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Mesaj din SUA pentru Romnia

A vrea s nu fiu patetic i nici s v panichez. Textul de mai jos este


o scurt conferin - susinut astzi ntr-unul din amfiteatrele
Facultii de Drept - de Wess Mitchell, preedintele CEPA. Detalii
despre autorul conferinei vei gsi la finalul acestui articol, la fel i
despre CEPA. Dar mai important dect autorul sau acronimul CEPA
este textul conferinei n sine. Citii-l cu atenie! Rspndii-l, facei-l
s circule, ncercai s convingei ct mai muli romni s citeasc
aceste rnduri! E mai important ca oricnd! Pentru noi toi, pentru
Romania, pentru viitorul copiilor notri!

Romnia dup Rzboiul din Ucraina: ameninri i


oportuniti
V mulumesc tuturor pentru c ai venit astzi aici i pentru oportunitatea de
a vorbi aici (Universitatea Bucureti, Facultatea de Drept, n.m.). Doresc s
mulumesc bunului meu prieten Don Lothrop, care a fost un sus intor
remarcabil i un mentor al ntregii noastre organizaii la CEPA. Muli dintre
voi nu realizeaz amploarea impactului pe care Don l are pentru ara
dumneavoastr ca ambasador n Statele Unite. Don depune eforturi
formidabile n a educa Guvernul SUA, think-tank-urile i comunitatea
de afaceri cu privire la potenialul Romniei i la importana strategic
a acesteia pentru Statele Unite. Don este unul dintre fondatorii
Iniiativei SUA-Romnia la CEPA, iar munca sa privind Ini iativa
Romnia One a fost o surs de inspiraie pentru noi toi la CEPA, n
misiunea noastr de a reprezenta la Washington singurul think-tank
dedicat promovrii unei Europe Centrale nfloritoare din punct de
vedere economic, stabil geopolitic i liber din punct de vedere
politic, avnd legturi strnse i durabile n Statele Unite.
Astzi vreau s vorbesc despre a doua parte a misiunii CEPA: geopolitica.
n cadrul ultimelor opt luni, rzboiul a revenit n Europa Central i de
Est. Cea mai mare ar din Europa de Est, o naiune suveran de 45 de
milioane de oameni, ale crei granie au fost garantate de Marile
Puteri, a fost supus unei campanii susinute de violen de stat,
destabilizare sistematic i dezmembrare, la comanda Federaiei
Ruse. Aceast ar a fost invadat n mod repetat, cetenii si au fost ucii,
teritoriul su a fost ocupat. Peste 3.000 de persoane au fost ucise.
Frontierele au fost redesenate. Un avion civil a fost dobort. Iar
Occidentul a intrat ntr-un concurs prelungit de geopolitic cu Rusia.
Europa de Est a devenit, nc o dat, n timpul vie ii noastre, o
frontier geopolitic i civilizaional.
Iar toate acestea s-au petrecut ntr-o ar care se afl la cteva ore de unde
ne aflm azi. O ar care mparte o frontier de 600 de kilometri cu Romnia.

De la nceputul acestei crize, politica de securitate a Occidentului a


pus accentul pe Nordul Europei Centrale, pe Polonia i pe Statele
Baltice. Dar vreau s vorbesc n aceast dup-amiaz despre ce
nseamn rzboiul din Ucraina pentru geopolitica sud-estului Europei
i, n special, ce nseamn aceasta pentru ceteni i pentru Romnia
ca stat.
Acesta nu este un subiect despre care discutm foarte des. Pentru cei mai
muli, geopolitica nu este ceva la care noi, cei din Occident sau romnii, n
special, s fi avut destul timp s ne gndim. n ultimii 25 de ani am trit
una dintre cele mai stabile perioade din istoria omenirii. Ani de pace i
prosperitate, liberi de Vechiul Haos al geopoliticii i de rzboiul Marilor
Puteri.
Europa Central a fost simbolul suprem al acelei prosperiti: aceast regiune
s-a bucurat de o siguran, de o acumulare de bogie i de o libertate politic
mai mare dect n orice moment n cei 1.000 de ani de istorie. n ultimul
sfert de secol, Romnia a trecut de la stadiul uneia dintre cele mai
nenorocite i mai asuprite naiuni captive ale Blocului Sovietic la
democraia cea mai de succes din Balcani. PIB-ul a crescut cu 150%. A
atras peste 170 de miliarde de dolari n investiii strine. A atins una
dintre cele mai rapide rate de cretere economic din lumea
occidental. i a trecut prin apte transferuri consecutive, pa nice, ale
puterii n Parlament.
Succesul Romniei a fost posibil prin curajul i ingeniozitatea
cetenilor si. Dar a mai fost posibil i graie unui set de
circumstane geopolitice de excepie i rare din punct de vedere
istoric. Timp de 25 de ani, pentru prima dat n istoria modern,
Romnia nu s-a confruntat cu o ameninare militar venit din partea
unei puteri din afar. Aceasta a avut un acord de securitate cu cea mai
puternic naiune de pe pmnt. i a avut parte de influena
modernizatoare i reformatoare a celui mai mare bloc comercial din lume.
Acest set de condiii a creat un fel de moment locuibil pentru toat Europa
Central, care a permis rilor din aceast regiune s se vindece de rnile
comunismului i s se concentreze pe construirea capitalului uman, a
instituiilor politice i a economiilor deschise ale statelor europene moderne.
Nici o naiune nu merit aceast oportunitate mai mult dect
Romnia, victima statului poliienesc condus de Ceauescu.
Momentul de dup Rzboiul Rece a permis Romniei o suspendare a legilor
normale ale geografiei i ale puterii care au dominat cea mai mare parte a
istoriei sale i care au supus-o pe ea i pe vecinii si la ceea ce Churchill a
numit torturile pe care poeii vechi i teologii le rezerv damna ilor.

