Thursday, January 28, 2010

Moldova's war

It has been suggested by some sections of the media, possibly correctly, that the quid-pro-quo for the $262m 'compact' grant package offered by the USA to Moldova is Moldova's participation in the war in Afghanistan.

War is not a pleasant thing for any government or people to contemplate.  Were Moldova to join the international forces in Afghanistan, it would just be a matter of time before young Moldovan men in the prime of their life would begin returning in body bags.  This is a fact not lost on the communists and other opponents of the AIE government.

And yet, Moldova should be in Afghanistan.  Why?

  1. Failed states are everyone's problem.  Somali pirates attack shipping under all flags with impunity because Somalia has no government capable of calling them to account.  Congolese rebels leave a trail of murder, rape and destruction behind them, not just in the Congo, but also in Burundi, Rwanda & Angola.  Islamic terrorists trained in Afghanistan have attacked not only the United States, but also the UK, Spain, India & Indonesia.
  2. Moldova needs to prove itself as part of the solution rather than part of the problem.  By participating, even in a small, largely symbolic way to the peacemaking effort, Moldova will earn brownie points with its international partners and will be rewarded in a number of largely unseen but important ways (e.g. intelligence sharing and a stronger voice in international forums)
  3. The people of Afghanistan need and deserve help (just like the people of Moldova need and deserve help).  Moldova's contribution doesn't necessarily have to be at the sharp end of the fighting in Kandahar and Helmand, but could instead be focussed on practical measures to help the Afghan people (e.g. engineering works - school building, sanitation, power reticulation etc.)
Traian Basescu's faux-pas at Otopeni yesterday may have in fact contained a grain of truth; Cahul and Kabul really aren't that far apart.

PS:  Some commentators have suggested that Moldova's participation alongside NATO in Afghanistan might annoy the Russians.  If you think about it, however, this is illogical.  One of the countries with the most to lose from a NATO failure in Afghanistan is Russia.  Should the NATO force pack up and go home, leaving Afghanistan once again to the Taliban and assorted warlords, Russia's underbelly in Central Asia will become a zone of instability.  Weapons and money will flow more easily from Afghanistan to the separatists of the north Caucasus.  Russia's own large muslim population may itself be drawn to Taliban / Al Qaeda leadership.


  1. I don't think that Moldova's, or anyone elses presence in Afghanistan is actually helping, but that is a different issue.

    It is true that Russia has much to lose from a NATO failure in Afghanistan, and it is also true that NATO is dependent on Russias cooperation for dealing with Afghanistan. That is one reason the west won't be tough with Russia on issues like Georgia, Transnistria or Moldova... If Obama must choose between Afghanistan and Moldova, he will choose Afghanistan.

  2. For a more detailed analysis in Romanian, please see ""