Iulian Fota, former president Traian Basescu’s national security advisor, believes that at this moment Romania finds herself in a difficult period from the point of view of external threats, a period in which “our chance for salvation is to transform ourselves within and to prepare for the worst.”
At the conference titled “History’s revenge. Romania and the end of vacation,” a conference that took place on Sunday at the Bucharest National Theatre, the specialist pointed out that the collapse of communism was followed by a period of relaxation from which our country benefitted too. A period in which almost everyone stood to gain economically, and a relaxation was noticed in what concerns conflicts too. These were the years in which “Romania’s problems were eminently internal and this had to do with our capacity to manage our country,” Iulian Fota claims.
Thus, Romania did not have problems of the external threats type. However, this period is coming to a close, the expert warns in the “end of vacation” theory he has developed in recent years. Fota, currently university lecturer at the National Intelligence Academy and political sciences doctor, claims that from a strategic standpoint “Romania was on vacation” until 2007 or early 2008, because “there weren’t big external surprises that we should have worried about.”
“If we take a look at the agenda today, at the fact that we can wake up with a war between great powers, something impossible during that period, that we could wake up with the disappearance of organizations such as the European Union, something unthinkable during that period, that the risk of nuclear conflict is considered to be on the rise, including in Europe, which would have elicited laughter had you said that in 95-96, the fact that at this moment we do not know whether our systems will economically survive another big crisis that may appear, while economic growth was previously impressive, this strengthens even more this idea of vacation,” Iulian Fota stated.
US is no longer capable of ensuring order at global level and this disorder comes with costs
Taking into account these external threats, Romania, whom the specialist dubs “the most Westernized country in this region in relation to Russia,” has entered a period of “orange code,” referring to the colour codes used by meteorologists when issuing weather advisories and warnings.
“From 1990 to 2008 we had a green code, in 2008, the end of vacation, we entered a yellow code, which is a reason for concern, but the orange code suddenly tells you to be prepared for negative consequences (…). Starting in 2014 – and this is Ukraine – I believe the international system has entered an orange code and has to be taken into account,” Iulian Fota said. He emphasised that starting in 2008 a large crisis has been on the strategic agenda almost every year, serious problems that do not have short-term solutions, problems such as the economic crisis, the Arab Spring, the destabilization of the West because of social pressures or Russia’s comeback on the security agenda.
In this sense, Fota emphasises that the world dominated by modernization and liberalism is now being replaced by one in which the Pacific, China, India and many other countries matter, not the West alone.
“The West, which has dominated the world, is sharing the arena with other states that are economically powerful, that, thanks to economic power, also have the pretention to wield political influence,” Fota stated, referring to China in particular.
He added that the US is no longer capable of ensuring order at global level and this disorder comes with costs. After the West dominated the world in the last 500 years, starting in 2008, with the onset of the economic crisis “that almost forced the West to its knees,” as Fota put it, the world understood that it is witnessing a transformation. In 2009, the appearance of G20 had a special role in stabilizing the world.
Back then it was understood that “you can no longer manage the world without the contribution of countries that are not on this list – India, Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil, China,” and these had their price within the IMF, as the former presidential advisor claimed, contributing to the growth of economic contribution on the global stage.
“You don’t even know what to put on the agenda first”
Thus, from the point of view of a former national security presidential advisor, Iulian Fota explained that a serious conflict is very possible in the near future, the threats being multiple.
“There is this custom to go meet the Head of State in the morning, especially when you are a national security advisor, and to present the serious developments, what has happened in the world, what else he has to keep in mind. Before, it was simple; now you don’t even know what to put on the agenda first and what problem to submit to his attention first,” Iulian Fota confessed, referring to the power transition we are witnessing in this period and which, as history has proved, usually takes place through war.
In what concerns the refugees crisis which seriously muddies European waters, which according to the expert was a situation whose emergence was known early on although its timing was not, he warned that migrants are coming in from countries that are refusing modernization and young people represent a significant share in their ranks, young people who are offered nothing and who basically have no outlook.
The security expert also pointed out not only the risk of armed conflict but also the cybersecurity threat that should not be neglected since “a country can be forced to its knees unless cyberdefence measures are taken.” The former presidential advisor reminded in this sense the fact that there were cases in which a simple virus resulted in plants being blown up, as happened with Stuxnet in Iran.