ntr-o msur chiar mai mare dect Polonia, Romnia a reuit s uite
de dictatele strategice i diplomatice. A muncit din greu pentru a intra
n NATO. A adus contribuii operaiunilor conduse de SUA n
Afganistan. Dar nu a fost nevoie s-i fac griji cu privire la nivelul de
baz/fundamental al geopoliticii, acela de a asigura statul i teritoriul su
mpotriva unei invazii, a constrngerilor sau mpotriva extinc iei n minile
puterilor ostile. Securitatea teritoriului romnesc, integritatea sistemului su
guvernamental, stabilitatea mediului su pentru atragerea de investiii i
dezvoltare toate aceste condiii prealabile pentru succesul statului romn
modern au fost asigurate n numele su, n mare msur, de puteri din
exterior.
Aceast perioad linitit a istoriei a fost o mare realizare att pentru
Romnia, ct i pentru Occident ca un ntreg, care acum pot srbtori
25 de ani de la tranziia din comunism.
Dar condiiile care au fcut posibil aceast vacan de geopolitic se
apropie de sfrit.
Invazia ruseasc din Ucraina reprezint o provocare direct i foarte violent
la adresa bazelor juridice i teritoriale ale securitii spaiului european.
Aceasta semnaleaz modificri ale peisajului geopolitic din sud-estul Europei
care vor modifica, la rndul lor, profund i permanent, mediul extern al
Romniei n moduri care vor pune sub semnul ntrebrii succesul su continuu
ca stat european democratic n curs de dezvoltare.
Pentru prima dat n aceast generaie, Romnia are un prdtor n
ecosistemul su. Sub conducerea lui Vladimir Putin, Rusia a reaprut
ca un stat nemulumit din punct de vedere teritorial, capabil militar i
ideologic antioccidental, cu capacitile i inteniile de a rsturna
soluionarea post-1991 n vecintatea sa. Rzboiul din Ucraina arat
c Rusia este dispus s joace acest rol, folosind nu doar tactici de
subversiune, luare de mit i intimidare, ci i prin utilizarea for ei
militare mpotriva vecinilor si.
n multe feluri, Vladimir Putin este deja n rzboi cu Occidentul i c tig. Nu a
ntmpinat nimic n rspunsul naiunilor occidentale care s-l descurajeze s
foloseasc aceleai tehnici pentru a teroriza, a destabiliza i a rearanja alte
state de-a lungul frontierei de est a Europei.
Renaterea Rusiei vine ntr-un moment de slbiciune pentru Occident,
atunci cnd Pax Occidentalis nseamn din ce n ce mai puin pentru
Romnia. SUA sunt un aliat prin tratat al Romniei; sunt i vor rmne
ferm angajate n aprarea sa. Dar natura influenei Americii n Europa
Central se schimb: bugetele noastre de aprare sunt n scdere,
presiunile strategice de gestionare a mai multor regiuni la nivel
mondial sunt n cretere i, teoretic, pe orice plan, iar influen a
Americii n sud-estul Europei este nlocuit de alte puteri.

n acelai timp, motoarele tradiionale de integrare occidental ncetinesc.


Criza din Ucraina a demonstrat limitele capacitii UE de a exporta modelul su
de guvernare n spaiile n litigiu mpotriva voinei unei Rusii determinate fr
a poseda elementele tradiionale ale puterii geopolitice. Agenda de reforme a
stagnat n multe ri din UE. Populismul i naionalismul sunt n cretere
n sud-estul Europei, iar euroscepticismul este n cre tere.
Aceste evenimente nu se petrec n vid. Trim ntr-o perioad de transformri
globale extraordinare. Puterile n ascensiune i cele revizioniste testeaz
capacitatea de rezisten a ordinii occidentale. Forme hibride de
autoritarism sunt n cretere. Tacticile beligerante ale lui Vladimir
Putin n Crimeea sunt reflectate de agresiunea maritim a Chinei n
Marea Chinei de Sud. Niciodat n-a mai fost astfel contestat puterea
Americii, i nici rivalii att de numeroi. Bazele lumii de dup Rzboiul
Rece se cutremur/se zdruncin n jurul nostru.
Acum, o mulime de romni ar putea asculta toate acestea i ar putea spune:
Sigur, lucrurile par instabile. Ucraina este o tragedie. UE este o harababur.
SUA au problemele lor din Asia. Dar Romnia este n NATO. Avem articolul 5.
Avem trupe americane pe teritoriul romnesc. Avem o economie de succes i
un sector energetic n plin expansiune. Acum nu este momentul s-i
perturbm pe investitori cu geopolitica. Vom crete costurile aprrii cu cteva
procente, dar, n cele din urm, criza va disprea i ne vom putea ntoarce la
afacerile noastre.
Aceasta este o imagine tentant, dar e iluzorie. Cred c, n anii urmtori,
geopolitica de mod veche va ncepe s afecteze Romnia n moduri
care ar putea prezenta probleme grave pentru dezvoltarea sa
economic i politic intern. Bazndu-m pe tendinele regionale
actuale, vd cinci riscuri emergente cu care este probabil ca Romnia
s se confrunte:
Riscul unei frontiere militare reactivate pe frontul estic: avansarea
continu a Rusiei n sudul Ucrainei pune o presiune direct asupra Romniei.
n anii urmtori, Romnia trebuie s se atepte la frecvente nclcri ale
spaiului su aerian din partea forelor ruse, la hruire maritim a navelor i
platformelor din Zona Economic Exclusiv a Romniei i la o mai mare
agitaie n Republica Moldova i Transnistria.
Riscul de a remilitariza Marea Neagr:
Anexarea Crimeii pune Rusia n poziia de a perturba dezvoltarea energetic
maritim i economic a Romniei. Patruzeci de procente din resursele
energetice din ZEE a Romniei fac acum obiectul unei dispute juridice
declanate de Rusia, pe baza revendicrilor vechii frontiere ucrainene. Pn i
o atacare fr succes a hotrrii din 2009 a Curii Internaionale de Justi ie ar
putea schimba climatul de risc pentru dezvoltarea sectorului energetic n
spaiul Mrii Negre i s mpiedice planurile Romniei pentru independen a
energetic pn n 2020.

