Cementing the Alliance: Romania’s Parliament Allows the Deployment of U.S. Forces in the Country 16

Yesterday May 2, 2007, the Romanian Parliament adopted with a comfortable majority a resolution allowing for the stationing of US troops in the country. U.S. forces will use “Mihail Kogalniceanu” air base as well as several Romanian training ranges such as: Babadag, Smardan and Cincu. These troop redeployments are a part of the new basing strategy by the Pentagon which will put U.S. forces near to the theatres of operations of Afghanistan and Iraq, and will allow for far more flexible deployments for American troops around the world. The importance of these bases for U.S operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan is revealed by the forward operating bases status given to them by the Pentagon.

The factors that have weighed heavily in favour of this redeployment are the geographical proximity of Romania to the theatres of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fact that Romania proved to be a reliable ally of the United States by giving its support in the War on Terror. Furthermore basing U.S. forces in Romania strengthens the position of the United States in its relations with Russia, practically confirming U.S. victory in the Cold War. The United States has now access to the best port facility on the Black Sea (the air force base at “Mihail Kogalniceanu” is actually near the outskirts of the port city of Constanta) and is pretty certain that the U.S. will extend its political as well as military reach in the Black Sea region. Romania is not only country in the region to be receiving U.S. bases and troops on its territory – Bulgaria will also play host to such bases. These redeployments of U.S. forces to South Eastern Europe and the shores of the Black Sea are radically transforming the security and political dynamics of this region.

Romania has only to gain from such a deployment of U.S. military strength. Although the new bases will not be as large as the bases used by American forces in the Cold War in Western and Central Europe, they will be enough to ensure the security of Romania. Make no mistake about this: Romania has actively been searching, in the last years at least, to ally itself with the U.S. and the basing of American forces in the country represents a major foreign policy success. Romania required the presence of U.S. forces in order to protect itself from the possible revival of Russian influence and also in order to gain a higher profile in a region marked by instability, petty rivalries and frozen conflicts. Moreover Romania will be now be protected from possible threats coming from the Middle East in the form NBC weapons and their means of delivery, as the U.S. deployment will be protected by ballistic missile defences.

The deployment however will likely make Romania’s relations with Russia difficult as the latter does not like to see the United States encroaching in what was its backyard during the Cold War. However there is little Russia can do now against Romania or U.S. forces in the region. Such a redeployment of U.S. forces will make Romania a possible target for terrorists, as these bases will be used primarily in the War on Terror, however it also worth mentioning that in Romania no major terrorist attack occurred in the last two decades. A greater risk comes from the possible development of NBC weapons in the Middle East and the proliferation of their means of delivery; however an attack against Romania is unlikely to succeed so long as the country is protected by U.S. ballistic missile defences.

George VIŞAN

Anunțuri

16 comments

  1. „Romania required the presence of U.S. forces in order to protect itself from the possible revival of Russian influence and also in order to gain a higher profile in a region marked by instability, petty rivalries and frozen conflicts.” Ok, let’s see if I get this the right way: Romania, a new member of the EU, is scared of the mean Russian Federation and it chooses to get help from the US, even if this creates tensions not only between Romania and Russia but also between Romania and the EU. Last month, Le monde diplomatique (to be more accurate, Ignacio Ramonet) used the word „betrayal” in describing the way Poland understands to improve her relations to the United States. And, if I’m not mistaking, a few moths ago, Romania’s behavior received a similar description. It seems to me that something’s missing from this puzzle… Especially since the famous anti- ballistic missile shield is not designed to cover Romania or Bulgaria. It leaves us as „out” as it gets. As for the instability… I’m not sure how a few marines are going to help us in the eventuality of a massive Moldavian or Ukrainian invasion. To be more exact, we should fear more the revival of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, or, for that matter, a Tatar invasion. „Romania required” US troops? I think that’s too harsh a word. All in all, I don’t know how you choose your sources or if that’s propaganda you’re doing, but I would advise you to be a bit more cautious.

