Monday, March 15, 2010

Conditional Neutrality

One of the points of discussion in the new constitution is whether the document should continue to require Moldova's neutrality.

In general terms, military neutrality is a valid option.  If a country is surrounded by peaceful neighbours and there are no immediate threats, the arguments for being part of a military alliance are nullified.  Another situation is where a country is jammed between opposing blocks and doesn't want to get caught in the crossfire (e.g. Austria & Finland during the Cold War).

In Moldova's case, neutrality has just made the country weak and defenceless in the face of very real aggressors who control a large chunk of the country's territory (the Russians and Transnistrians), so it would actually seem reasonable for Moldova to seek to enter a military alliance (NATO being the obvious one) for its own self-defence.

The problem is that, were the AIE to drop the neutrality provision from the constitution, the Communists would kick up such a fuss and misinform the electorate to the extent that the new constitution may not pass.  Indeed, Serafim Urechean indicated earlier today that the neutrality provision would not change.

Maybe we can be a bit cleverer, and use this issue to Moldova's benefit?  What if the neutrality clause were to read like this:

"Moldova will maintain its neutrality until the 31st of December 2010.  If, as at that date, military or paramilitary forces not under the control of the Moldovan state are operating on the territory of the Republic of Moldova, then Moldova will cease to be a neutral state and can enter into military alliances.  If, on the 31st of December 2010, the only military force operating on the territory of the Republic of Moldova is the Moldovan Army and the constitutional authorities have control over all of Moldova's territory, then Moldova will continue to be a neutral state, such status to be revoked immediately upon the unauthorised insertion of military force onto Moldova's territory."

Basically it would be a less-than-subtle message to Russians:  If you want Moldova to be neutral, take your soldiers home and withdraw your support from Transnistria.  Otherwise Moldova will introduce NATO forces to balance yours.

Furthermore, the Communists would find themselves arguing with an idea that is genuinely popular, i.e. the withdrawal of Russian forces.

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