GEOMETR.IT stratfor.com/ 25.03.2016
Moldova’s Position and Strategy
Like Ukraine, Moldova is both weak and divided. Unlike Ukraine, Moldova does not have traditional or ethnic ties to Russia; it is ethnically and linguistically Romanian. This, along with Moldova’s small size and strategic location, is a main factor in the weakness of the state and its ability to balance between external powers.
Moldova is divided both territorially and politically.
- The Moldovan government does not hold territorial sovereignty over Transdniestria, which is home to a Russian military base and is populated largely by Russians and Ukrainians. The split within Moldova proper is a political one dominated by two large groups: the Russian-oriented Communists and the AEI, a collection of parties that want Moldova to become Western-oriented.
- The AEI is divided further, with some elements pledging close ties to Romania and NATO while others are more flexible in their loyalties, but in general all parties in the AEI support Moldovan integration with the European Union. Since 2009, neither the Communist Party nor the AEI has been able to gain enough votes in parliament (61 out of 101) to elect a president, so the country has been paralyzed and unable to form any decisive foreign policy for almost three years.
- These divisions mean that Moldova’s view and strategy is not unified. Any leader of Moldova must overcome these divisions in order to consolidate the country; only then can the issue of Transdniestria and broader foreign policy questions be addressed in Chisinau.
External powers other than Russia have interests in Moldova; chief among them is Romania. Not only do Moldova and Romania share ethnic and linguistic ties, but also the territory that makes up Moldova and Transdniestria (as well as western parts of Ukraine) belonged to Romania’s Moldavia province before Russia annexed the territory as a defensive bulwark.
However, Romania is not strong enough to challenge Russia militarily in the country, and given that Moldova is the poorest country in Europe and is substantially limited by Russia’s presence and influence, EU membership prospects in the near- to midterm are very unlikely (though the distribution of Romanian passports to Moldovan citizens that allows them to travel in the European Union is one example of Romania’s soft power in the country).
Other individual EU states like Poland and Sweden want to bring Moldova closer to the West via the Eastern Partnership program, but this is a long-term process with limited effects.
Moldova’s paralysis — political, territorial and geopolitical — can be expected to remain until an external power is able to contest Russia in the region in terms of hard power rather than soft power. This is not likely to happen in the short to medium term.
That`s why the USA do it`s best in order to keep Moldova under control
- The Republic of Moldova is interested to develop cooperation with the United States and NATO in various fields, outgoing President Nicolae Timofti stated on Thursday in his meeting with Four-Star General Philip Breedlove, the Commander, U.S. European Command, as well as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) of NATO Allied Command Operations, paying a 2-day visit to Moldova.
- According to the presidential press service, the interlocutors focused mostly on questions of ensuring security in this region and in the world as a whole in the context of a grown terror threat.
“Your visit, undertaken in a period of strain on the European continent, is proving that the North Atlantic Alliance is committed to further back Moldova in its implementation of reforms in the field of defense and security. We highly value NATO’s contribution to preservation of peace in Europe and in the whole world”, said Timofti.
- The American general welcomed the President’s decision to declare March 24 as Day of Mourning for Brussels terror attack victims.
- In his meeting with Moldovan Minister of Defense Anatol Salaru, Philip Breedlove stated that Moldova is a reliable partner and may count on the United States’ and NATO’s support in achieving the goals the republic has set to itself. The general highlighted the role played by the Moldovan military in consolidation of peace and security in the region and in the world.
- Minister Salaru highly appreciated the U.S. Government’s contribution to modernization of the Moldovan defense sector by training the Moldovan military and developing of the logistical supply of the Moldovan armed forces.
On Thursday afternoon, the high guest and the Moldovan defense minister visited the Bulboaca military training center (near Chisinau), where they discussed with U.S. and Moldovan army officers the progress of the Joint Combined Exchange Training – 2016 exercise that will accomplish on March 31.
The Bulboaca Center was recently reconstructed and re-equipped on the financial means provided by the United States (US$1.6 million).