Riscul de incertitudine economic regional:


Investitorii nu agreeaz rzboaiele. Comunitatea European a prosperat din
punct de vedere economic, deoarece dou decenii de stabilitate au fcut din
aceasta un loc sigur n rndul pieelor globale emergente. Dac se pierde
aceast stabilitate, vei pierde mai mult din baza necesar creterii n viitor
dect v dai seama. Este exact ceea ce un raport recent al BERD (Banca
European pentru Reconstrucie i Dezvoltare) a avertizat c se va ntmpla n
CE n cazul n care criza din Ucraina se va ntinde pe durata unui al doilea an.
n al patrulea rnd, riscul naionalismului regional
resuscitat/renviat:
Pentru prima dat dup 1940, Rzboiul din Ucraina a reintrodus n CEE
revizionismul etnic teritorial. Naionalitii iredentiti din Transnistria pn n
Transcarpatia i n Transilvania au luat act de anexarea Crimeii i sunt
ncurajai n mod activ de Vladimir Putin i Alexandr Dughin.
Riscul de cooptare prin corupie:
Romnia este un stat cmp de lupt al Balcanilor. Intensificarea concuren ei
geopolitice crete atractivitatea sa ca int pentru puteri strine, care s-ar
putea folosi de corupia din sistemul su politic ca de o bre n securitatea
naional.
n toate direciile n jurul Romniei, ordinea Euro-Atlantic este n
retragere. La est, o naiune suveran a fost invadat pentru a
mpiedica apropierea acesteia de UE; la vest, liderul ales n mod
democratic n Ungaria a declarat moartea democraiei liberale; la sud,
un stat membru NATO/UE a fost cooptat de bani ruse ti i de propria
guvernare defectuoas ntr-o asemenea msur nct este pe punctul
de deveni un stat virtual capturat.
n acest context, Romnia nu mai poate presupune c condiiile
externe benigne, care i-au permis s prospere n ultimii 25 de ani, vor
continua la nesfrit.
Ea nu mai poate presupune c nu se va confrunta cu o amenin are extern a
intereselor sale sau chiar a teritoriului propriu; c un aliat din exterior va reu i
s ofere stabilitatea mediului nconjurtor; sau c puteri din afar nu vor folosi
vulnerabilitile Romniei ca arme strategice mpotriva sa.
Acestea sunt riscuri de care Romnia nu a trebuit s i fac griji n mod
semnificativ timp o lung perioad a vieii noastre. n stadiul su actual de
tranziie, pericolul pe care l prezint pentru Romnia este frnarea
dezvoltrii pericolul c un mediu extern neospitalier va ncetini sau
va mpiedica creterea economic ori consolidarea politic a Romniei
ntr-un moment de rscruce n evoluia sa postcomunist.
Dac acest lucru sun exagerat, luai n consideraie Romnia interbelic:
o ar mare, cu resurse naturale din belug, care a fost cel mai mare
beneficiar al Tratatului post-1919 i unul dintre cei mai mari
productori de petrol din lume, dup SUA. Despre Constitu ia

