vineri, iulie 1, 2022

They told me so

‘I told you so.’

That’s what I’m sure most of my Romanian friends would tell me about Russia’s heavy handed assault on Ukraine — if they weren’t so polite.

Almost from the day I arrived in Bucharest in February 1998 (when Boris Yeltsin, not Vladimir Putin, was President of Russia), Romanians tried to convince me that the U.S. was naive about Russia.

There was — and is — plenty of evidence to support their view.

I remember particularly a Saturday in June 1999 as the war in Kosovo was ending. Foreign Minister Andrei Plesu called me at home to tell me the Russian ambassador had asked permission for Russian aircraft to overfly Romanian airspace to reinforce their troops in the Kosovo capital.

„Would our American friends have concerns about that?” he asked, tongue in cheek, knowing that we wanted NATO troops to get there first. „Do you perhaps doubt Russian motives?”


He’d been telling me for more than a year that U.S. hopes for democracy in Russia, while admirable, we’re simply not realistic. Now he was enjoyed helping me reconnect with his view of reality.

Obviously he was right about Russia’s interest in retaining influence in the former Yugoslavia, even to the point of propping up the dictator Slobodan Milosevic. And Russia’s continuing occupation of part of neighboring Moldova re enforced his view.

To most Romanians, Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 and seizure of Crimea today are simply part of the same story line, one that stretches back to the 18th Century.

More than anything else, that’s why Romania has spent the past quarter century trying to ally with the U.S.: fear of Russia.

Whether or not you share the Romania view of Russia (and I don’t entirely), their leaders’ laser-like focus on getting U.S. boots on their ground (which they did in 2003) and joining NATO (which they did in 2004) has been prescient and successful.

In the 1990s and today, Americans doubt that Russia would invade Romania, as they did repeatedly in the 19th and 20th centuries. I said that when I was ambassador and I believe it today.

But that’s not much comfort to Romanians. They, not we, are the ones who were occupied twice in the last hundred years by Russian troops and lived through 42 years of Russian-imposed communism. What we consider a low risk of turmoil in Europe is an existential threat to them.

That doesn’t mean that the U.S. should go to war with Russia to keep Crimea in Ukraine.

Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians are justifiably concerned about the Russian takeover. But their fight, in its narrowest terms, is not our fight.

But the larger issues — Will Russia become a modern democratic state? Can our NATO allies in Europe, including Romania, count on us to stand up for our interests and our values? — are our fight.

During the Cold War, the U.S. didn’t attack the Soviet Union when it invaded Hungary and Czechoslovakia. But we did make clear that we didn’t accept their aggression as legitimate. That we’d fight to protect West Germany, Italy, and our other NATO allies. And that we knew they were on the wrong side of history. We were right and our stance emboldened reformers from Budapest and Prague to Bucharest — and Moscow. In my visits in all these countries over the last two decades, I’ve heard that time and again.

Putin is living in the early 20th century. Ukrainians — and many ordinary Russians — are living in the early 21st.

We need to stand with them now, on the right side of history.

Distribuie acest articol


  1. It looks to me like Russia will follow its path to create the Western Buffer to „protect” the western frontier with NATO. It is not Putin calling the shots, it is Russia: it would be a mistake to identify what’s going on nowadays in Ukraine only with Putin. As a leader, the man has very strong public and political support. His approval rates in Russia are skyrocketing. The Russians have being waiting for the last 20 years for an iron fisted leader and they found him in Putin. It is the way the Russians think, behave and operate, it is in their very nature to overlook „the methodology” and applaud the results they expect.

    The ex Eastern Europe is getting nervous. They sense the way Russia is moving forwards to achieve its geostrategic goals because they were under Russian occupation for such a long time. Unfortunately there is little support from Western countries to protect their eastern members. Chancellor Merkel’s position in this matter was rather based on economics than on protecting Germany’s Eastern allies and partners. EU’s reaction and countermeasures against Russia’s recent moves, at best triggers in Moscow heated arguments and denials: usually is treated with silent contempt. Moscow is confident their economy is strong and capable of sustaining limited and well calculated aggressions. Up to date they’ve done their homework well.

