NATO has plans to set up coordination groups in other countries as well, including Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania.
No wonder, the people of Slovakia intensify protest activities, they block the roads to prevent NATO hardware movement and organize mass manifestations under anti-NATO and anti-US slogans. The last time this kind of manifestations took place in Central and Eastern Europe in 1999 when the NATO military operation against former Yugoslavia was in high gear. Those days these states were not NATO members. It brings up the question: does it make sense for Slovakia to stay in NATO if its people oppose the idea of hosting military facilities of the alliance?
It all equally applies to the Balkans, including Serbia. Any time the leaders of the Balkan states visit Brussels or Washington, they talk about the allegiance to Euro-Atlantic values, no matter if it is appropriate or out of place. But the definition of what these values are is murky enough. In the eyes of Washington, Serbia and Montenegro can be of value only if they obediently execute the orders playing their parts as pawns in US military and political games. They could be used to host military bases in Cold War II scenarios or accommodate formations of terrorists whom the West sees as “good guys”.