  2. I am afraid that „Le monde diplomatique” has a problem with the United States. Strike that, actually to be more accurate French left wing intellectuals have a problem with the United States, because it represents everything they stand against: free market, free trade, classic liberal thought etc. Actually I noticed that in the electoral campaign in France one of the critics raised against Mr. Sarkozy was he is either too liberal or wanted to American style reforms. And all of this was equaled in the last analysis by French leftists with fascism… I rest my case.

    Getting back to why Romania requires the presence of US troops. Well first of all because being a member of the EU is not enough in terms of security . The EU is just developing the ESDP and that does not equal a fully fledged security strategy. Member states know that and most of them are interested in maintaining or reinforcing their relationship with the US. Actually Germany and Britain are now competing for American influence. Unfortunately the Gaullist assumptions of French grand strategy (of which EU was a part) are no longer valid in today international system.

    EU member states have started to see Russia more as threat lately, due to the way it uses its vas amounts of energy supplies to advance its foreign policy goals. Moreover Russia feels a bit encircled by the west with the expansion of NATO and EU in Central and Eastern Europe and has alwys considered the West as an enemy. Poland and Romania know this already, plus they are the countries that have suffered the most from Russia, historically speaking. They can’t be too careful when it comes to Russia, so a few hard hiting US Marines will always be welcomed in this part of Europe. This is not about betraying Europe, it is about protecting it better…”Our” side of Europe is the borderland of the EU now and it is not a safe border yet.

    Regarding the US ballistic missile shield, the information that appeared in the Romanian press is innacurate. The BMD system will cover Romania as it is designed to be multilayered. American BMD is quite complex and is not only land based, is also ship based, airborne and spaceborne. It is not specifically able to deal with Russian missiles, that is true, but it can deal with Iranian, Chinese or North Korean missiles. Furthermore US will not deploy its troops in Romania without somesort of anti-ballistic missile defenses. It is also likely that Romania will acquire in the near future (i.e. 2012) a limited BMD capability.

  3. First of all, a reply to your reply regarding „Le Diplo”. How about linking the US to some good ol’ fashioned protectionism? Apart from that, what pisses the French off is that sort of „we represent free market, free trade, classic liberal thought etc.” behavior. That’s how the term „Altermondialism” was coined (nota bene, not „Alterglobalization”, the two are not synonims ) – a reaction to a free trade that’s only beneficial to the ones who „represent it”. As for Sarkozy’s fascism, you should indicate some references. The label „French leftists” is just not enough.

    I can’t say I’m a fan of IR realism… Seeing Russia as „The Big Ol’ Bear”, feeling encircled by NATO and the EU and roaring back at them is graphic but nothing more. You are actually assigning Romania a free will and the ability to make rational choices. I don’t think that’s ever been the case. An additional element is the legal institution of lobbying: traditional in the US, inexistent in Romania – one more dangerous tool in their hands.

    About the US troops: they were deployed in Irak without any anti-ballistic missile defenses. They did the same in Afghanistan. Having their troops here (troops having some sort of diplomatic status) is an assurance for nothing. Moreover, the US are the only nuclear power just going around invading one country or another, disobeying UN resolutions, killing people. And we’re proud to be a part of this. Are these the guys we want on our side?

  4. Well should I mention „Liberation”? Should I mention Segolene Royal – in one of her speaches she linked liberalism with fascism. And is no secret in France that liberals are often refered to by hard line leftist as liberal fascist. Some of them come from the „Altermondialism” movement… The US is known for its stance on free trade (with a caveat when it comes to agriculture indeed) and it has one of the freest markets in the world. To give you a comparison the US occupies the ninth place in terms of economic freeom while France occupies 44th place according to the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. Free market in the US exist and works as opposed to France or Romania. Another figure is revealing – It takes one day to open a business in the US, in Romania – 55 days. Now that is a free market. The French also dislike America in general for its power – being the only great power at the moment does not make you friends. It is now secret that the French have an American complex since the end of WW 2. As France is no longer a great power and its culture is not the standard in the world anymore, the French at least they can claim for themselves the title as the country that invented anti-americanism.