    The way I see it there is little success in diplomatic negotiations with Russia. The Russians strongly believe that what they are doing is legitimate and that’s a strong motivation to carry on their plans. The „territorial reconstruction” of Mother Russia is too strong of a national resurrection incentive to be so easily overlooked by EU and US.

    No one wants a war of attrition in Europe. For the last hundred years the continent was the stage of two world wars and the cost of them was tremendous both in human life and economic destruction. Not long ago the breakup of former Yugoslavia left too many scars and pain within South Eastern Europe.

    As for Romania, the reality is sad. There are more and more voices openly contesting the advantages of EU membership and NATO’s protection within Romania. Apparently most voices are within the older population segment but nonetheless the median segment resentment is also growing as a consequence to the lack of employment, the high cost of living and in many cased meager subsistence. Are those people willing to stand up and protect Romania’s path towards western values, or they wouldn’t mind a hard rudder switch towards the East based on vague „better living standards” promises? Well, that’s a good question.

    Despite its Anti-Americanism we got so used with, EU is asking for US help. I think it is desperation rather than hypocrisy. EU doesn’t currently have the military capacity to protect its borders and interests. They need US military power to mitigate Russia’s plans for territorial expansionism. What’s in it for US? Not much I think. After a long and costly was in Iraq, after the Afghanistan debacle and the imminent pullout, there is not much incentive for the White House Administration to get entangled in a new conflict in Europe. Nonetheless the US is the only power in the world military and diplomatically capable to stop cold Russia’s desire to resurrect its 20th century empire.

    Indeed, the USA needs to stand with its European allies on the right side of the history.
    Would it do it?

  2. George Frost Kennan has already told you anything you need about Soviet Union-Russia. No one is a prophet in their own land !

  3. Thank you for your message.

    As a Romanian, during the last 5 years, I could see that Russia raised its voice and stand clear against EU, against NATO – please see the position of Russia regarding the EU and NATO enlargements.

    What can do Romania to stop this game?

    Romania officially entered in NATO and EU, but in fact its economy is still weak and under a sever attack coming from corrupted groups that affect its power and reactions against different assaults. Romanian citizens are currently under a sever attack coming from inside and outside structures. May be I am too pessimist, but a pessimist sometimes is a well informed person.

    Just to remember the attack against the Romanian currency, the games performed by an unstable coalition that hardly worked during the 2012 summer against democracy and you may notice that Romania still needs a strong support from USA and EU.

    Romania is one country from a large picture – SE Europe.
    EU is still to young for such a big game with such a big stake.

    Who and how to stop the bloody game started by Russia in Ukraine?
    I believe that the role of USA in this area will be increased in the next future.

    Keep and touch and all the best!

  4. Let me tell you my view of the situation. NATO and the US will not fight Russia for Ukraine. It is not a war to be fought. Will they fight it for Romania? Perhaps, but then there are two kinds of fightable war: wars which one can afford to lose, or at least not to win; and warswhich one cannot afford to lose. My guess is that, should Romania be under Russian attack, the war would be of the first kind.

    • I don’t think so. An attack on Romania (or Lithuania, or Hungary, or you name it) would be an attack on UK or on Germany or on any other NATO member country. If NATO (US included) differentiates between first and second-tier NATO members, the whole concept will vanish in thin air next day. It has served well the Western world for nearly three quarters of a century and I don’t think anyone is prepared to just let it go.
      Ukraine, on the other hand, is a different story. My gut feeling is that many people in Washington, perhaps even within the Pentagon, let alone in Western Europe, reckon, even though not openly, of course, that Ukraine DOES belong to Russia (or at least part of it) and that it’s not worth confronting the bear over a small pot of honey that was his in the first place anyway.
      Also, cynical as it may sound, for many Americans and Western Europeans life with the USSR wasn’t that bad after all; oil was cheap, we were rich and they were poor and there were nowhere near that many problems with terrorism; we didn’t have to send our boys to Afghanistan and get them back in plastic bags, the Russkies were taking care of that and sending over their Ivans.
      Life with the USSR was bad for Eastern Europeans, but then these countries are still far from being influential enough to determine major policy shifts.
      So I doubt Ukraine has many chances to survive in its present form, even without Crimea. The good (but selfish) part of the story is that I don’t think Russia will go beyond that; the Baltics are safe, me thinks. Moldova would be the last one left in the limbo, but hopefully it’s unimportant enough to be worth the trouble.
      That’s all, of course, just reading the tea leaves, mere speculation.