Romniei din 1923 s-a susinut c este un model de idealuri


democratice liberale. n termen de o generaie, acest prim
experiment al democraiei romneti a euat. Mediul strategic s-a
schimbat. Liderii romni au sustras resurse de stat i au pierdut ncrederea
poporului. Investitorii din Vest au disprut. Puteri revizioniste au umplut vidul
astfel creat. Romnii au renunat la democraie. Capturarea statului a survenit
rapid, att din exterior, ct i din interior.
Nu aceasta va fi soarta Romniei din vremurile noastre. Nu suntem n
1930, iar Romnia modern a construit baze solide pentru un stat de
succes. Dar, de asemenea, Romnia nu va putea s se comporte
strategic ca i cum am fi nc la nceputul anilor 2000. mprejurimile
geopolitice se schimb, iar Romnia va trebui s se adapteze dac
dorete s reueasc.
ntr-o msur mai mare dect n trecut, Romnia va trebui s joace un rol
direct n asigurarea condiiilor externe care i garanteaz succesul
economic i politic. Acestea includ premisele strategice fundamentale
ale statului romn: limitarea prezenei militare ruseti la est de Nipru;
meninerea Mrii Negre ca spaiu economic deschis; nfrnarea
revizionismului din bazinul dunrean; meninerea unei alternative
strategice vestice n PSS.
Navigarea n acest nou mediu va necesita cel puin trei lucruri din partea
Romniei, lucruri despre care nu era cazul s discutm n primele etape ale
erei post-Rzboi Rece.
n primul rnd, Romnia va trebui s aib capacitatea fizic de a modela
mediul su extern.
Condiia prealabil a oricrei strategii viitoare romne ti este un
efectiv militar capabil, modern. Astzi, Armata romn este foarte
respectat n Romnia i n Statele Unite ale Americii. Cu toate acestea, ea
reflect, de asemenea, realitile strategice de dup Rzboiul Rece: bugete
mici, o preocupare cu misiuni n alte zone, cum ar fi ISAF, i o prioritizare a
personalului n concordan cu aptitudinile lui.
Unele fore din Romnia de azi folosesc acelai echipament din
1988, cnd eu eram n clasa a cincea i Romnia era nc semnatar a
Tratatului de la Varovia.
Programul de modernizare pe care Romnia l-a nceput n 2007 a stagnat. Din
85 de achiziii planificate, Armata romn a finalizat 15.
Acest lucru ar fi justificabil pentru un stat mic. Dar Romnia nu este
un stat mic; nu este Bulgaria sau Ungaria.
Romnia este al doilea cel mai mare stat NATO de frontier, ancora flancului
de sud-est al NATO i, alturi de Polonia, pivotul strategiei Vestului pentru
toat aceast regiune.
Romnia trebuie s-i reevalueze prioritile de modernizare
militar n lumina peisajului conflictului din Ucraina. Este nevoie de

reform i modernizare cuprinztoare, similar cu ceea ce Polonia a


nceput cu un deceniu n urm.
Se cer cheltuieli reduse cu personalul i punerea accentului pe aptitudinile
Armatei; mai puin accent pus pe sisteme exotice de arme i mai mult accent
pus pe soluii de area denial (srm ghimpat, mine etc.) pentru a consolida
efortul Europei de Sud-Est mpotriva ameninrilor asimetrice n stilul Crimeii.
n al doilea rnd, Romnia are nevoie de o strategie pentru
transformarea succesului autoritii sale naionale n autoritate
regional.
Romnia este cel mai mare aliat al SUA ntr-un spaiu de 2.400 km,
ntre Polonia i Israel. Este singura putere din zon care are mrimea,
potenialul latent i credibilitatea necesare pentru a proiecta
stabilitate n sud-estul Europei.
Strategia Romniei pentru a face acest lucru ar trebui s se axeze
pe construirea de zone cu potenial de avantaj naional n domeniul
securitii militare, al energiei i al guvernrii democratice.
Oportunitatea imediat de autoritate este n energie. Pn n anul
2020, Romnia ar putea produce mai mult gaz dect consum ea i
Republica Moldova mpreun. Aceasta este o veste bun pentru CE, dar
Romniei i lipsete o strategie pe termen lung pentru exploatarea n mod
sistematic a acestei oportuniti.
O strategie energetic regional romneasc ar depi actuala
ncurajare a produciei offshore i onshore. Ar fi nevoie de msuri
luate acum pentru a atinge un nivel de produc ie durabil i exportabil
la nivel regional. Aceasta ar aborda vulnerabilitile din infrastructur, ar
accelera liberalizarea pieei energetice, ar crea responsabilitate din partea
statului i ar crea obstacole n calea achiziiei de active strategice de ctre
Rusia i China.
n al treilea rnd, Romnia trebuie s reueasc ca democraie. Nu
doar s reueasc, ci s reueasc n mod vizibil.
Securitatea naional i guvernarea sunt strns legate. Acest lucru
este valabil n toate rile inclusiv n Statele Unite ale Americii.
Diferena n cazul Romniei este c mizele sunt mai mari aici. Tri i
ntr-un mediu ostil. Tocmai pentru c jucai un rol crucial n succesul
Occidentului n aceast regiune suntei o int pentru for ele din
exterior fie ea Rusia sau China care ar folosi procesul neterminat
al tranziiei voastre democratice mpotriva voastr. Sistemul vostru
imunitar trebuie s fie chiar mai puternic dect cel al altor state.
Capacitatea Romniei de a depi corupia este indisolubil legat de
succesul sau de eecul nu doar ca democraie, ci ca stat. Pretindei
conductorilor dumneavoastr o guvernare mai bun sli de judecat
transparente, urmrirea penal n caz de mit, insistarea asupra
integritii i transparenei n spaiul public este unul dintre cele mai
patriotice lucruri pe care romnii de rnd le pot face.
Tem comun n toate aceste domenii este conducerea.

