What EUrope is today increasingly depends on where one sits and assesses the situation. I’m afraid this is quite a prosaic thing to say; an American will surely see a different thing in the EU than a Sub-Saharan African or an Asian. However dull this may sound Europe should consider applying this approach every time the question of a common European Union strategy in world affairs comes up. What I mean by this can be considered to be a double-edged sword, as too much concern on how one sees you and what one wants from you may lead you to have doubts about your own identity. But still, EU has enough doubts in this respect already, so maybe it is high time to try a thorough process of self-assessment through the eyes of others.
Romania’s President, Traian Băsescu has announced yesterday the willingness of his country to host parts of US the ballistic missile defense system on its territory. The decision to allow the United States to deploy anti-ballistic missiles in Romania was taken in a meeting of the Supreme Defense Council (CSAT). According to Traian Băsescu Mrs. Ellen Tauscher the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security has formally proposed on behalf of the United States of America that Romania should host on its territory an anti-ballistic missile system. The US State Department has confirmed the agreement while the US embassy in Bucharest has saluted president Băsescu’s decision. Following the CSAT decision bilateral negotiations will be started, however the final approval for the deployment of the missiles must come from the Romanian parliament. The Romanian president has stated that the missile shield is not directed against Russia, but is designed to protect against other threats.
A recent article titled “A Tale of Two Allies” which was published in the American newspaper Christian Science Monitor has sparked furore in the Romanian media. In brief the article accompanied in the electronic edition of the Christian Science Monitor by an interview with A. Wess Mitchell, Director of Research at the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington D.C. analyzes the way in which the United States of America deals with its allies in Europe. The article basically argues, using Poland and Romania as examples, that the United States of America classifies its allies in two categories: mature allies-partners which do not require coaxing, as the article argues and another category (which I call it allies of opportunity, since the article fails to give a proper category) with which the United States has a relation based on reciprocity.
This is the second instalment from the series of articles regarding Romanian foreign policy I promised I will publish on this blog. In this article I will discuss and comment the draft 10 year foreign policy strategy which has been recently published by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Actually the word strategy does not properly describe the document – it is more a list of priorities and objectives for Romania’s diplomacy for the next ten years. In this respect the word strategy is a misnomer – but for practical purposes, I will refer to it as a strategy (the document is meant to ignite a public debate concerning Romania’s foreign policy in the next decade).
This article is the first in a series of articles that I will publish on this blog dealing with Romania’s foreign policy. In this article I will outline the major international issues Romania’s foreign policy has to deal with in the international system. I will provide a brief description of these major issues and I will comment them according to their relevance. The other articles in the series will deal with the new draft ten year foreign policy strategy which has just been published by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with the cohesiveness and coherence of Romania’s foreign policy – with a major emphasis on the relations between the branches of the executive and internal political conflicts. The issues are divided according to their importance, relevance and urgency.
This article will deal with the current status of relations between Romania and Russia. I will argue that although there are issues when cooperation can occur between the two states, the opportunities for conflict far outweigh them.
One thing that must be cleared from the beginning is that the relation between the two countries is and was asymmetrical. This relationship is and has been asymmetrical because it involves a great power or a medium power (depending on the timeline) and a small power. Today Russia can be catalogued as an aspiring great power while Romania remains a small power (with a good prospect of becoming a regional power).
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.
Historically the Romanian Navy was not large but it played an instrumental part in the creation of the modern Romanian state. By maintaining a presence on the shores of the Black Sea as well as patrolling and policing the Danube River, a strategic and economically important European waterway, it maintained the sovereignty and independence of the state. More…