‘US Dragoon Ride stirs anxiousness in European govts’

Reuters / Ints Kalnins
European governments are very nervous about the US’s military moves, including the showcase parade of hardware through Eastern Europe, Tony Robinson, co-director of independent news agency Pressenza, told RT.

RT:Your outlet has been covering some of the protests against this American show of force in Europe. What level of objection is there?

Tony Robinson: Awareness of the show of force is very low and in any case the media in countries like the Czech Republic is hugely influenced by the US media. For instance, the main TV station in the Czech Republic is 50 percent owned by Time Warner which is part of the media group that includes CNN. So the portrayal of the situation in the media is that Putin is bad, and the US is good. And I think that portrayal is what most people in the region are receiving. An opposition is starting to emerge though because in the Czech Republic for instance tank movements and these vehicles that look like tanks are very sensitive. The previous time that tanks rolled onto the streets in Prague they were of course the Soviet forces crushing moves to democracy, and the time before that they were Hitler’s tanks, so these images are stirring the Czechs and they don’t feel at all comfortable with it.

READ MORE: ‘Tanks? No thanks!’: Czechs unhappy about US military convoy crossing country

RT:Do you think the reaction would have been any different if these troops were from another NATO country instead of America?

TR: It’s hard to imagine other NATO countries mobilizing troops in a coordinated fashion without the US. NATO is the US’s baby and the US economy depends on this military spending. One of the reasons for the existence of the EU was to prevent wars on European soil. I think Russia would really have to be openly threatening an invasion of Europe in order for Europeans to respond in such a way.

Filip Ilkowski from Polish group 'Stop the War' comments on the parade of US Army hardware through the Eastern Europe: “…so-called “Dragoon ride” is part of the wider NATO’s attempt to build its own military position in Eastern Europe and it’s a part of arms race within the whole of Eastern Europe. On the one side you have Russia with its growing military expenditure, on the other side you have Eastern Europe and countries like Poland, the country I live in, and also other countries supported by the US. So it’s part of this mutual arms race… On the one hand you have military exercises in Russia just recently and now this is kind of a NATO ‘answer’ to it…I find the whole story very disturbing to ordinary people in all those countries…”

RT:This is another case when soldiers are allowing the public - including children - climb into their vehicles and hold weapons. Is this still an effective publicity stunt?

TR: This is absolutely horrifying for anyone who is remotely sensitive to the power that these machines have, the thought of children running around on the vehicles and holding these weapons and brandishing them like they were some kind of toy. For the vast majority of sensible people these images are totally horrifying. But it’s all part of the propaganda that the US and those people in favor of conflict - because there are not just Americans, there are people in other countries - but it’s propaganda that people want to show in these countries that these troops are friendly.

READ MORE: Czechs told not to throw tomatoes, eggs at US military convoy

RT: The population of European NATO members certainly doesn’t fully support the US. But what about European governments, are they all behind Washington's military moves and ambitions?

TR: No, I don’t think so. I think European governments are very nervous. I think you can see how Angela Merkel pulled Putin and Poroshenko and Hollande together in order to broker a ceasefire. I think Germany in particular wants to avoid a war at all costs. There are some governments which are pro-conflict; the UK government seems to always follow a line that the US is giving. And I think this is for the UK public consumption - making the UK public believe that the UK still has some influence in world affairs. But generally the EU was designed to avoid war on European soil at all costs and I think there is a lot of anxiousness in the European governments.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.