EDITORIAL

Biden’s message

What even the most visionary strategists would have found hard to imagine before the fall of the Iron Curtain is today an ever more obvious reality that the United States wanted to reiterate at the end of the last week through the voice of Vice President Joseph Biden who took part in a lightning tour in Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic.


Through the message that the high American envoy brought to the region only several weeks after President Barack Obama announced the changing of the US policy on the missile shield, the three countries received the confirmation of the importance that they hold for the United States as allies in the common struggle against the new threats to global security.


As Biden underlined in the speech he gave in Bucharest, Central and Eastern Europe, once part of the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence, has ended having, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the crucial role of an equal, mature and responsible partner in the global security strategy that the new American administration is promoting and supporting within NATO, an alliance that currently undergoes, 60 years after its establishment, a profound process of reform and adaptation to the challenges of the 21st century.


‘I come here today with a straightforward, simple message,’ Mr. Biden said. ‘The United States of America remains committed to our alliance with Europe, which we Americans believe, and continue to believe, is the cornerstone of American foreign policy… As President Obama has said, there are no old members, there are no new members of NATO; there are just members. Under Article 5, an attack on one is an attack against all.’


The fact that of the three capitals that he visited, the American Vice President, who has assumed a major role in shaping up the Obama administration’s foreign policy, symbolically chose Bucharest to publicly launch his message for the region and to talk about the stakes of this tour in a speech he gave in front of the students within the Central University Library (a building that was completely burnt during the heated days of the 1989 Revolution) was not at all by chance.


Romania, the high American envoy stated, had the most to suffer at the hands of the communist dictatorial regime but it managed to make democracy blossom 20 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain.


Ten years after his first visit to Bucharest as the Democrat leader of the US Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee, at a time when Bucharest was following a staunch policy of backing its national interest to join NATO, Joseph Biden now expressed his pleasure with the progress that Romania registered during this time but also with the support that Bucharest constantly showed for the American economic, energy and security initiatives, projects and interests during the time that elapsed since his first visit. Particularly since Romania became a NATO member in 2004 with his strong support too and particularly when 5 years after joining the North Atlantic Alliance Romania has proven that it is an erstwhile partner within a military and strategic cooperation confirmed by notable and uncontested realities. Romania’s soldiers are fighting alongside the American soldiers in the world’s heated theaters of operations; during this time Romania successfully hosted a NATO Summit; moreover our country already hosts several US military bases.


Arriving in Bucharest only a day before the official start of the Presidential elections campaign, the American Vice President met, apart from the President in office, Traian Basescu’s main counter-candidates, namely PSD President Mircea Geoana and PNL President Crin Antonescu. ‘We will have the same dialogue and the same close cooperation with any President democratically elected in Romania,’ the American Vice President pointed out, thus dispelling any suspicions regarding Washington’s preference for any of the candidates.


In Bucharest the American guest also wanted to reiterate the US administration’s interest in having a normal, constructive collaboration with Russia, however not to the detriment of the Central and Eastern European countries that were once the USSR’s satellites but to which the US now has access through the relation of partnership it has with them within NATO. According to some observers, through the message he brought to the region Vice President Biden wanted to give these countries, in return for their support for the US initiatives on the new anti-missile shield, assurances that NATO’s security guarantees are credible. Countries that meanwhile became not only NATO but also EU members and that today, having this status with serious and substantial responsibilities, can turn their attention and make their voice heard not only at local and regional but also at global level. To us it seems very important the reiteration in Bucharest of the US vision on the way in which the great problems that humankind currently faces should be tackled, problems such as the economic crisis, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, a planet that is heating up or the exacerbation of fundamentalism. The United States will cope with these challenges only together with united Europe. ‘The US cannot succeed alone, it can only succeed together with you.’ ‘And I don’t even think that you could fully succeed without us,’ Biden said.


Apart from some observers’ speculations that the American Vice President chose Romania to deliver the main message of his tour also because of the close 30-year friendship that ties him to the current US Ambassador to Bucharest, one certainly cannot wave off the fact that the two countries will soon mark 130 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations at a time when the bilateral strategic partnership signed in 1997 is as tight and visible as possible.

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