The Great Shield of Deveselu: Missile Defense in Romania

Inauguration ceremony for missile defense system at Deveselu, Romania, May 3, 2011

From Eastern Approaches, the Economist:  As the world frets about a possible military strike on Iran, villagers in a remote part of southern Romania are taking English lessons. Why? Because they want to be able to talk to the American soldiers who will soon be stationed in Deveselu, where the United States army is renting an abandoned airport. By 2015, there should be up to 500 of them, securing 24 anti-ballistic missiles.

Locals in this forgotten village are hoping to take advantage of the opportunity. The mayor, a former Communist apparatchik, was the first to sign up for English classes. He claims to have been pushing for the revival of the military air base ever since it was closed in 2002. . . .

In 2007, when the idea of Romania hosting part of the US anti-ballistic missile shield first came up, the Social Democratic opposition said it would demand a referendum on the issue. It never transpired; had it done so it would have probably passed, as Romanians are among the staunchest pro-Americans in Europe. Last week Mircea Geoană, the Social Democratic chairman of Romania’s Senate, said that parliament should ratify the missile-shield deal as soon as possible, to reinforce the US-Romanian "strategic partnership."  (photo: Getty)

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