April 24, 2008
It had been a privilege of Russian politicians to destabilize Ukraine and Moldova. Romanian president Traian Basescu seems to be joining the club. Mr Basescu was quoted saying that should Ukraine annex some parts of Moldova, Romania should annex some parts of it, too. The Romanian leader also noted that Romania did not find it necessary to sign a border treaty with the Republic of Moldova.
Neither the 46-million strong Ukraine or the nor the 4-million strong Moldva have a long statehood or a long history of nationhood. Both countries became independent in 1991 and have brief historical ancestors as modern states. Moldva has a breakaway region, Transnistria, which is de facto occupied by Russian forces, and has been a hopeless and lawless part of Europe. Both countries are very poor compared to the European average, making them ideal targets for troublemakers. Nationalism easily leads to violence or civil war. A well-established territorial claim is not a sole, but usually necessary pre-requisite of warfare.
Mr. Basescu’s activity on this field is not entirely new. Diplomacy.ro, a Romanian diplomacy portal wrote on 15 February, that that meeting the outgoing Russian president, and besides signing a deal to build a Russian-sourced gas pipeline instead of Nabucco, “Basescu told Putin that Romania wants to get involved in the approach to the Trasndnestr conflict and proposed the expansion of negotiations format by the inclusion of Romania, which takes a direct interest in the issue from the viewpoint of national security. The negotiation format now comprises Russia, Ukraine, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Transdnestr and the Republic of Moldova.” What makes this policy odd is that Mr. Basescu hosted the NATO summit less than two month later. (That was the NATO summit when another nationalist flurry sank tiny Macedonias accession and the plan to make the Western Balkans allied to Europe). Mr Basescu has an alternative to European foreign policy in Kosovo and Serbia, too.
Drawing maps may be a half-innocent play of nationalists. When heads of state start this game backed by NATO and EU membership against fragile but big states, be scared, be very scared. Ukraine is too big to fail. I guess it’s time to raise standards of discipline in the club.
Update: Diplomacy.ro reference corrected – thanks, Kosmopolit!Author : Dániel Antal