Reader feedback: Slovakia must balance looking out and looking in

Re: Slovakia an inferior NATO member?, By Martina Pisárová, Oct 27 - Nov 2, Vol 9, No 41

The Slovak government is walking a tightrope on NATO. On the one hand, it does not want Slovakia to become a Switzerland in the heart of Europe - Mečiar's isolationist goal, which still resonates with many Slovaks. Therefore, it wants a certain amount of engagement with outside institutions, such as NATO to a lesser degree, and the EU to a much greater degree. On the other hand, it wants to improve health care and infrastructure within Slovakia.

This week, a new motorway section opened near Nova Bana. That's progress. The new section could cut 15 minutes out of the drive from Nitra to Zvolen. It also makes a very dangerous stretch of road much safer (my knuckles are still white from driving that stretch a couple weeks ago).

On the other hand, Slovakia may not have enough flu vaccines for the entire country, and is not addressing many of the other health needs of its populace. That's inexcusable.

I would certainly like to see the government spend less on defence and more on infrastructure. However, I also understand how precious freedom is to this country, given how many armies have invaded it in the past. The EU, in its present form, could not guarantee the defence of Slovakia if the geopolitical situation in eastern Europe were to suddenly and inexplicably change. For now, only NATO can offer this kind of security guarantee.

John,
Washington, DC

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