PERSONAL OPINIONS

The Hyde Park correspondents interviewed three teachers, asking them the following questions: 1. How long have you been monitoring the NATO issues? Was it connected with your military service, or just with your interests?
2. What do you associate NATO with? 3. What is NATO in the modern world? Can you comment its activities in

Serbia, Afghanistan or Iraq? 4. What is your attitude to the non-block (neutral) status of Ukraine confirmed by the Referendum on Independence in December of 1991, and written in the Constitution?
5. What advantages or/and disadvantages may Ukraine get if it joins

NATO?

Georgiy Serhiyovych POLYAKOV,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Teacher of the Basics of Defense of the Motherland:

1. I started watching NATO when I joined the army. Every soldier should learn about his potential enemy. It was not connected with my special interests. 2. NATO can protect its members from the terrorist attacks. Also, the organization effectively defends the interests of its members all over the world. In these aspects a country

benefits from its NATO membership. 3. In the modern world NATO secures stability. Aggressors can’t offend their victims freely in the presence of NATO forces. NATO troops often serve as a barrier between the fighting adversaries, as it was in Bosnia in 1996. Their SFOR and IFOR peacekeeping missions in the Balkans were very effective. 4. I support Ukraine’s neutral status. It is one of the basic principles of building our state. The neutral status is a Constitutional law, and the majority of

people voted for it back in 1991. Our country should remain really independent. We can take care of ourselves, can’t we? 5. In case Ukraine joins NATO, we will be safe from any aggression. That is the biggest advantage. However, the main disadvantage of such a decision will be our deteriorated relations with Russia. First of all our economic relations will suffer. Russia is very sensitive about NATO’s expansion to the East.
The interview was taken by Helen Mykhailenko and Irene Petrashchuk, Group 34-E

Bohdan Stepanovych SAVON,
Physical Education Teacher

I have been watching NATO for a long period of time, since the times of the USSR. The army had its ideology then. Nowadays things are different, but my beliefs have not changed: NATO means war! First of all, NATO is associated with war, bloodshed and death… If there were NATO soldiers, instead of ours, in our cities and seaports, there were American troops at their bases stomping their boots on our land, would not it mean that we have lost our independence? Can we call their mission in Iraq a peacekeeping one? I don’t think so. NATO had broken into Iraq under the pretext of looking for some Iraqi nuclear weapons, which have never been found. However, we all know their motive: they just needed oil. That dirty war resulted in numerous deaths of innocent people: partisans, women and children… I want Ukraine to be defended by Ukrainian soldiers, not by foreigners… Russia is against NATO, and we have always been, we are, and we will depend on it. The Slavs ought to stay together – the common faith, and the common victory in the war! If we gave our bases to NATO, Russian missiles would be aimed at Ukraine, because nobody can guarantee that NATO’s missiles would not be aimed at Russia. I am definitely against Ukraine’s joining NATO!
The interview was taken by Volodymyr Nagornyi, Group 34-E.

Oleksiy Oleksandrovych ZABOLOTNYI,
English Teacher, PFC (ret.)

1. I put an eye on NATO about 30 years ago. While college, I was planning a career of a military interpreter. Also, foreign armed forces have always been a sort of a hobby of mine. Later, serving in the COMINTEL, I studied NATO forces professionally. I’m a soldier of the Cold War.

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2. For me NATO means security, efficiency, cooperation, responsibility and professionalism. Even in our every-day activities, when we criticize the way things are at home, we enviously give some symbolic examples, such as “British traditions”, “American richness”, “Canadian ecology”, “German cars”, “Dutch cheese”, “Italian football”, “Danish cakes”, “Norwegian fjords”, “Turkish resorts”… They are all NATO members. And I really like the way NATO works. Imagine a small (NATO-member) country with half a dozen helicopters playing Air Force. An aggressive dictatorship decides to solve its internal problems bringing them abroad (like it has been done many times). But instead of a very petty army, the villain finds himself confronted with the entire US Navy + Marines, Bundeswehr panzers, Royal Norwegian Jagers, and Italian Alpini, proudly covered from above by the Royal Air Force. God save that villain. Nobody ever thinks about offending a NATO country. 3. When we say “civilization”, we may not think about NATO, but it comes automatically. Belonging to Europe, means belonging to the North Atlantic civilization. Do you know why Switzerland does not join NATO? Because it is surrounded by its members. Why bother? So, NATO is the force component of our civilization. And that civilization cannot afford any mess like terrorist maniacs playing with weapons of mass destruction, or genocide in Europe, or piracy along the Eastern Coast of Africa. So, they go in and solve the problem. After the USSR collapsed being defeated in the Cold War, NATO started thinking globally, and since then has become even more responsible. NATO does not operate in Iraq. It operates in Afghanistan, though. But they don’t smash entire villages there, and they don’t face massive guerrilla movement, as the Soviets did. They are there by the UN mandate, by the way.

4. Such flexible things as looking for alliance should not be put into such fundamental documents as a Constitution. Situation changes daily. Documents are always late. 5. Joining NATO may become the best thing happened to Ukraine since 1991. There are no disadvantages. There are possible problems with reforming our society. What to do with those hundreds of redundant generals, inefficient management and contradicting laws? What to do with the most expensive industry in the world, and the world’s deadliest coal mines? How to make our top brass more responsible? Bringing the country to NATO standards will help us to sort the things out. By the way, being a NATO member means that the country is attractive for investments. And no bases (they just don’t exist). Besides, we have some quite aggressive foreign military troops stationed in the Crimea, don’t we? And no sending our troops abroad if we don’t feel like doing that (it’s a matter of volunteering). Of course, there are a lot of people who don’t want things to be changed. They feel comfortable with instability guaranteed. I hope they will be overwhelmed.
The interview was taken by Irene Petrashchuk, Group 34-E.

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