Viorica Dancila became the first female Prime Minister of Romania in January 2018.
Dancila quickly became well-known for mangling the Romanian language, lying about her ability to speak (or learn) English, and consistently protecting criminals. But despite all this, she somehow managed to stay in power for nearly two years, far longer than her two (male) predecessors.
After she was knocked out of office by a vote of no confidence, she also lost her position as head of her political party, the PSD. For a time, it seemed like she would retire from politics, but she’s since changed her mind and said that being a normal person was “boring.”
As such, she’s given a number of interviews to the media, including a TV sit-down interview yesterday with the Digi24 news channel.
Since it’s a little long, I’ll skip the normal quote attributes. Everything is my translation, so any mistakes and errors are mine. Emphasis (bolding) is also my doing.
Journalist: You also supported the moving of the [Romanian] embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:
Journalist: Was that something that you planned? Because it seemed like it came out of left field. Nobody had really been discussing it before.
Dancila: I said that before that it was my opinion, and I’ve stuck to it. I got the government to write a memo and I read it. It contained feedback from all of the [relevant government] institutions, which is why I then sent it on to the president.
Journalist: You don’t regret doing that, not even today?
Dancila: No, I don’t.
Journalist: Was it a good thing?
Journalist: What did we get [out of it]?
Dancila: It was my opinion, and I reserve the right to change it later if I want to.
J: No, I’m asking what did we, as a country, get from this debate? Not debate, actually, because you didn’t permit any debate on the issue.
Dancila: Hold on a second. I never made a [final] decision.
J: Yes, you did. You made the big announcement [about it].
Dancila: No, the only person who could make that decision was the president. What I did, as prime minister, is I formed an opinion.
And I strongly believed that we needed to support our strategic partner who provides our security. The moment the President of the United States announced that America would be moving its embassy, we started to think about doing the same because we know how important our strategic partner is, and that’s how we made the decision.
J: But why didn’t we [Romania] move the embassy, if it was such a good decision?
Dancila: Because only the president [of Romania] can do that.
J: You do realize that making political decisions is about obtaining a consensus, right?
Dancila: Look, I already told you… consensus? What consensus are you talking about?
J: This is what politics is. It’s about negotiation, consensus, and compromise.
Dancila: But what consensus could I get when I was short seven ministers? Come on! Let’s look at the situation that was going on at the time.
J: But you had a Foreign Minister at the time and he didn’t support your position.
Dancila: Wait. How do you know that?
J: Because he gave a speech saying that. And the official document drawn up by the Foreign Ministry did not come to any conclusions. That’s what he said, that the ministry neither recommended moving the embassy nor not moving it.
Dancila: Hold your horses. Listen, I got every relevant government institution to write a memo about this…
J: And that’s why I’m asking you. How did you come to your decision [to move the embassy]?
Dancila: I already told you how I made my decision. It’s because I think that, for us, the strategic partner who provides our security is very important. And I considered and still continue to consider our transatlantic relationship to be especially important.
J: But you saw that your decision backfired [had negative consequences].
Dancila: What negative consequences? Why would you say that? We still have very good relationships with [Persian] Gulf countries.
J: No, it backfired because, in front of our strategic partner, as you put it, the people in the Romanian government who decide such things were not in agreement with you. And before you even attempted to get them on board, one of them gave a public speech, laying out all the options.
Dancila: That isn’t true. I made my announcement. And as I sit here today, I’m telling you that I’d do the same thing all over again. I believe that our strategic partnership with the United States is very important. And that is why I made that announcement.
J: Did someone in America ask you to do that?
Dancila: No one asked me to do anything.
J: Was it just then that you were trying to please them? That you knew what the Americans wanted and…
Dancila: No. I saw… I mean to say that we had our own sources of information, plus I also watch TV. Yes, even the Prime Minister watches TV.
J: Hopefully, you get your information from more sources than just the TV.
Dancila: I already told you how I made my decision. Listen, I know very well how the [Romanian] government works. I wrote a memo in which the Foreign Minister…
J: You watched TV and said, “We should do whatever the Americans do.”
Dancila: Hang on a minute. Let’s not start spinning tales because the truth always comes out in the end, and these things you are insinuating are not true at all.
J: I’m not insinuating anything. I’m asking you a question.
Dancila: From these questions, I see what you’re up to. You ask me things, and then you don’t give me a chance to respond.
Listen. From the moment the government wrote its memorandum, I sent it to the Foreign Ministry so that I could get input from all of the relevant institutions. But it isn’t the Foreign Ministry’s job to make the [final] decision [about something like this].
All of these things that we were doing were so that we could send the final report to the Romanian president, which is what we did.
I told you my opinion as the prime minister, and I’ll tell you once again right now that if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I believe that every country has the right to determine where its capital is, but for me, the only thing that mattered was the message sent by the United States.
J: And you made your decision based on what you saw on TV.
Dancila: No. I based it on what the United States did. Since we are their strategic partner, we need to stand by the United States. But I see now that you disagree with me and that you think we shouldn’t stand by the United States.
J: And was the outcome [of all of this] good for Romania?
Dancila: Why would it be bad for Romania?
J: But was it good for Romania?
Dancila: But why would it be a bad thing? Yes! Because the United States saw that Romania can still be a “voice” and can still stand by the United States. Why in the world would that ever be a bad thing?
Pants on Fire
In December 2017, American President Trump unilaterally announced (also without discussion) that the United States would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
A week or so later, a vote at the United Nations widely condemned that decision. Romania abstained from the vote.