Vladimir Putin i Viktor Orban au invocat diferite versiuni ale aceleea i teze:
ordinea democratic pe care am construit-o n Europa Central dup 1989 a
fost temporar c aceasta poate fi contestat i chiar nlocuit dac suntem
dispui s nclcm regulile, fie c se utilizeaz bani murdari, tancuri sau urne
de vot.
Succesul Romniei este contra-dovada esenial a acestei teze.
Romnia este o dovad c idealurile i instituiile occidentale
funcioneaz ntr-un moment din istorie n care avem nevoie cu
disperare de exemple de succes ale Occidentului la nivel mondial.
Gndii-v pentru o clip la cum ar putea arta viitorul Romniei dac
aceasta ar atinge potenialul su maxim: al 6-lea stat ca mrime din
Europa, cu 20 de milioane de oameni, i a treia cea mai mare rezerv
de gaze n UE, toate acestea ca o democraie consolidat n inima sudestului Europei, cu instituii stabile, un standard de trai n cre tere,
investiii stabile din Vest i un sector energetic n plin expansiune.
Aceasta este o Romnie cu viziune transatlantic, care ar fi un exemplu
puternic de stabilitate, de soluii de energie i democraie n faa vecinilor si.
Aceasta este Romnia de care are nevoie Occidentul, din punct de
vedere strategic, n aceste vremuri. Ne ateapt n anii urmtori o
competiie geopolitic i ideologic global mai crncen dect ne-am
fi putut imagina oricare dintre noi n urm cu 25 de ani. America va
avea nevoie de aliai maturi care sunt capabili s ofere securitate regiunii lor i
s modeleze succesul ordinii Vestice. Angajamentul nostru strategic i
economic va fi cu att mai mare pentru aliaii care reuesc cel mai mult n
aceste domenii. Cu ct Romnia va avea mai mult succes, cu att mai mult
Statele Unite vor fi prezente n ara i n regiunea dumneavoastr.
Despre Romnia interbelic s-a spus c a reprezentat o stare de
necesitate. Aceasta este valabil i pentru Romnia de astzi. Sunte i
ntr-o stare de necesitate pentru America i pentru aliana
occidental. Au fost momente n istorie cnd cel mai sigur lucru pentru
Romnia a fost s pstreze un profil sczut i s acioneze ca un stat
mai mic (nensemnat) dect n realitate. Acum nu ne aflm ntr-unul din
acele momente. Acesta este un moment n care romnii trebuie s fie
subiecte mai degrab dect obiecte ale istoriei. Un moment n care s
conducei n regiunea dvs. n guvernare, securitate i energie n
ciuda faptului c totul n jurul vostru se mic n direc ia opus.
Eu cred c Romnia este pregtit pentru acest moment. Dispune i de
instituii mai stabile, de resurse financiare mai mari i de aliai mai
buni dect dispunea statul romn n perioada interbelic. Ultimii 25 de
ani au oferit toate ingredientele necesare succesului dumneavoastr.
Tot ceea ce avei nevoie acum este ncrederea. Alegerea este a
dumneavoastr, n cele din urm. Dar Occidentul are nevoie de
Romnia pentru a reui, pentru viitorul vostru i pentru viitorul
nostru.

V mulumesc.
Nota: sublinierile mi aparin. Traducerea din textul originar a fost realizat n
timp record cu sprijinul unor colaboratori crora in s le mul umesc i pe
aceast cale. mi asum eu, ns, n cazul n care apar mici stngcii de
exprimare, orice posibil greeal. Pentru conformitate i confruntare cu textul
originar voi posta la final i textul n limba englez.

Despre autor: A. Wess Mitchell is President and Co-Founder of the Center for
European Policy Analysis (CEPA), a U.S. foreign policy institute dedicated to
the study of Central Europe. At CEPA, he leads in the strategic direction of the
institute, the intellectual and financial development of major programs, and
the executive management of Center resources and staff. In helping to form
CEPA, Mitchell has sought to reinforce Central Europes position in U.S. global
strategy and strengthen Americas diplomatic, commercial and security
relationships with key allies in the region.
Mitchell co-founded CEPA in 2005 with its Chairman Larry Hirsch, and has
played a critical role in the institutes formulation and growth as a successful
501(c)(3) startup organization. As President and CEO, he has helped to build
CEPA into the largest concentration of expertise on the Central European
region in the United States, establishing effective strategic partnerships with
transatlantic governments and universities and leading capital growth
campaigns that have attracted funding from major corporate, foundation, and
private sponsors. Under his tenure, CEPA has become one of Washingtons
fastest growing think tanks with a wide following in senior policy circles in
Europe and the United States.
Mitchell is a frequent public commentator whose articles and interviews have
appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, International Herald
Tribune, Washington Post, BBC, Gazeta Wyborcza, Der Spiegel, Harpers
Weekly, American Interest, National Inter-est, National Review, Orbis, and
Internationale Politik, among others. He is a frequent consultant to U.S. and
European governments, and has given briefings and lectures at the Central
Intelligence Agency, U.S. State Department, Johns Hopkins SAIS University,
Har-vard, UC-Berkley and elsewhere. During the 2012 U.S. Presidential
elections, he worked for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, serving on
both the National Security Transition Team and the European Policy Working
Group.
A Texas native, Mitchell began his career as an intern in the office of
Congressman Larry Combest. He holds a Masters Degree from Georgetown
Universitys Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, where he was
awarded the 2004 Hopper Award for his work on American grand strategy. He
has completed research for a doctoral dissertation, has lived and studied in
England and Germany, and is member of the editorial board of International
Politics Reviews in London. He is a member of the CEPA Board of Directors
and serves on the advisory councils of the Richard G. Lugar Institute of the
German Marshall Fund, the Slovak Atlantic Commission, the Prague Center for
Transatlantic Relations, Atlantische Initiative Berlin, and the Alexander
Hamilton Society of Washington. He is currently completing his second book,