    Second Russia does not like western expansion in her former sphere of influence. With the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to NATO its influence in Eastern Europe has been considerably reduced. Its connection to the Balkans is now cut. Furthermore Western presence on the shores of Black Sea is a nightmire for Russia. If you are not convinced by these arguments then you can read Mr. Putins speaches, especially the one held in Munich in early 2007. He practically asks for the formation of a balancing coalition against the United States…

    A note on ballistic missile defenses. The US used during the second gulf war (Iraq 2003) abm systems to shoot down Iraqi cruise missiles. It was the Patriot PAC 3 that was employed. Furthermore US Navy Arleigh Burke class destroyers armed with SM-3 abm missile are patrolling the the waters of Persian gulf. One even paid a visit this winter to Constanta to in order to train our frigate squadron.

    Romania as a sovereign independent state or as an autunomous political unit is capable of making decisions according to its national interest. It may be a small power, yet is capable of doing that. Romania chose NATO in 1993 (The Partnership for Peace) and later the EU in 1999 (that year we applied for membership). Romania along with other former communist states actually forced the doors of NATO and the EU in the 1990s…. It is no mystery about that.

  5. Emilian, arguing with George on how bad or good the US is… well, that’s sort of futile. George has declared long ago his pledge to Americanism and all that it stands for… it’s interesting, George, how you would view America after living here for a while. What pissed me off in the whole affair was that there was no sort of discussion, i.e. controversy, albeit minor, between Romanian politicians. Mr. Tariceanu has made a huge fuss about redeploying troops from Iraq, and he made no intelligent remark now… And there is a tension between being too American friendly, and being a committed EU member. Or between being too American friendly and depending on Russia for a large percent of our energy consumption (the eternal fossile fuels issue). Let’s face it. And let’s at least talk about it. The good news in the whole picture is that President Bush (or anybody vaguely similar to him) won’t rise to power in the US within the next 10 years or so.

  6. Some clarification. I am not a blind supporter of America, I just believe European anti-Americanism has shaky intellectual basis and is imoral. I am not a neocon either, however I am no supporter of the Democrat party or its ideas. I have more in common with eigteenth century liberals than XXIst „liberal” political activists. And of course I am a Realist with a big R, when it comes to International Politics.

    To answer Corina’s frustration about the way Romanian parliament dealt with the issue of US troops being deployed in our country… Actually the alliance with the US is one of the few things Romanian political parties agree one. I can think of only one person that is quite anti-American – Victor Ponta. But he cannot be taken seriously. Moreover countries in Central and Eastern Europe have generally been quite supportive of America not only at the level of political elites but also among the general population. Only recently in Romania at least I have noticed Anti American feelings growing especially among the youth. And that is because, I think, that New Left movements are catching on in Romania especially among the youth.

    Regarding the supposed tension between being a member of the EU and being too close to America – this is a false problem in Europe. With a notable exception, that of France, among the political elites of Europe America is well received and the Alliance that began almost 60 years ago is still important for European security. Moreover the EU could have been possible without an American security guarantee. Is not necessarily contradictory to be a great fan of the EU and at the same time have a close connection with the US.

  7. I am sorry to see this discussion being based upon blind ideological preferences, be they good ol’ free trade or good ol’ UN.
    Free trade does not benefit only those who want advertise it (The U.S. mostly), but everybody who’s part of it and that is a fact no matter how U look at it. However, free-trade is not just the U.S., I mean the EU was founded on free trade, and one must bear this very very clearly in mind. Free trade is an engine to prosperity that all former communist/authoritarian/dictatorship states seek.
    Now, the U.S. are neither the good guys, nor the bad guys. Seing the international arena in a maniheist way does not do justice to an informed commentator. The fact that Romania has a security deficit in what concernes the Russian threat is a fact that anyone with good knowledge of Romanian history in the last 200 years should know. the presence of american troops in Romania is in itself a guarantee (no matter the numbers) of the fact that Romania is out of reach for any harmful influence, be it military, or oconomic.