      • If Rusia will attack us, US will do nothing but ‘protest’. Germany will ‘protest’ too. That’s max you will get.

  5. Putin has only one reason to throw away money and resources for a useless bit of land like Crimea – fear of democracy.
    He’s got a growing economy, good exports, solid economical partenerships with EU countries (how come nobody notices that Netherlands – Shell – is the biggest looser if economic sanctions are imposed? not Germany..). Ukraine, even with a pro-western government is tied to Rusia forever. Might be even better if EU and IMF borrows them the money to pay those ridiculosly high gas prices.
    However, a growing economy in Rusia today means people are waking up. Next round of elections must be 100% safe because we all know how Putin treated his political adversaries and he would surely expect the same should he lose power. So my guess is that all this is just a big parade to get another 10-20% support and reinforce the „old ways”. Romania is safe for now. If Crimea would have been self sustainable, even eastern Ukraine would be safe… Putin is not a tsar, he’s just another XX century politician holding on to power as much as possible.

  6. Your Excellency,

    I would like to ask you this „What about the 1994 agreement signed by the US, UK, and Russia?” You say nothing in the article about the responsibilities the signatories of this agreement have and what happens in case one or two of them break the provisions. I am saying this for it is obvious Russia broke the agreement by taking Crimea from Ukraine and we are now in a similar situation of meaningless international agreements as we were when Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement in 1938 with Adolf Hitler.

  7. Ar fi interesant poate si pentru noi „ceilalti” sa aflam ce scrie in articol.Eu sint vorbitor si de Limba Germana,dar Limba Romana ar fi mai la indemina pentru fiecare cred eu.

  8. Just a quick note, Sir, slightly off topic. I believe is in times like this that we can better assess the lasting consequences on bilateral relations of the way the death of Teo Peter at the hands of a drunk marine was handled by the US. It’s interesting to see from this internal cable how the embassy saw things.

    At the time the financial settlement with the victim’s family was the key issue, and the amount not being large enough was feared to cause further public outrage. The financial settlement is not the biggest issue related to this incident, for sure. The biggest issue is that the marine got away with a letter of reprimand after having killed somebody. No amount of money can make up for that. It’s disappointing to see that the memo fails to mention these things. For all that talk of frienship an shared interests, it can only be implied from the incident that, for the US establishment, a drunk marine killing a citizen of a third world country is no big deal, friendly country or not. The incident made it all but impossible for any US supporter in Romania, myself included, to argue that US is a true friend who stands for justice and the rule of law.

    • Perhaps my comment might bring your posting closer to the Ambassador’s main topic. I agree that the US Army is not exactly a beacon of democracy and pristine human rights. The latest Iraq war was plagued by civilian deliberate murders and rapes by the hands of the US field units. And it doesn’t stop there! Within the US ranks more and more cases of female military sexual abuses are coming up. Although the women in question simply want to be treated as human beings by their fellow comrades, they are seen as whistle blowers and in many cases are forced to leave the army through the back door: not exactly a honorable discharge.

      It is not only the US Armed Forces. In 1993 during the Somalia debacle (please read military enforced humanitarian air) the Canadian Airborne Regiment was simply disbanded and their unit flag was confiscated (within the Canadian media was labeled The Somalia Affair). Two members of the aforementioned regiment had tortured and killed a local guy. The Canadian public opinion was outraged and immediately called for a public enquiry. Shortly after the regiment was simply disbanded and all professional soldiers were sent home or dispersed to other units. Please keep in mind this was an elite regiment, perhaps the best trained and equipped unit the Canadian Forces ever had since the end of the WW2. It had a huge blow upon the morale of the Canadian Armed Forces.

