Cornel Codiţă (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 16 noiembrie 2016


"The shadow of war looms over us particularly when we try to forget it", in the words of Erich Maria Remarque ("Im Westen nicht Neues", Berlin, Propylaen, 1929), that had no desire to be prophetic, but which are depressingly true. A hundred years after the horrors of the first "total" war of the modern world, humanity has had far too little time to even try to forget war. And yet, the desire to forget it wins quicker than anybody would expect. But forgetfulness is not an amorphous phenomenon, equal with itself and uniformly distributed. No! The direct and indirect victims of the war don't forget, for the rest of their lives, the pain that they have been subjected to, not even if they try, under the special circumstances of psychiatric treatment, just like the children of the war generation or those of the first post-war generation never forget the woes of their parents and of the communities that they grew up in. The fine and special fabric of human relations itself, those that make up society and its communities bear the signs and "memories" of the destruction created by the war "without limits" for a long time. In the modern world, it is the politicians and those in positions of power, those who have the right to use armies and weapons to "act" on the global chessboard, to expand the range of means they use to pursue their intentions, objectives or just their dreams and aberrations born from minds that are sometimes pathologically disturbed, that have the ability to forget about war.

The world that we are living in is subject to sudden changes and massive disruptions of history. Almost everything gives the impression of an edifice that is collapsing: Great Britain is gambling away its fate on the roulette of slogans and resentments against anti-European resentments; the United States have brought atop the pyramid of power a character for whom life, including politics, when it is not about privileges, is only the war to win against anybody and by any means, to get access to other, higher privileges, or which you didn't have access to before. Meanwhile, in Eastern Europe, politics seems to be taking on the dominant of Moscow color. Perhaps instead of trying to understand "change", it would be more useful to understand the "constants" of the situation on the "Eastern front", where the political structures haven't changed.

Moscow has embarked on the adventure of a post-cold war world carrying the resentments of the loss of power, felt both by the population and its politicians, caused by the dismantling of the USSR, and the concern that the areas liberated in the East would become hostile; the decision to stop any Western initiative concerning the strengthening of the European security, political and military system, along the safety perimeter of "immediate vicinity". Furthermore, it has also added the hope that the strategic (nuclear) partnership with the US provides the safety net and the immovable points of interest that will allow the cooperation with Washington to continue, regardless of the moves of the domestic policy, of the competition outside the European political areas, or of the ideologies that may take residence in the White House or the Kremlin at a certain time. From that point of view, for Moscow, the Cold War never ended, and its objectives have remained the same. The direct or indirect political control, but powerful in each case, over Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, to say nothing about Belarus or Kazakhstan has been constantly and vigorously pursued since 1991. At key moments, Moscow has made no secret of its stances or of the resources that it was willing to use to achieve those goals. At the UN reunion in Bucharest, Moscow was adamant that it would oppose by any means, military if necessary, the political course that would end up with Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia being accepted in NATO. After the traumatic dissolution of Yugoslavia through war, would anybody expect Moscow not to cultivate relations with Belgrade and who would have expected Serbians not to do that, especially after Europe and the United States forced them to accept the loss of Kosovo? Is it surprising that in Kishinev, Kyiv or Belgrade there are political forces that rely on the relationship with Moscow and every now and then they secure the electoral support of the population so that they can come to power? Why would the "offensive in the East" be surprising, when Moscow's "Western offensive" has achieved such encouraging and significant results: the semi-decoupling between Berlin and Washington; the decoupling between London and Washington; the semi-decoupling between Paris and Berlin; the semi-decoupling between Rome and Brussels, to say nothing of the breakup between Athens and Brussels. Certainly, these developments aren't exclusively the direct and unmitigated result of Moscow's influence, but even if it didn't lift a finger for them to happen, the results favor Kremlin. And when it comes to lifting, Moscow has lifted more than a finger to influence operations not just in the East, but in the West as well! What has happened in the recent presidential elections in the US leaves no more room for doubt: Russia has become part of the political game in the United States. To say nothing of the way in which the strategic confusion, first of all concerning the political role and the NATO missions that the last four US presidents have involved themselves in, has directly contributed to the success of the restoration policy that Moscow announced a long time ago, back in the heyday of former president Yeltsin.

From this point of view, "Nothing new in the East" is not necessarily an encouraging fact! This phrase not only says that the unchangeable elements of Russia's policy are those that create the political orientation of the region, more than people who think that "The Cold War is over" can understand or accept, or, speaking more broadly, that "War is no longer a part of history".

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