  8. @bamse… now please enlighten me how come „the presence of american troops in Romania is in itself a guarantee (no matter the numbers) of the fact that Romania is out of reach for any harmful economic influence”.

    in terms of FDI in Romania, US ranks a lousy place 7, despite being the wealthiest country in the world; Romania’s economy depends on other players, to my mind. but I do expect some reasoning from you.

  9. @george…but you cannot disagree that the Romanian troops in Iraq was among the cards Mr. Tariceanu played on President Basescu. And the public cared about the whole issue. Personally, I doubt that the number of young Romanians that share anti-American feelings with their – equally young – European counterparts is insignificant… And it’s not spectacularly recent either. And it’s healthy that there is such a resurgence of the left, in terms of balancing various takes people have on economics, politics, and so on. The EU – US relationship on the other hand is highly relevant military and economically; however, there are also huge clashes. I was fortunate to witness „behind-closed-doors” negotiations of the EU delegation at the UN, and important EU members have issues with many US policies. France is not the lonely wolf howling its frustrations in the middle of the desert. And I strongly believe that Romania has to develop a healthy relationship with the EU & Russia (the Middle East and the Western Balkans are not negligible either), while staying moderately calm in its American sympathies.

  10. @George Visan: Indeed, the US are a great prosperous country. Good for them. A 9th place in term of free market? I applaud! Things worked out for them. But exporting such a model in other countries is a mistake. And so is their attempt to export it at the international level through globalisation. At least in this latter case, it proved disastrous. Yes, wealth is produced. But on the expense of poor countries, Third World countries, rich in resources, but unable to exploit them themselves and unable of getting the most of letting other exploit them. Rosia Montana is a eloquent example. This new marketing „fad”, corporate social responsibility, is more than what it seems. It’s not just about corporations – its the duty of each and every enterprise, as each and every enterprise has a social dimension. It takes one day to open a business in the US? It seems that the entrepreneur’s responsibility is somehow left aside. You can’t just go, open a business, hire people, not pay them and then go bankrupt in six months. As for „Mother Russia”, let’s take a look at Russian capital absorbed by our economy in let’s say, the last ten years… The same for Austria, UK, &c. Regarding the Patriot PAC 3… Why bother with an extended shield over Romania, when you can bring some anti ballistic missiles ad hoc, in the eventuality of a more probable threat? A close connection with the US can be translated as hosting secret CIA prisons and making illegal arrests. And that opposes not only what the EU believes in, but also a big stack of conventions, of fundamental rights, of internal legislation, &c. And allow me to sympathize with Russia’s concern of having a bunch of Bush’s „merry men and their extraordinary firecrackers” in its former back yard. (Sorry but realism is not enough… What do you do when your personified countries have their digestive and circulatory systems intermingled? How do they choose where to head to? How do they make their own decisions? National interest? Verbalised by a leadership accused of being corruptible, inefficient and based on clientelism? Allow me to disagree on both the effectiveness of realism here and the meaningfulness of „national interest”.

    @bamse: „Free trade is an engine to prosperity”? Now that sounds like propaganda. Apart from that, I agree, we should not mix ethical categories with IR. It’s just plain wrong. I’m just saying that Romania gives stuff for free, hoping the US are decent enough and pay back.

    @Corina: „Leftist” views are actually just beginning to form. Not yet translated into a coherent party doctrine. Anyway, a group is as important as the number of votes it casts. We just have to wait for them to turn 18…

  11. Oh dear! At last a heated debate. This is one of the reasons this blog was created – to sprak controversy and debate and sharpen the mind.