examining U.S. global alliances and 21st Century geopolitics, with Professor
Jakub Grygiel of Johns Hopkins University SAIS.
Textul conferinei n limba englez. Autor: Wess Mitchell
Romania after the Ukraine War: Threats and Opportunities
Thank you all for coming today and for the opportunity to speak here at
Universitatea Bucuresti, Facultatea de Drept. I especially want to thank my
good friend Don Lothrop, whos been an outstanding supporter and mentor of
our entire organization at CEPA. Many of you here may not realize the extent
of the impact that Don is achieving as an ambassador at large for your country
in the United States. Don is making a tremendous difference in Washington in
educating the U.S. government, think-tanks and business community on
Romanias potential and its strategic importance to the United States. Don is a
founding father of our U.S.-Romania Initiative at CEPA, and his work on the
Romania One Initiative has been an inspiration to all of us at CEPA in our
mission as Washingtons only think-tank dedicated to promoting an
economically vibrant, geopolitically stable and politically free Central Europe
with close and enduring ties to the United States.
Today I want to talk about the second part of CEPAs mission statement:
geopolitics.
Within the course of the past 8 months, war has returned to Central and
Eastern Europe. The largest country in Eastern Europea sovereign nation of
45 million people whose borders were guaranteed by the Great Powershas
been subjected to a sustained campaign of state violence, systematic
destabilization and dismemberment at the hands of the Russian Federation.
This country has been repeatedly invaded, its citizens have been murdered, its
territory has been occupied. More than 3,000 people have been killed. Borders
have been redrawn. A civilian airliner has been shot down. And the West has
entered into a prolonged geopolitical contest with Russia. Eastern Europe has
once again in our lifetimes become a reactivated geopolitical and civilizational
frontier.
And all of this has happened in a country that is a few hours drive from where
we sit here today. A country that shares a 600-kilometer border with Romania.
Since this crisis began, most of the focus in Western security policy has been
on North Central Europe, on Poland and the Baltic States. But I want to talk
this afternoon about what the Ukraine war means for the geopolitics of
southeastern Europe and in particular what it means for the people and state
of Romania.
This is not a topic we discuss very often. For most of our lifetimes, geopolitics
is not something that we in the West or Romanians in particular have not had
to think very much about. For 25 years now, we have lived through one of the
most stable and transformative periods in human history. Fat years, years of
peace and prosperity, free from the Old Chaos of geopolitics and Great Power
war.

Central Europe has been the ultimate symbol of that prosperity: this region
has enjoyed greater safety, wealth accumulation and political freedom than at
any point in 1,000 years of history. In the past quarter century, Romania has
gone from being one of the most wretched and oppressed of the captive
nations of the Soviet Bloc to the most successful democracy in the Balkans. Its
GDP has increased by 150 percent. Its attracted more than 170 billion dollars
in foreign investment. Its acheived some of the fastest economic growth rates
in the Western world. And its gone through 7 consecutive, peaceful,
parliamentary transfers of power.
Romanias success was made possible by the courage and ingenuity of its
people. But it was also made possible by an exceptional and historically rare
set of geopolitical circumstances. For 25 years now, Romania has, for the first
time in modern history, not faced a military threat from an outside power. It
has had a security covenant with the most powerful nation on earth. And it
has had the modernizing and reforming influence of the worlds largest trade
bloc.
This set of conditions has created a kind of goldilocks moment for all of
Central Europe that has allowed the countries of this region to heal from the
wounds of Communism and focus on building up the human capital, political
institutions and open economies of modern European states. No nation
deserved this opportunity more than Romania, the victims of the Ceasescu
police state.
What the post-Cold War moment gave to Romania was a suspension of the
normal laws of geography and power that have dominated most of its history
that have subjected it and its neighbors to what Churchill called the tortures
which ancient poets and theologians reserved for the damned.
To an even greater extent than Poland, Romania has been able to forget about
the dictates of strategy and statecraft. Its worked hard to get into NATO. It
made contributions to U.S.-led effort in Afghanistan. But it has not had to
worry about geopolitics at the most fundamental level, of having to secure the
state and its territory against invasion, coercion or extinction at the hands of
hostile powers. The security of Romanian territory, the integrity of its
governmental system, the stability of its environment for attracting investment
and growthall of these preconditions for the success of the modern
Romanian state have been provided for Romania on its behalf, largely by
outside powers.
This tranquil period of history has been a great accomplishment for Romania
and for the West as a whole that is worth celebrating at the 25th anniversary
of the transition from Communism.
But the conditions that made this vacation from geopolitics possible are
ending.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine represents a direct and very violent challenge
to the legal and territorial foundations of the European security order. It
signals changes to the SEE geopolitical landscape that will profoundly and

