ECONOMY POLITICS

Robert D. Kaplan: Romania is doing surprisingly well, politics and economy are doing well

Romania is doing surprisingly well, the politics are healthier than Poland, they’re healthier than Hungary, they’re healthier than Bulgaria, and Romania’s economic growth rate compares very favourably to that in the rest of Europe, U.S. analyst and writer Robert D. Kaplan says in an interview to Agerpres.

“In 1981 and, in fact, throughout the 1980’s, Romania was the most depressing, backward country in the Warsaw Pact. It was poor, it had a level of totalitarianism that was much deeper than you found in other countries, whether it was Bulgaria, or Poland, or whatever. So Romania was way behind. However, in 2013, 2014, 2015, I find Romania is doing surprisingly well. And, in fact, I think the politics are healthier than Poland, they’re healthier than Hungary, they’re healthier than Bulgaria. It’s hard to find a former Warsaw Pact country where the politics and the economics are doing quite as well as Romania. (…) Romania’s economic growth rate compares very favourably to that in the rest of Europe,” Kaplan maintains.

He pointed out he is aware that Romanians still complain that there are things that are not going well and that there is still a certain amount of corruption. “But the point is Romanian people are concentrating on the right things. They’re fed up with corruption. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing. They have a president who’s not even an ethnic Romanian, he’s ethnic Saxon German. That’s a good thing, because it shows that the population no longer thinks in ethnic terms. It thinks in universal terms. It’s looking for non-corrupt, stable, technocratic, modern leadership. That’s what the population is demanding and, little by little, that’s what it is getting,” the U.S. analyst underscores.

Kaplan also believes that Romania and the United States “are as close now as one could hope for,” and this closeness is also owed to the fact that “Romania is one country in East-Central Europe that does not have a pro-Russian party, a pro-Russian faction.”

“Romanian people are anchored to the West, they want a pro-Western government and they are natural allies to the United States. Especially since Poland has started to go through a more difficult time internally, politically, I think the Americans and the Romanians on a diplomatic and strategic level see eye to eye to a degree that one cannot complain about. It’s hard to come up with a closer relationship than this. Of course, let me add, Romania would like the Obama Administration to do more, obviously, would like a stronger American foreign policy towards Central-Eastern Europe, you know, vis-a-vis Russia. So Romania is not going to get everything it wants, but given the messiness and the reality of history, I think the US-Romanian relationship is very healthy,” Kaplan says.

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