    I’ll answer to your comments cronlogically:

    @ Corina I would make a distinction between petty Romanian politics and foreign policy. Tariceanu has probably the worst record until know when it comes to foreign policy matters of all Romania’s prime ministers. He is so incoherent and changes his mind so often that it makes George W. Bush look like a brilliant diletant in terms of foreign policy. The strategic relanship with the United States will form the backbone of Romani’s foreign policy in the next years. It will take more than a personal and institutional dispute to brake the alliance. This assumption is proven by actions these two states take when it comes to common interest rather than the whims of politicians. I really don’t know what was in Tariceanu’s head when it took the notorious decison to suddenly order the retreat of Romanian troops from Iraq: it may had had to do with his bickering with Basescu, ut may have seen an opportunity in the opinion polls for his party or simply he was following the trend of some European leaders in the matter (see prodis) example. Personally I think the first two explanation really apply to this decision.

    Regarding the US-EU relationship: It is complex and it is based on common interests. However it is not a bed of roses as it is a political relation. Dissagreements are bound to appear…However a common interest exist and terefore these issues are going to be resolved one way or the other.
    France however has seen US power as a threat to its interest. However her response to this challenge was incoherent. The ad-hoc alliance it created with Russia and Germany against the US just before the 2003 Gulf War did not survived more than a year. Germany since 2004 ( the departure of Schroeders goverment) at least, has been courting America seriously, entering into a competition with Britain, on who is going to have more say in the years of American policy makers in terms of international politics.

    On the resurgence of the left: In general I look at it with great concern and disdain. The left has become more aggressive indeed lately, however it has provided the same answers to the economic problems of Europe: more protectionis, more taxes and more state control. As a liberal I can only say this: This is the wrong way to answer the economic and social troubles of Europe. There is still hope, however, yesterday’s defeat of Segolene Royal and of the French PS is good news, because it represents a great step backwards for leftist ideology in Europe not only in France. Leftist parties will be forced to rethink their strategy and come up with better answers in order to woe the electorate. When it comes to Romania I hope that a grassroots modernising leftist movement will develop that will replace the PSD, but also I hope that there will be a strong liberal and center right movement that will answer to this challenge.

    @ Emilian Unfortunately you raise so many issues that each would require a paper! Also you are quite incoherent in your comment. The free market economic system is not a mistake. Is not an American inventiona either. Is an universal invention and also an universal model generally. If it were a mistake than Communism should have thrived and capitalism should have dissapeared by now… Fortunately history tells a different story. Capitalism is based on private property, personal iniative and a lot of work. Not on theft. The only social system based theft and poverty is Communism and as a Romanian you should have known that by now.

    CIA and the prisons are another issue whose relevance for this debate is questionable. Furthermore you can disagree with realism, liberalism or national interest. But please offer some arguments. The only person who has come up with ideological arguments untill now is you. Therefore please if you want a more detailed answer come up with some content not with slogans from Socialism 101 courses.

  12. @emilian. Free trade is an engine to prosperity, and, despite my pompous phrase :), this is acknowledged by leftists and rightists alike. Modern political and economical thinking agree on this. They really do:). Plus, the fact that globalization is such a succes is proof from the practical field as well.
    Globalization is not an export of the US no more than chinese cuisine is a product of chinese export. You are free to chose your shoes, yet you are more likely to choose Nike or Reebok over, let’s say Antilopa, and I don’t see G.W. Bush forcing you to do this :D. So …
    @corina. The presence of american troops is a symbol, that’s waht I want to say by not mentioning the numbers. It’s like you’re walking around in a not so safe neighborhood alongside the toughest guy around. No one will ask for you wallet ever again. 😀

  13. @George Visan: Pardon my occasional incoherence – I tend to mix logic with indignation in addressing such issues. I’ll try to rephrase my arguments and keep them as ideologically neutral as possible.

    Conceptually, mixing Socialism, Communism, and Stalinism is not accurate at all. And on top of that, labeling this mixture as „Left” is just as wrong. The differences are immense. However, none of them are, as you say, based on poverty and theft. At least ideologically, and it’s ideology we are talking here. It’s a common mistake, though. I discuss Socialism and the interlocutor suddenly realizes: „Oh, Communism!” No, it’s not communism. And it’s quite expectedly: ever since 1989, we have been taught to reject the „mean left” along with Communism and Stalinist. Even PSD, allegedly a left wing party, has yet to prove itself one. Anyway, the coherence of the Romanian party doctrines is another issue.

