I almost completely disagree with the majority of this article from a Romanian author describing Moldova’s current problems. But I do note that the author is absolutely right about one thing:
Russia has another considerable advantage, namely that Romania lacks focus and expertise on Moldova. Romania has in the past years been Moldova’s closest partner in support of its European trajectory. Currently, however, there are no presidential advisors to Klaus Iohannis on Moldovan affairs, and if there is a strategy in regards to Moldova it is a very well-kept secret.
Indeed. Klaus has been the president of Romania for more than a year now. RM is the one country where everyone speaks Romanian, so why in the world does his cabinet not have a single expert on RM? That is a gaffe of staggering proportions.
Furthermore, even though I have nothing but loathing for Victor Ponta, I do have to admit it that at least he had some kind of pro-active strategy when it came to RM. Misguided and egotistical as it was, Ponta was the driving force behind the offer of a loan to RM that Klaus rejected (before re-offering it to Pavel Filip yesterday).
Has Romanian leadership fallen so far that their point man on RM relations was Victor Ponta?
The only major consideration at the moment in regards to the protests in Chisinau seems to be a fear of Russia and its influence, which is why Romania has expressed support for the newly appointed Prime Minister, raising eyebrows among Moldova’s true reformists, wondering why Bucharest would support what they deem to be Plahotniuc’s “puppet.” This further erodes Romania’s credibility among those Moldovans already fed up with the past 8 years of nominally pro-EU governments.
All other considerations aside, this proves exactly why a political union between Romania and RM would be disastrous. Romanian politicians (and I’m including Basescu here as well as Victor Ponta and Klaus Iohannis) have consistently backed the slimiest toads and most corrupt thugs in RM. True, these men all clothed themselves in the noble banner of “reforms” and “joining the EU”, but it was all just a masquerade to cover their wholesale looting of this country.
Think of it this way: imagine that you are an open-minded and reasonable Moldovan who fell into a coma in 2009*. Yesterday, you woke up from your coma and someone brought you up to speed on what’s been going on. What would your conclusion be?
You’d have to conclude that Romanian interference has directly made things worse for the Republic of Moldova! That is the only objective assessment possible. There is an almost direct correlation between the amount of corruption and theft by certain politicians and the level of support and praise they’ve received from Romania.
You definitely don’t need to be a paranoid Russian speaker in Transnistria to be virulently opposed to stronger connections to Romania. All Romania has done since 2009 is promise a dream for RM and then deliver a nightmare. Which is exactly why huge protests are being held daily in the capital here.
* – In 2009, an increasingly unpopular Prime Minister called in thousands of cops to disperse crowds of protesters. As a result, one person died, several people were injured, the PM lost his job, and the opposition made huge gains in the parliament in the next election. Sound familiar yet? Only in 2009 it was the “pro-EU” politicians who were in the minority opposition.
The real answer that explains Romania’s “epic fail” in RM, up to and including Klaus inexplicably not having any advisors on Moldovan affairs, is that Romania has become a vassal state of the United States. Klaus’ advisor on RM affairs is Victoria Nuland and her assistants in the embassy in Bucharest.
Between the IMF, World Bank, EBRD, NATO, and the American State Department, Romania hasn’t made an independent decision since 1999. Indeed, there is abundant evidence to the contrary, as the leadership in Romania has consistently made decisions which were opposed by a wide segment of the population.
Just a few examples:
- Allowing U.S. Marine to get away scot-free after murdering a popular Romanian rock star
- Allowing a government building in downtown Bucharest to be used to torture people
- Going deeply in debt to the IMF and World Bank
- Giving lucrative contracts to Coca-Cola instead of Romanian beverage makers
- Making deep cuts to the budget, including healthcare, leading to a huge shortage of doctors
- Opening a FBI field office in Romania, leading to the extradition of Romanian citizens to be judged in America (where conditions are far harsher)
- Allowing foreign (American) troops to build a permanent base on Romanian soil
- Inviting multinational (American) oil firms to engage in fracking in Romania
- Continuously promising Gabriel Resources that one day soon it can use cyanide to extract gold in Rosia Montana
- Sending 23 Romanian soldiers to their death in Afghanistan, a country that has never once harmed Romania
- Raising the VAT from 19% to 24% in 2010
- Using riot police to crush anti-austerity protests
Strangely enough, the only disobedient “child” in the class over the past 15 years has been Victor Ponta. Of course, that wasn’t what was supposed to happen, as he was secretly hand-picked to be Romania’s leader by a group of elites in America. But Ponta quickly went off the leash, getting up to all kinds of unconstitutional and illegal monkey business, more out of greed and incompetence than some kind of master plan to chart an independent course for Romania.
Everyone else, from Traian Basescu to Klaus Johannis to Calin Popescu-Tariceanu to Emil Boc to Bogdan Aurescu to Titus Corlatean has done exactly what the US/NATO/WB/IMF wanted. And that includes backing a corrupt group of oligarchs in RM, consistently pushing them to both join the EU as well as sign new debt agreements with the IMF.
Just a couple of nights ago, Basescu was on TV and said this.
“[Romania’s] relations with the United States are now so solid that they can never be changed. Abrams tanks, and F16 fighter planes are American. We can never go back, in terms of our relations with the USA.
Indeed. The F16s he’s talking about are old, outdated and overpriced planes that America convinced Romania to spend money it didn’t have in order to buy.
The Abrams tanks that Basescu is referring to is America stationing an entire armored brigade on Romanian soil, including Abrams tanks, Bradleys, and Panther artillery. How big is an armored brigade, you might ask? It’s 90 tanks, 90 Bradleys, and 112 M113 vehicles with about 4,7500 soldiers.
Add that the missile base in Deveselu and the use of the Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase near Constanta, and we’re talking about a significant American military presence on Romanian soil. Furthermore, Romania is now angling to be the permanent host of a NATO fleet in the Black Sea.
RM is still in the process of deciding its future but, as Basescu admitted this week, Romania is now a permanent vassal state of a foreign power.