      Yes, what those two soldiers did was gruesome. Was it less gruesome when they witnessed in silence the happy civilian crowd’s cheers while their American comrade’s corpse was dragged on the streets of Mogadishu behind a pickup truck until it was reduced to a chunk of dusty and bloody bones? And they did nothing as I closely watch many years ago the public enquiry.

      Little was said about the Somalia victim as being a thief and repeatedly being caught stealing small arms, ammunitions, and food and personal belongings from the Canadian soldiers. Eventually he was restrained, tortured and executed as a warning sign for the locals. Indeed, gruesome and unthinkable thing to do, isn’t it? If one lives in hell that one must adapt to hell’s rules and conditions otherwise he’ll perish in no time. The western culture and civilization turns into dust rather quickly.

      Okay, so far I agree with you: there are deep troubles within the US military and they should get their stuff together and address them properly. But then I have a question: why do you ask for their help if they are so twisted and wicked? If there is so little support for the US military in Romania why not simply ask them to leave? Romania should rapidly build its own powerful, well armed and trained armed force and proudly and successfully defend its borders. Firmly ask the USA to dismantle their base at Deveselu, evacuate the Kogalniceanu military facility and get the hell out of Romania in a rush!

      Well, that’s easy to say but difficult to attain, isn’t it? Because there is no much of a Romanian military capacity, isn’t it? But then again, if one keeps asking for help and at the same time criticizes the help being offered, I think that behaviour have much to do with what is called hypocrisy.

      Perhaps there is another solution, easier to achieve and it looks like the government in Bucharest is working assiduously behind the doors to achieve that goal. Is called Kremlin and I have a feeling it involves the Russian army. Well, perhaps that would be a beacon of unflinching human rights. Good luck with that.

      • what I am trying to say is that one screw-up is all it takes to undo the good work done by a lot of good people, and the US should know that. they should know that better than anybody, I might add. it just doesn’t make sense to spend so much effort selling yourself as the champion of freedom and justice around the world, in order to win the „hearts and minds” and all, but when something does happen, bring in precisely the kind of „justice” that would be expected of some kind of 19th century colonial master. if your acts play right into the stereotypes of the anti-american propaganda, you may as well save yourself some money and take it easy on the PR. it’s going to sound like cheap sales talk anyway, which is sad precisely because there are good people out there who actually mean these things. one big screw-up is all it takes to make the foreign policy sound like this ad (except it’s no joke in this case).

        regardless of how much we may need each other for commercial or geo-strategic reasons, the relationship is either based on minimum mutual respect, or it’s not. that’s a separate thing and it’s important.

        • I was simply making the aforementioned point: mistakes are being made. No one is perfect r2, leave aside the US. I deliberately emphasized on well-known examples of military misbehaviour. I thought that someone will bring up some comparison between the Americans (or Canadians) and the Russians. I avoided any comment on Kremlin, its army or what’s currently going on in Ukraine. Surprisingly enough no one bothered to pick up the stick and drew the line in the sand.

          The Americans are used with a blunder, that’s hardly news. There is no such thing as pristine behaviour from any super-power r2. We both know that. The fact that I would back-up NATO and the Americans out of any other „competitive” super-power (take China or Russia) is my choice alone.

          The distinction between the US (this is my humble opinion and nothing else) and the Russian or, the Chinese is that the Americans can take criticism and are capable of re-adjusting their position (and sometimes their behavior). The other guys, well, not much I think.

          Just out of curiosity r2, what make you think I’m running an anti-American scheme?

          • I don’t suspect you of running an anti american scheme, north of 60. we know each other for some time, don’t we :) by „you” I meant the US decision makers. they are the ones who, at times, act as if they are trying really hard to confirm the stereotypes of the anti american propaganda.

            have a great day ahead.