    The effectiveness of free markets is given by how close to a perfect competition it gets. Why is that? Because otherwise, such a market would resemble the natural selection process, albeit with a crucial difference: the process would eventually lead to a series of monopolies (or, a worst case scenario, one big monopoly). The process described by Darwin results in a becoming of the species, based on successive control loops. In the realm of economic interactions, this does not happen, as the US quickly found out. They felt the need of anti-trust regulations and, since the Sherman Act, policies regulating the market have been a reality. Then there are labour regulations, granting the right to an union, limiting work day length… But what do you do when this proves inefficient? Big US companies have found a pretty simple way of bypassing the existent legislation: build two production facilities, one in the US, another in Malaysia, keep them at half the potential production volume. When the workers in the US are on strike, simply ignore them and commute the factory in Malaysia to full capacity. Improving legislation so that these shortcuts are not possible anymore is likely to be perceived as increasing state intervention in economy. Globalisation is, indeed, not an US export. What they do export is their own understanding of free market, one that favors over-sized corporations. If Malaysia (this is just a random example of dubious country) chooses to close its borders, i.e. not be a free market anymore, the US corporation wouldn’t be able to build that backup factory there – a factory where the workers would receive less than a tenth of what American workers receive. It looks like this kind of approach is entirely fundamented
    on poverty. But, hey! We call it Capitalism or Globalisation and we learn in schools that it’s the best thing there is. Then there are environmental policies: if anywhere, this is where energetic state intervention is needed. (By the way, environmental issues are an important part of the current leftist agenda.) You can’t reasonably expect corporations to internalize environment costs on their own.

    The fundamental issue here is: what is an economy supposed to do? What are the values it assumes? Your view of liberalism / capitalism is centered around the production of wealth. An economy is supposed to produce wealth. What it does is neglect any other aspect. No matter the costs, profit must be obtained (similarly, an US Congressman stated that „having a few innocent people tortured is a price we have to pay, in order to avoid the hundred others’ deaths.”. This logic was meant to justify illegal arrests and torture of several „dubious looking guys” who proved to have no connection whatsoever with terrorist organizations. To them, this approach is acceptable. To me, it is not.) This leaves out a bunch of low rated values such as human dignity or preserving the environment. Is that ok? I think not. And this is where the Left interferes. Increasing state intervention so that no major income disparities occur, so that nobody feels exploited. Take it this way: income disparities -> instability -> high crime rates -> climate of insecurity -> extremist political identification -> authoritarian regime. That is, the higher the aversion towards social policies the higher the likeliness of having some sort of extremist (left wing of right) movement rise above the turmoil. It’s more of a economic-criminological approach, a valid one nonetheless. Then there’s another causal chain: abrupt environment degradation -> no regime at all -> no economy at all.

    Regarding the other issues – I don’t have enough time right now… But be assured, they will be addressed!

    @bamse: Free trade is a lot of things. Depends greatly on the perspective (e.g. free trade in micro-economy / free trade in macro-economy, &c.). Anyway, i’m not rejecting it as a whole. I’m just saying that, as it is understood by the promoters of globalization, it is imperfect. Besides, if nobody buys Antilopa shoes becouse of Nike shoes, and the factory goes backrupt and all its 50.000 workers don’t manage to get other jobs, thus increasing the regional criminality rate and overall instability, allow me, as ruler, to consider limiting the imports of Nike shoes, even if it would mean upsetting the US officials and backing up a place or two in that „free trade” scores list…

  14. Unfortunately you have got it all wrong. Perfect competition is an analitical concept, it has nothing to do with the free market per se. Perfect competition is ” an economic model that describes a hypothetical market form in which no producer or consumer has the market power to influence prices. According to the standard economical definition of efficiency (Pareto efficiency), perfect competition would lead to a completely efficient outcome. The analysis of perfectly competitive markets provides the foundation of the theory of supply and demand.” Free market „is a market where the price of an item is arranged by the mutual consent of sellers and buyers, with the supply and demand of that item not being regulated by a government (see supply and demand)”.