permanently alter Romanias external environment in ways that will challenge


its continued success as an emerging democratic European state.
For the first time in a generation, Romania has a predator in its ecosystem.
Under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, Russia has reemerged as a territorially
unsatisfied, militarily capable, and ideologically anti-Western state with the
capabilities and intentions to overturn the post-1991 settlement in its
neighborhood. The Ukraine war shows that Russia is willing to play this role
using not only subversion, bribery and intimidation but by using military force
against its neighbors.
In many ways, Vladimir Putin is already at war with the West, and he is
winning. He has encountered nothing in the responses of Western nations that
would dissuade him from using the same techniques to terrorize, destabilize
and rearrange other states up and down the length of Europes eastern
frontier.
Russias resurgence comes at a moment of weakness for the West when the
Pax Occidentalis is wearing thin in Romanias neighborhood. The United States
is a treaty ally of Romania that is and will remain staunchly committed to its
defense. But the nature of Americas influence in Central Europe is changing:
our defense budgets are shrinking, the strategic pressures of managing
multiple global regions are increasing, and by virtually any measure, Americas
influence in SEE is being supplanted by other powers.
At the same time, the traditional motors of Western integration are slowing.
The Ukraine crisis showed the limits of the EUs ability to export its model of
governance in contested spaces against the will of a determined Russia
without possessing the traditional elements of geopolitical power. Inside the
EU, the reform agenda has stalled in many EU countries. Populism and
nationalism are on the rise in SEE and euroskepticism is growing.
This is not happening in a vacuum. We live in a time of extraordinary global
upheaval. Rising and revisionist powers are testing the resiliency of the
Western-led international order on every frontier. Hybrid forms of
authoritarianism are on the rise. Vladimir Putins strong-arm tactics in Crimea
are mirrored by Chinese maritime aggression in the South China Sea.
Americas power has never been stretched thinner or our challengers more
numerous. The foundations of the post-Cold War World are shaking all around
us.
Now a lot of Romanians might listen to all of this and say: Sure, things seem
unstable. Ukraine is a tragedy. The EU is a mess. The US has its problems in
Asia. But Romania is in NATO. Weve got article 5. Weve got U.S. troops on
Romanian soil. We have a successful economy and a booming energy sector.
Now is not a time to upset investors with talk of geopolitics. Well raise
defense spending a few decimal points but eventually the crisis will fade and
we can go back to business as usual.
This is a tempting view. But its misleading. In the years ahead, I believe that
old-fashioned geopolitics will begin to intrude on Romania in ways that could

present grave challenges for its internal economic and political development.
Based on current regional trends, I see 5 emerging risks that Romania is likely
to face:
The risk of a re-activated Eastern military frontier: Russias continued
advance on southern Ukraine places direct pressure on Romania. In the years
ahead, Romania should expect more frequent Russian violations of its
airspace, more Russian maritime harassment of ships and rigs in the
Romanian EEZ, and greater agitation in Moldova and Transnistria.
The risk of a re-militarized Black Sea: The annexation of Crimea puts Russia
in a position to disrupt Romanian maritime energy and economic development.
Forty percent of the energy resources in the Romanian EEZ are now subject to
legal dispute by Russia on the basis of the old Ukrainian boundary claims.
Even an unsuccessful challenge to the 2009 ICJ ruling could change the risk
climate for Romanian Black Sea energy development and impede Romanias
plans for energy independence by 2020.
The risk of regional economic uncertainty: Investors dont like wars. CE has
thrived economically because 2 decades of stability have made it a safe haven
among global emerging markets. Lose that stability, and you lose more of the
basis for your future growth than you realize. This is exactly what a recent
EBRD report has warned will happen in CE if the crisis in Ukraine stretches into
a second year.
Fourth, the risk of resurrected regional nationalism: The Ukraine war
reintroduced ethnic-based territorial revisionism to CEE for the first time since
the 1940s. Irredentist nationalists from Transnistria to Transcarpathia and
Transylvania took note of Crimea and are being actively encouraged by
Vladimir Putin and Alexandr Dughin.
The risk of co-optation through corruption: Romania is a battleground state
of the Balkans. The intensification of geopolitical competition increases its
attractiveness as a target for foreign powers who would use corruption in its
political system as a national-security liability.
In every direction around Romania, the Euro-Atlantic order is in retreat. To
your east, a sovereign nation has been invaded to prevent it from moving
closer to the EU; To your West the democratically elected leader of Hungary
has declared the death of liberal democracy; to your south, a fellow NATO/EU
member state has been co-opted by Russian money and its own misgoverance
to such an extent that it is on the verge of virtual state capture.
In this setting, Romania can no longer assume that the benign external
conditions that allowed it to prosper for the past 25 years will continue
indefinitely. It can no longer assume that it will not face an external threat to
its interests or even to its own territory; that a friendly outside power will be
able to ensure the stability in Romanias surrounding environment; or that
unfriendly outside powers will not use its vulnerabilities as strategic weapons
against it.

