Showing posts with label Karolina Kurkova. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Karolina Kurkova. Show all posts

Stratfor and Karolina Kurkova

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
The Visegrad Group (V4) consists of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, all countries that had been behind the Iron Curtain. It was formed when the Soviet Union collapsed. 

On May 12th they announced that they were going to form a Battle Group, independent of NATO and under the overall command of Poland. Today's Stratfor article discusses the rationale of the V4, all sandwiched between Germany and Russia, forming a force to act as a mutual defensive force.

For the article's Hot Stratfor Babe I looked for a woman soldier in a movie and was delighted to find the Czech supermodel Karolina Kurkova who played Courtney “Cover Girl” Kreiger in the film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.  

I've never seen the movie, but her name appears suspiciously far down in the credits, which leads me to believe she may not be the female lead. That's a shame, 'cause nothing signals a commitment to a realistic portrayal of ass-kicking soldiers more than casting an anorexic supermodel as one of the warriors.

Ah well, what do you expect out of a movie based on dolls (a.k.a action figures in the vernacular of my younger readers), comic books (graphic novels) and cartoons (animated films)?

EDIT: I almost forgot, be sure to click on her picture and check out the camouflage pattern on her uniform. No reason for a girl not to be stylish when going to war.

By George Friedman, May 17, 2011

With the Palestinians demonstrating and the International Monetary Fund in turmoil, it would seem odd to focus this week on something called the Visegrad Group. But this is not a frivolous choice. What the Visegrad Group decided to do last week will, I think, resonate for years, long after the alleged attempted rape by Dominique Strauss-Kahn is forgotten and long before the Israeli-Palestinian issue is resolved. The obscurity of the decision to most people outside the region should not be allowed to obscure its importance.

The region is Europe -- more precisely, the states that had been dominated by the Soviet Union. The Visegrad Group, or V4, consists of four countries -- Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary -- and is named after two 14th century meetings held in Visegrad Castle in present-day Hungary of leaders of the medieval kingdoms of Poland, Hungary and Bohemia. The group was reconstituted in 1991 in post-Cold War Europe as the Visegrad Three (at that time, Slovakia and the Czech Republic were one). The goal was to create a regional framework after the fall of Communism. This week the group took an interesting new turn.

On May 12, the Visegrad Group announced the formation of a "battle group" under the command of Poland. The battle group would be in place by 2016 as an independent force and would not be part of NATO command. In addition, starting in 2013, the four countries would begin military exercises together under the auspices of the NATO Response Force.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the primary focus of all of the Visegrad nations had been membership in the European Union and NATO. Their evaluation of their strategic position was threefold. First, they felt that the Russian threat had declined if not dissipated following the fall of the Soviet Union. Second, they felt that their economic future was with the European Union. Third, they believed that membership in NATO, with strong U.S. involvement, would protect their strategic interests. Of late, their analysis has clearly been shifting.

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First, Russia has changed dramatically since the Yeltsin years. It has increased its power in the former Soviet sphere of influence substantially, and in 2008 it carried out an effective campaign against Georgia. Since then it has also extended its influence in other former Soviet states. The Visegrad members' underlying fear of Russia, built on powerful historical recollection, has become more intense. They are both the front line to the former Soviet Union and the countries that have the least confidence that the Cold War is simply an old memory.

Second, the infatuation with Europe, while not gone, has frayed. The ongoing economic crisis, now focused again on Greece, has raised two questions: whether Europe as an entity is viable and whether the reforms proposed to stabilize Europe represent a solution for them or primarily for the Germans. It is not, by any means, that they have given up the desire to be Europeans, nor that they have completely lost faith in the European Union as an institution and an idea. Nevertheless, it would be unreasonable to expect that these countries would not be uneasy about the direction that Europe was taking. If one wants evidence, look no further than the unease with which Warsaw and Prague are deflecting questions about the eventual date of their entry into the Eurozone. Both are the strongest economies in Central Europe, and neither is enthusiastic about the euro.

Finally, there are severe questions as to whether NATO provides a genuine umbrella of security to the region and its members. The NATO strategic concept, which was drawn up in November 2010, generated substantial concern on two scores. First, there was the question of the degree of American commitment to the region, considering that the document sought to expand the alliance's role in non-European theaters of operation. For example, the Americans pledged a total of one brigade to the defense of Poland in the event of a conflict, far below what Poland thought necessary to protect the North European Plain. Second, the general weakness of European militaries meant that, willingness aside, the ability of the Europeans to participate in defending the region was questionable. Certainly, events in Libya, where NATO had neither a singular political will nor the military participation of most of its members, had to raise doubts. It was not so much the wisdom of going to war but the inability to create a coherent strategy and deploy adequate resources that raised questions of whether NATO would be any more effective in protecting the Visegrad nations.
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