    So one thing is an anlitical tool the other defines an economic activity. Furthermore as I said before you are quoting from socialism 101 textbook. A free market wilth perfect competion, if we correlate this two definitons, will be a market that precludes monopolies…..:)

    Second monopolies are usually created by government regulation. In a free market economy monopolies are rare. Monopolies occur usually only there is control over natural resources of a specific kind. In the manufacturing industries the possibility of monopolies to develop is limited because of conditions affecting capital and labor (they have a given magnitude and their output has also a given magnitude) and because there is always the possibility of developing substitutes for a particular product.

    Competition will not lead to the creation of monopolies or to the destruction of societies. It will create wealth and general satisfaction among the entire society. And thisi is not propaganda is a historic fact. When Marx was writting his ideas the industrial revolution coupeled with free market capitalism brought wealth and modernization in the entire world.

    The third way you are trying to preach is politically and intellectually false. Lets take the example of the state trying to equalize income. How is the state able to measure the level of individual utility of A and B in terms of monetary income so that A will feel equal to B? It can’t because each individual perceives money and wealth subjectively. It will end up takeing money from B and give them to A, but in the process it will actually lead to the deprivation of B in favor of A. That is not justice, that is gross inequality and injustice. The equality possible is that before the law. In rest we are all perfectly unequal.

    Socialism has been reinvented so much that even those who propose it have actually problems identifying with it. I never said that you are a communist, but you are a leftwinger.

  15. Do you even read my replies? My last one was quite lengthy so you would have an excuse. What I was saying is that a free market with perfect competition would be an efficient one. One that wouldn’t allow de facto monopolies. („The effectiveness of free markets is given by how close to a perfect competition it gets. Why is that? Because otherwise, such a market would resemble the natural selection process, albeit with a crucial difference: the process would eventually lead to a series of monopolies.” Indeed, I went even further and talked of effectiveness – not to be mistaken for efficiency – which doesn’t change things much. What would lead to monopolies is a free market that does not have perfect competition. I couldn’t have been clearer). The monopolies you have in mind are de jure monopolies, or natural monopolies. My argument, however refered to de facto monopolies – the „bad monopolies”. „Competition will not lead to the creation of monopolies or to the destruction of societies” you say. I never claimed that. That was my whole point: competition is beneficial as long as it tends to become a perfect competition. Stock markets are, however, as good as it gets in this respect. Let’s face the facts: unregulated markets are rich in unconcurrencial practices. And what Globalisation does is bring together both regulated and unregulated, thus making monopolies more probable. As for the perceived equality, it’s more of a perceived social justice. The worker should not feel exploited as far as his salary goes. And it’s not equality I’m talking because, legally speaking, a juristic person is not equal to a natural person, de jure. What is a historical fact si that pronounced income disparities existed in Germany right before NSDAP, in Romania right before the Iron Guard, in Russia right before Lenin, &c. The wealth and satisfaction and happiness of the workers in the 19th century industrial revolution, is, however, not such a fact. But enough about income disparities. How about environmental social justice? Is it theft making companies pay for the pollution they produce, especially since it is produced in third world countries with no environmental policies? I can’t see that as creating inequality and injustice. On the contrary.

  16. In order to bring the debate closer to the subject of G’ article, I would like tu underline the fact that starting 2007, there aren’t any buffer states left in Eastern Europe between The European Union, Nato and their consequent areas of formal or informal influence and Russia and its formal/informal ones. This is quite an important phenomenon since, from a historic point of view, this has not happened since the Cold War ended.
    Why is this important? It is my oppinion that the frictions between the two main blocks will escalate further bringing a Cold War-like political reality in Europe. Or am I wrong? Awaiting for your answers 😀

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