Magazine article New Internationalist

Shot in the Dark: Eastern European Governments Accept NATO without Debate

Magazine article New Internationalist

Shot in the Dark: Eastern European Governments Accept NATO without Debate

Article excerpt

PUBLIC discussion about possible membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is being stifled in Eastern European countries. The Hungarian, Czech and Polish Governments all want to join NATO. Accession protocols were signed in December by their foreign ministers without their citizens being aware of the total cost of joining the alliance or what NATO's strategic future will be.

Western companies say NATO expansion opens up a potential arms market worth at least $35 billion. All three prospective East European members have committed themselves to increasing their military budgets. According to Jerry Kropiwnicki, the head of Warsaw's Centre for Strategic Studies, Poland will need to spend around $2 billion by the year 2012 to insure that its armed forces are compatible with NATO's.

Pro-NATO bias in the Hungarian media was overwhelming -- despite the fact that almost 600,000 citizens voted against joining. …

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