            • Oh, I see what you mean: the US decision makers. Yes, that is true. Sometimes I wonder if some of the State Department officials were specifically assigned the task of ruining and compromising the US foreign policy. In some occasions they surely seem to do just that. And yes, occasionally they succeed with flying colors. That sends back to square one the work and efforts of thousands of people. You’ve got no argument from me on this issue.

      • Daca tot vrei sa faci propaganda antiamericana pe site-uri romanesti poate n-ar strica sa inveti limba! Nu m-am obosit sa-ti urmaresc toata postarea. Dar pot sa-ti spun ce a urmat dupa Somalia: Ruanda! Acolo trupele americane n-au mai intervenit si a urmat un frumos genocid in care au pierit 900.000 de oameni. Dupa care ONU a adoptat o rezolutie privind „dreptul la protectie”. In virtutea lui s-a intervenit in Libia de catre NATO. Scandal monstru la Kremlin! Dupa care nu s-a mai intervenit in Siria. Rezultat: intre 100.000 si 200.000 de morti si vreo trei milioane de refugiati. Si eu cred ca nu se va interveni de catre NATO in Ucraina, chiar daca unii, mai ales statele din estul Europei ar dori-o. Dar ce va urma?

        • Dora,
          Vorbesc, scriu si citesc bine romaneste. Nu am facut decat sa postez la un articol scris in limba engleza. Nu este vina mea ca d-nul Ambasador a folosit romana in loc de engleza. Daca ai o problema cu asta te sfatuiesc sa te adresezi redactiei Contributors si sa le ceri o explicatie.
          Da, este evident ca nu ai citit comentriul, pentru ca nu am facut propaganda nic pro si nici contra americana. Mi-am exprimat punctul de vedere la comentariul postat de r2. Iar omul a fost rezonabil si civilizat in exprimare.
          Nu o lua ca o ofensa, dar poate ca ar fi bine sa intelegi ce vrea sa spuna un comentator inainte de a emite replici dure.

      • In the context of this article, imho the Teo Peter affair is off-topic. Your own Mogadishu example is even more off the track – was anyone torturing US soldiers in Bucharest??? Was Teo Peter an arms smuggler, was that marine on duty, fighting for his life every day etc.???
        That accident and the fallout were sad stories, but again, in the context of this article are just a distraction.
        I am a lot more interested in the last paragraph of your post. Would you bother to elaborate a bit more? Apart from Mr. Blanculescu’s bewildering statements (but then Mr. Blanculescu is who he is, so it’s only that much value one can place on his words), what else makes you believe the gov’t is working – and not just working, but working assiduously!!! – towards observing the Kremlin’s wishes and somehow including the Russian army in the mix?
        To me things look quite differently – but as a fracking opponent I realize my thinking is probably biased so I’m curious about a different perspective. Thx.

        • Numerous articles, interviews and analysis are pointing to the course of action I mentioned in my last paragraph. Among the authors is Ian Bremmer (President of the Eurasia Group), Stephen Cohen (Professor, New York and Princeton Universities) Henry Kissinger, Vitaly Churkin (Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN) and other personalities I can’t remember their full names. Most concerning is Chancellor Merkel’s hesitation on Ukraine’s crisis. It looks like she has been pushed to the second row at the negotiation table (there are claims the negotiations are conducted directly between Washington and Kremlin). If the EU lacks its full mandate at the negotiation table this matter should raise some questions. Also the EU is being accused by the US for being too slow and indecisive in taking economic actions against Russia.

          I understand Chancellor Merkel’s difficult position: the German banks, industry and diplomacy have heavy investments in Russia. Eventually one has to stand up for the principles him or her claim to guide the course of action. It didn’t happen so far.

