April 21, 2010
Georgi’s blog has drawn my attention to the letter written to President Obama by a group of ex-presidents and opinion leaders from Central Europe. That letter refuses to be digested. Had I been a more emotional kind of guy, I’d be in tears. As it turns out, it’s played havoc with my stomach.
The letter pleads with the current US administration not to forsake us, Europeans, and therefore leave us exposed to evil Russian designs on our continent. The US should “reset” its relationship with us and strengthen an otherwise toothless NATO. It implies new Europeans’ readiness to go and fight alongside Americans all over the world, if only they were shown more affection :
“First, we are convinced that America needs Europe and that Europe needs the United States as much today as in the past. The United States should reaffirm its vocation as a European power and make clear that it plans to stay fully engaged on the continent even while it faces the pressing challenges in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the wider Middle East, and Asia. For our part we must work at home in our own countries and in Europe more generally to convince our leaders and societies to adopt a more global perspective and be prepared to shoulder more responsibility in partnership with the United States.
Second, we need a renaissance of NATO as the most important security link between the United States and Europe. It is the only credible hard power security guarantee we have. NATO must reconfirm its core function of collective defense even while we adapt to the new threats of the 21st century. A key factor in our ability to participate in NATO’s expeditionary missions overseas is the belief that we are secure at home.”
If put to music, Walesa, Havel and Constantinescu’s letter will sound like Barbra Streisand’s “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore” part II. Their appeal is a nostalgic, frustrated message. By way of analogy, it’s very much like a letter written to a former lover, that goes… “I’ve had to remarry, dear (you know E.U., he’s a good provider), but you’re still the one who rings my bell. Do keep that house in my suburb, please, for old times’ sake…”
The baffling thing is, President Constantinescu passed himself for a Francophile leader when in office (1996-2000) and even botched the country’s NATO bid in 1997, when it would have really mattered to Romania’s security. He’s remembered, among other things, for declaring that we shouldn’t bother about the Alliance, because the world is at peace, anyway, and there are no security threats in sight. Less than two years later, the Kosovo conflict erupted. Oh, and… the miners’ march against Bucharest in 1999 brought us to the brink of civil war. To top it all off, he ended his mandate with the party that brought him to office evicted from parliament, and with the country facing insolvency.
About those pesky “expeditionary missions”… Why would these old sages be willing to send other people’s children to Irakistan ? They should lead by example and strengthen NATO with an elite PMC (private military company – it’s all the rage in the USA) made up of their own children and close relatives. And who knows ? Maybe they would melt more hearts in Washington that way…