These are not risks that Romania has had to worry about in any meaningful
way for most of our lifetimes. The danger that they present to Romania at its
current stage of transition is the danger of arrested developmentthe danger
that an inhospitable external environment will slow or impede Romanian
economic growth or political consolidation just as it is arriving at a
breakthrough moment in its post-Communist development.
If this sounds far-fetched, consider Interwar Romania: A large country with
enormous natural resources that was the biggest winner from the post-1919
settlement and one of the worlds largest oil producers behind the US. The
1923 Romanian constitution was said to be a model of liberal democratic
ideals. Within a generation, this 1st experiment in Romanian democracy had
failed. The strategic environment shifted. Romanian leaders purloined state
resources and lost the trust of the people. Western patrons vanished.
Revisionist powers filled the vacuum. Romanians gave up on democracy. State
capture came swiftly, from without and from within.
That will not be the fate of Romania in our time. This is not the 1930s, and
modern Romania has built strong foundations for a successful state. But
Romania also wont be able to behave strategically as if its still the early
2000s. Your geopolitical surroundings are changing, and Romania will need to
adapt if it wants to succeed.
To a greater extent than in the past, Romania will have to play a direct role in
ensuring the external conditions that provide for its economic and political
success. This includes the fundamental strategic pre-requisites of the
Romanian state: limiting Russian military presence east of the Dnieper;
maintaining the Black Sea as an open economic space; containing ethnic
revisionism in the Danubian Basin; and retaining an active Western strategic
alternative in the PSS.
Navigating this new environment will require at least 3 things of Romania that
it didnt have to worry about in earlier stages of the post-Cold War era.
First, Romania will have to have the physical ability to shape its external
environment.
A capable, modern military is the precondition to any future Romanian
strategy. The Romanian military today is widely respected in both Romania
and the United States. However, it also reflects post-Cold War strategic
realities: Small budgets, a preoccupation with out-of-area missions like ISAF
and a prioritization of personnel over capabilities.
Some Romanian forces today use the same equipment they had in 1988,
when I was in the fifth grade and Romania was in the Warsaw Pact. The
modernization program that Romania began in 2007 has stalled. Out of 85
planned acquisitions, the Romanian military has completed 15.
This would be justifiable for a small state. But Romania is not a small state;
it is not Bulgaria or Hungary. Romania is the second largest NATO frontline
state, the anchor of NATOs southeastern flank and alongside Poland, the
linchpin of Western strategy for this entire region.

Romania needs to reevaluate the priorities of its military modernization in


light of the post-Ukraine war landscape. Comprehensive reform and
modernization is needed similar to what Poland began a decade ago. Less
spending on personnel and more on capabilities, less focus on exotic weapons
systems and more practical area denial capabilities to strengthen SEE
deterrence against Crimea-style asymmetric threats.
Second, Romania needs a strategy for translating its national success into
regional leadership.
Romania is the largest U.S. ally for 1,500 miles between Poland and Israel. It
is the only local power that has the size, latent potential and credibility to
project stability in southeastern Europe.
Romanian strategy for doing this should be to build up areas of potential
national advantage in military security, energy, and democratic governance.
The most immediate leadership opportunity is in energy. By the year 2020,
Romania is on track to be producing more gas than it and Moldova consume
together. This is good news for CE, but Romania lacks a long-term strategy for
systematically exploiting this opportunity.
A Romanian regional energy strategy would go beyond the current focus on
encouraging offshore and onshore production. It would take steps now to
make production sustainable and exportable at a regional level. It would
address vulnerabilities in infrastructure, accelerate liberalization of the energy
market, bring accountability to state-owned distribution facilities and create
barriers to Russian and Chinese acquisition of strategic assets.
Third, Romania must succeed as a democracy. Not just succeedbut succeed
conspicuously.
National security and governance are intimately linked. This is true in all
countries including the United States.
The difference for Romania is that the stakes here are higher. You live in a
hostile environment. Precisely because you are crucial to the Wests success in
this region you are more of a target for outside forceswhether its Russia or
Chinawho would use the unfinished business of your democratic transition
against you. Your immune system has to be even stronger than other states.
Romanias ability to overcome corruption is inextricably linked to your
success or failure not just as a democracy but as a state. Asking your leaders
for better governancefor cleaner courts, prosecuting bribes, insisting on
integrity and transparency in the public spaceis one of the most patriotic
thing that everyday Romanians can do.
The common theme in all of these areas is leadership.
Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orban have both put forward different versions of the
same thesis: that the democratic order we built in Central Europe after 1989

was temporarythat it can be challenged and even replaced if one is willing to


bend the rules, whether its by using dirty money or tanks or ballot boxes.
The success of Romania is the ultimate counterproof to that thesis. Romania is
proof that Western ideals and institutions work at a moment in history when
we desperately need examples of the Western success story world-wide.
Think for a moment what the future could look like if Romania achieves its full
potential: The 6th largest country in Europe with 20 million people and the
third largest gas reserve in the EU as a consolidated democracy in the heart of
SEE, with stable institutions, a rising standard of living, steady Western
investment and a booming energy sector. This is a strong, Atlanticist Romania
that would radiate stability, energy solutions and democracy to its neighbors.
This is the Romania that the West needs strategically in our time. The years
ahead are likely to see greater global geopolitical and ideological competition
than any of us could have imagined 25 years ago. America will need mature
allies that are capable of anchoring their regions in security and modeling the
success of the Western order. Our strategic and economic commitment will be
greatest to those allies that succeed most in these areas. The more you
succeed in Romania, the more the United States will be present in your
country and your region.
It was said of Interwar Romania that it was a European state of necessity.
That is true of Romania today. You are a state of necessity for America and
the Western alliance. There have been times in Romanias history when the
safest thing for Romania to do was keep a low profile and act like a smaller
state than you actually were. This is not one of those moments. This is a
moment when Romanians need to be subjects rather than objects of history. A
moment to lead in your regionin governance, security and energydespite
the fact that everything around you is moving in the opposite direction.
I believe that Romania is ready for this moment. You have steadier
institutions, greater wealth and better allies than the Romanian state of the
Interwar Period. The past 25 years have provided all of the ingredients for
your success. All you need is confidence. The choice is ultimately yours. But
the West needs Romania to succeed, for your future and for ours. Thank you.