Contrary to Mr. Roman Hoferek's opinions [Reader Feedback, March 11 - 17, Vol.8, No.9], I think that Mr Burn's comments were open, fair and democratic.
Nato is an organisation which consists of stable, democratic countries. If Nato feels that Slovakia doesn't deserve membership because of undemocratic elements of government, such as the HZDS, it is fully within its rights. Slovakia is applying for membership within Nato mainly for the benefits it can bring, such as improved investment ratings, foreign investment etc. I think that the benefits are greater on Slovakia's side than Nato's.
Why should Nato have within its membership undemocratic governments who clearly don't agree with the principles of Nato? If Vladimír Mečiar really wanted Slovakia to be a member of Nato, why has he left it so long - to within less than a year of the election, to announce his support for Nato membership? Why, indeed, has the HZDS consistently shown a hostile attitude to most western organisations, as well as even the Visegrad Four, but suddenly now is fully behind "aggressors" policy?
Had nobody from Nato or the West spoken about this, imagine how cheated the Slovak people would feel if after the election of a HZDS government Slovakia was suddenly refused membership. At least now this very open step has warned people about how Nato feels.
1. Apr 2002 at 0:00