Robert Kaplan is worried about Moldova. He didn’t come out and say it, but it almost felt like he was going to do a full on McCain and claim "We’re all Moldovans now."
The place sounds like a mess. His July 9, 2014 piece, originally in Stratfor, titled Why Moldova Urgently Matters certainly makes one think that the denizens of that god-awful spot, as Kaplan describes it, have a reason to care. Bob does not tell us why the United States should.
He opens by quoting Iulian Fota, Romania’s presidential national security adviser that “NATO’s Article 5 offers little protection against Vladimir Putin’s Russia.” Well that’s worrisome; after all, Romania is a NATO member. Was Putin, fresh from not invading the Ukraine about to send his divisions to Bucharest? Not to worry, it is subversion the Dacians have to fret. You know, the stuff Victoria Nuland was caught doing red handed.
And, what is that subversive threat Mr. Kaplan is worried about? Why it’s "intelligence activities, the running of criminal networks, the buying-up of banks and other strategic assets, and indirect control of media organs to undermine public opinion." That’s the usual stuff big powers engage in. Ah, but those sinister Russkies take it a step further, "Article 5 does not protect Eastern Europe against reliance on Russian energy." Romania itself has hydrocarbons, but somehow, it’s a problem to worry about.
Yeah, but wasn’t this about Moldova? Sure, but let’s let Bob finish up with the Romanians. They know just how evil Vlad the non-Impaler is, "Putin’s Russia will not fight conventionally for territory in the former satellite states, but unconventionally for hearts and minds." What a dirty fighter.
He does get to Moldova and has convinced me, it’s a wreck. So what to do? Can Bob guide us? From what he wrote, one should not be confident, "I am not here providing a fully fleshed-out policy toward Moldova or the other states facing Russia. I am saying only that there are incalculable human costs to Western inaction. And Western action must mean a whole-of-government approach — political, intelligence, economics and so forth — in order to counter what the Russians are doing."
Should we listen to Bob? He made a big splash in a 1994 Atlantic article, The Coming Anarchy. Kaplan’s writes well and convincingly. The article starts off in an Africa that is going to hell in a hand basket. Twenty years on, the Dark Continent still has problems, but hasn’t rotted on any schedule a reader of the article would have anticipated. Your man has made a cottage industry of books and articles about sad places.
Still contributing to the Atlantic, his April 2014 In Defense of Empire waxes poetical about being under an Imperium, "Throughout history, governance and relative safety have most often been provided by empires." Bob does not mention the most salient fact about empires, they all die. Notice we do not currently exchange ambassadors with the Imperial Rome or the Sublime Porte.
I’m glad Bob isn’t "providing a fully fleshed-out policy" for the Moldies. He was part of the biggest U.S. failure of the new millennium to date. He “participated in a secret meeting convened by then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz,” and “helped draft an internal government document advocating the invasion of Iraq.”
To his credit, Kaplan admitted to the error and to deep remorse. That has not led to anyone thinking maybe Bob’s not the heavy hitter we thought. He is still published in the Atlantic and is Chief Geopolitical Analyst at Stratfor, which if past is prologue, means the guy in charge of getting it wrong.
Kaplan is definitely ahead of the curve on this one. No one has noticed the place and maybe he can smell a book. Bob’s last sentence is, "I fear for Moldova." I’ll give him his warm heart, but the article never gets to whom Moldova really matters. From his description of the place, getting out would be what matters urgently to the residents.
Still, you’re really stretching if you’re seeing the next big crisis in that Nowheresville.
There’s got to be a pipeline or something involved?
Richard Morchoe is a columnist, book reviewer and article writer for a regional monthly magazine in Western Central Massachusetts. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.