In Europe’s Shadow

in Conflicts 2019 · EN · Europe 2019 · NATO 2019 · Skepticism 2019 · YOUTUBE 2019 173 views / 11 comments
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* The beginnings and ends of shadow lie between the light and darkness and may be infinitely diminished and infinitely increased. Shadow is the means by which bodies display their form. The forms of bodies could not be understood in detail but for shadow. Leonardo da Vinci

In Europe’s Shadow is a riveting journey through (among other countries) Romania, one of Europe’s frontier countries—and a potent examination of the forces that will determine Europe’s fate in the postmodern age.

In Europe’s Shadow is the story of an ideological and geographic frontier, necessary to to truly understand the crisis with Russia, and within Europe itself. Kaplan will investigate at De Balie the current European crises. How should we look at the future of alliances such as the NATO? What does Kaplan think about European leadership? And what can we say about the frontier countries such as Romania – between Russia and the West?

After Kaplan’s keynote speech there will be a conversation with Paul Brill (journalist, De Volkskrant).

  • Robert D. Kaplan is the author of sixteen books on foreign affairs and travel translated into many languages, including In Europe’s Shadow, Asia’s Cauldron, The Revenge of Geography, Monsoon, Balkan Ghosts, and Eastward to Tartary.
  • He is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington and a contributing editor at The Atlantic, where his work has appeared for three decades.
  • He was chief geopolitical analyst at Stratfor, a visiting professor at the United States Naval Academy, and a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, appointed by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

“The silence of the streets was devastating,” he recalls in the opening pages of this haunting yet ultimately optimistic examination of the human condition as found in Romania. “The city had been reduced to a vast echo.” People stood in glum queues for not much; heat was scarce and fuel so precious that buses would soon run with methane tanks on top.

  • Worse yet was the sight of massed thousands marching in a parade for their dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, or listening to him speak for three hours. “The faces in the audience looked terrified throughout. Nobody dared stop clapping and chanting until he raised his arm.”
  • I remember that fear from reporting trips to Romania later in the 1980s. It was repulsive, hinting at the murderous cruelty of Ceausescu and his predecessor Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, whom Kaplan brands “arguably two of the most ruthless men in the history of the second half of the 20th century.” But it was also, especially in contrast to the much chronicled Middle East, part of an intriguing and largely untold story. Kaplan got hooked.

Any reader going along for his 30-year ride should know that it is difficult to explore Romania in the linear, logical narrative familiar to the West. Steeped in his subject, the author delves into the ancient roots of Romania’s culture and religion.

He revels in what he calls “a thrilling and atmospheric truth: Romania does, indeed, constitute a unique blend of a Latinate language and an Eastern Orthodox Church; the sound of Italy alongside the icons and frescoes of Greek Byzantium.” Its Orthodox hymns are “the most inspiring and evocative religious music I know,” and the country itself “a fusion of Roman Latinity and Greek Orthodox Christianity, so that ancient Rome and Greece live on, however vaguely and indirectly, inside the Romanian soul.

Youtube: post-revolution — “to see an entire population struggling to recover their self-respect as individuals”

The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at:  De Balie



  1. Kaplan went numerous times to Romania.
    – He wrote the entire book examining the influence of geography on the Romanian history and politics.
    – At 41:01 he says at north was Hungary, and then INDEED goes on to show the Hungary —–> NORTH of Romania!!
    How the is that even possible? Mind-blowing stuff…

  2. Shameful that this person is making money of this!! Russia is Europe! And the USA and the allies created Romania in 1918 after dismembering Austria-Hungary and neighboring countries. The USA have destroyed Europe and created strategic new ” states” that are nonfunctional and created hate between the countries and and European peoples!

  3. Interesting take on things. For the short and medium term. But old think in a way. The future belongs to synthetic raw materials. What are the implications of that for world trade and economic structures?

  4. obert you need to buy a book of your colleague Timothy Snyder, ulus of Juchi /Muscovy has nothing to do with Kyiv Rus´. Kyiv didn´t move to Moscow in anyway, its a badly outdated

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