The very next day, PSD leader Liviu Dragnea started publicly discussing that Romania needed to move its embassy to Jerusalem, too.
In the spring of 2018, PM Dancila traveled to Israel and told Israeli media that her government had written a “memo” [the same one referred to in her interview above] concluding that the Romanian embassy should be moved to Jerusalem but said that her government “still needed to work out a few things” before it could happen.
In the summer of 2018, the U.S. Embassy was, indeed, moved to Jerusalem. Two other countries, Guatemala and Paraguay, followed suit, but Paraguay moved its embassy back to Tel Aviv just a few months later.
Dancila then went to the United States in March 2019 and spoke at an AIPAC conference. It was there, in front of Israel’s staunchest supporters, that she made the big announcement.
It’s worth mentioning that, right before Dancila spoke at that fateful AIPAC conference, the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez (who came to power following a US-supported coup), announced that his country would “extend its diplomatic presence” to Jerusalem.
That was greeted with applause but clearly wasn’t as big of a step as going ahead and moving the official embassy to Jerusalem. Dancila, however, was given a standing ovation after her announcement.
The next day after Dancila made her announcement, the King of Jordan canceled his visit to Romania in protest.
Romanian President Iohannis later complained that Dancila’s announcement had been made without any forewarning or debate/discussion on the matter.
Iohannis also formally blocked any such plans to move the embassy, partly because it goes against established European Union policy on first settling the long-running Israeli-Palestinian dispute (including over Jerusalem) before establishing any EU member embassies in Jerusalem and partly because it goes against multiple United Nations resolutions.
Romania’s embassy was never moved and remains in Tel Aviv to this day.
Dancila clearly lied during her interview yesterday, which is nothing new or even particularly shocking. But it was interesting for me to see her say “our strategic partner”, meaning the United States, so many times during the interview.
She clearly justified her actions solely based on the approval of the United States and not the EU or anyone else. Indeed, she even fired back at the journalist who was questioning her, insinuating that he must be disagreeing with her because he doesn’t support Romania’s “strategic partnership” with America, virtually equating him with being a traitor.
As far as I can tell, this odious phrase “strategic partner” was first coined when U.S. President Bill Clinton visited Romania in 1997. At the time, it was mostly about supporting Romania’s bid to become a member of NATO, which ultimately did happen in 2004 (despite a bit of tension in 1999 regarding NATO’s illegal war against Romania’s neighbor, Yugoslavia).
But even if you assume that NATO is a good thing and not a genocidal, warmongering institution that has murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and Romania’s membership in NATO is also good, despite hundreds of Romanians having lost their lives fighting in useless, unwinnable NATO wars in places like Afghanistan, it’s very curious that anyone truly believes that it is the United States which “protects” Romania or “guarantees Romania’s security.”
Dancila, and the PSD, are not alone in saying this. President Iohannis has said it multiple times as well. Prime Minister Orban (who took over from Dancila) said it on his very first day in office.
If anything, Romania’s security is provided by all of NATO’s members due to Article 5 of the NATO treaty which says that if one member is attacked, all the other members must protect it.
Furthermore, the United States has never done anything specific to “protect” Romania. In fact, Romania hasn’t been attacked by anyone in over 75 years, and the last country to drop bombs on Romania and blow its capital to bits, killing thousands of innocent civilians, was actually the United States.
Unlike in Hungary (1956) or Czechoslovakia (1968), there was never any threat of a Soviet invasion or military clampdown during the Communist era. And since 1989, no country has ever even come close to threatening to attack Romania, much less actually initiating armed hostilities.
But you’d never know this, listening to Romanian politicians from every mainstream party. Whether you like/hate the PSD or like/hate Iohannis or like/hate Dan Barna or any other major politician, the song is always the same:
America loves us.
America protects us.
Well, the American government unequivocally does not love Romania.
As I have extensively documented over the years, the United States has done nothing but abuse and dishonor Romania, killing its citizens with impunity and regularly riding roughshod over Romanian sovereignty and dignity.
Whether it was secretly laughing at the Ceausescus when they visited America in 1973 or the American ambassador to Romania’s sneering remarks last week, the United States has consistently shown that its only goal is loot as much as it can from Romania and give absolutely nothing in return.
Ghost Face Killah
Romania, quite literally, spends millions and millions of dollars every year training, preparing, and buying equipment in order to “be secure.” But secure from what, exactly? And where is this ever-present threat supposed to be coming from?
And more importantly, why is it considered axiomatic, a given, an “established fact,” that Romania is in such dire need of protection against a military invasion?
World War 2 is long over. No one has done any invading or bombing in Europe in a long, long time, excepting NATO, of course.
Not a single president, prime minister, or monarch from any nation, big or small, has ever made even a single military threat against Romania in the last 75 years.
There is literally no one to protect Romania from.
Why can no one in Romania admit that?
Paranoia as Policy
If I, personally, were convinced that someone was out there preparing to murder me for no apparent reason, and I constantly went around asking for “protection” from unnamed “bogeymen,” and I armed myself with guns and knives against this “ever-present threat,” you’d be right in assuming that I was mentally ill and urgently needed some help.
You might even be concerned that I was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
Romania is absolutely no different. Conducting your foreign policy based solely on what your “protector” wants, a protector who isn’t protecting you from anything because there’s nothing to protect you from, is fucking crazy.
But apparently “fucking crazy” is now official Romanian government policy.