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8. 7. 2008 13:59

Speech of the Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek at the Conference on Missile Defence Delivered on 8th July 2008

I am pleased to have an opportunity to say a few words on the missile defence here, and to view it in broader context than the issue is usually discussed; not only in media but also at the internal and international political scene. The missile defence means above all high technology. Each technology developed by man has its purpose, its use, its role, not only for the presence but also for the future. It is applicable for defence technologies, as well. Why do we develop missile defence? It is simple. It is a response to other technology, to technology of weapons of mass destruction and its carriers, which are, or which will be in the nearest future, in possession of our enemies – unpredictable regimes or terrorist groups.

They are enemies of our freedom here. And missile defence, as well as any other defence technology is to protect our freedom from destructive technology in the enemies´ hands. It is very simple, and if somebody says that it is "more complicated" in fact, then he is either dangerous naive dreamer or dangerously cynic populist or simply dangerously dangerous man. Dangerous technology in dangerous hands always constitutes a risk. A responsible politician must respond to it adequately. If it is possible he must respond to it when the threat is only potential. As soon as such a threat becomes actual, it is either late or it is necessary to pay more for the effective defence, both from the economic and political point of view. Thus, I coped with the political aspect of this issue. I do not want to talk about it here any longer. The political debate is rotating in a circle, it is not very comprehensible, but it is the more hypocritical and demagogical. Achieving more with less is the current principle.

Now, allow me to say something about the importance of defence technologies for preservation of our principle values, about their connection with peace technology, and on their influence on long-term world policy. The so called military-industrial complex does not enjoy very good reputation. The well-known Latin saying "Si vis pacem, para bellum" – "If you want peace, prepare for war" has become a subject many parodies and furious criticism of pacifists. In fact, hardly any statement is as true as that throughout thousands of years.

Our principal value is freedom. It is a natural value with which every man is born. It does not mean that it is a self-evident value, on no account. Only small part of humankind is so lucky to live in free countries. All people long for freedom, including those who are under control of totalitarian or authoritative regimes. The result is that freedom has its powerful enemies and it is necessary to ceaselessly think of the defence. We can live in freedom because threats remain beyond our boundaries; but not thanks to talking of pacifists. It is our technological progress which protects us. Thanks to it, our numerically smaller part of the world can survive.

Freedom is our principal value. It is respected by critics of missile defence, as well as critics of other defence technologies. But they are absolutely mistaken when they claim that defence makes our space of freedom narrower. This space did not arise of its own bat. It had to be fought out by our ancestors, often at the expense of great toll. And it will not survive of its own bat either. The defence technologies help us to protect our freedom; they help us to keep our enemies at a distance. They eliminate our numerical disadvantage and turn it into an advantage, as they protect lives of our soldiers. High-tech fighters in missions thousands miles away protect our freedom more effectively than stirring speeches in the Parliament. Apart from the importance of defence technologies for maintaining our values, the military systems also have their peaceful use. Perhaps the best known example is conquest of space, in the beginning of which was the military technology. That is why I am glad that apart from the agreement on placement of certain elements of missile defence in the Czech Republic, also the American-Czech framework agreement on missile defence will be signed. The Czech Republic will become after Great Britain, Japan, Denmark and Italy, the sixth country which will reach such a level of defence cooperation with the United States.

I expect that it will be a great opportunity for the Czech defence industry, which will be used, and it will be also an opportunity for the Czech science and research. Science and research participate in defence technologies even nowadays, but now they gain access to the absolute elite. In the framework of the preparation of the MDA (Missile Defence Agency) Project, the Americans proposed 15 points of cooperation and the stirring committee added further 9 points. It is a great chance how to enhance the innovation potential of the Czech Republic, how get in our country technologies at the highest possible level. Apart from defence of our freedom, I regard the missile defence as a practical contribution to Czech citizens and to quality of their life. And finally, defence technologies as well as any other technology have influence on processes in the world, on politics. The large-scale Strategic Defence Initiative, those "Star Wars" of the President Reagan, helped to force the Soviet system to its knees and to finish the Cold War. There is a good presumption that far less expensive project, as to the quality and quantity, of missile defence will have an influence on the politics of such countries like Iran, and that the existence of that defence itself will cause that it will not be necessary to use it in the end, as it was in case of the deterrent nuclear arsenal of NATO (It was an offensive arsenal because an effective defensive arsenal was not available that time.) Defence technologies also in the political sphere show who is who – who is an ally, who wants to cooperate at least, who is an adversary and who is apparent enemy. I believe that it will be possible to cooperate in missile defence with the Russian Federation; much as Moscow is critical, as far as the project is concerned, it showed its will to consider it in the future.

Although NATO and Russia have not common interests in all issues, they are one in agreement on the basic ones. Both civilization areas have a common enemy: terrorism. Both areas are interested in the stability in the world and in security, both areas represent foreseeable and comprehensible policy in opposition to chaos a fanaticism. Defence technologies protect our freedom, they bring technological progress and if they are used well they have stabilizing influence on the world politics. There is a presumption, of course, that the "military-industrial complex" operates in free and democratic countries, that it is a tool for the defence of right, not for its exercising.

It is said that the "sward law" is being applied in the world. But I have a feeling that an opposite is true nowadays. Those who are numerically weaker and who are bound by democratic rules are ahead of those authoritative regimes that control majority of mankind. I believe that this conference will contribute to the situation in which the defence industry of the free world will serve for preservation of that anomaly, which is so fortunate for us.

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