          Some of the aforementioned authors had made troubling statements about Bucharest’s duplicity in this game. There are too many warning signs to simply ignore the trend. As for Bucharest’s public position, sorry, I won’t even consider their statements. Also, some of the authors are pointing fingers towards the coincidences between Budapest’s and Bucharest’s new diplomatic approaches towards Moscow. I do not wish to get into details, please read and watch the articles and shows. I suggest you should start with Charlie Rose’s interviews with the people mentioned above: it’s a good starting point.

          As for the fracking issue, I don’t think this matter has significant relevance for our topic. I’m not a fracking enthusiast however this doesn’t make me a full believer in the „100% green energy policy” at all.

  9. I am of the same sentiment as r2. After that „incident” the romanian people woke up from the Dreams of democracy and „Liberté Égalité Fraternité ” that USA-EU-NATO were weaving . Romania is merely an expendable pawn in a chess game between the East and the West, and the romanian people INSIGNIFICANT.

  10. May God give this happen

    „Victoria Nuland: In the future, the U.S. will focus on the fight against corruption in the Balkans, Central and Eastern”
    de Alina Neagu
    Vineri, 11 aprilie 2014, 10:42

    SUA se vor concentra pe lupta impotriva coruptiei in Europa Centrala si de Est si in Balcani, in stransa colaborare cu Uniunea Europeana, pentru a ajuta tarile din aceasta regiune sa aiba o guvernare curata, mass-media independenta si o societate civila puternica, afirma Victoria Nuland, asistentul secretarului de stat american pentru afaceri europene si eurasiatice. Victoria Nuland spune ca in unele tari din centrul, estul Europei si Balcani se observa o „tendinta ingrijoratoare ca aspiratiile cetatenilor sa fie calcate in picioare in interesul oligarhilor corupti”, care „isi folosesc banii si influenta pentru a inabusi opozitia politica, pentru a cumpara politicieni si mass-media, pentru a slabi independenta justitiei si drepturile ONG-urilor”.

    Oficialul american mai spune ca se poate observa o proportie tot mai mare de oligarhi si politicieni corupti care lucreaza impreuna, inclusiv dincolo de frontierele nationale, dispusi sa se sustina reciproc pentru a-si mentine influenta si sa isi conserve banii ce alimenteaza acest sistem. Victoria Nuland subliniaza ca „un astfel de sistem corupt nu numai ca slabeste democratia din interior, insa face o tara vulnerabila si la influentele din afara granitelor, care ar dori sa exercite o presiune nejustificata asupra politicilor economice, politicilor de stat si luarea deciziilor. „Cu alte cuvinte, in multe parti ale Europei, lupta impotriva coruptiei trebuie sa fie o prioritate nationala mare, cu scopul de a apara democratia si suveranitatea unor state”, spune Victoria Nuland.

    Pentru conformitate:

  11. Foreign Affairs; Now a Word From X
    Published: May 2, 1998

    His voice is a bit frail now, but the mind, even at age 94, is as sharp as ever. So when I reached George Kennan by phone to get his reaction to the Senate’s ratification of NATO expansion it was no surprise to find that the man who was the architect of America’s successful containment of the Soviet Union and one of the great American statesmen of the 20th century was ready with an answer.

    ”I think it is the beginning of a new cold war,” said Mr. Kennan from his Princeton home. ”I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves. We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. [NATO expansion] was simply a light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs.”

    ”What bothers me is how superficial and ill informed the whole Senate debate was,” added Mr. Kennan, who was present at the creation of NATO and whose anonymous 1947 article in the journal Foreign Affairs, signed ”X,” defined America’s cold-war containment policy for 40 years. ”I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe. Don’t people understand? Our differences in the cold war were with the Soviet Communist regime. And now we are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.

    ”And Russia’s democracy is as far advanced, if not farther, as any of these countries we’ve just signed up to defend from Russia,” said Mr. Kennan, who joined the State Department in 1926 and was U.S. Ambassador to Moscow in 1952. ”It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are — but this is just wrong.”

    One only wonders what future historians will say. If we are lucky they will say that NATO expansion to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic simply didn’t matter, because the vacuum it was supposed to fill had already been filled, only the Clinton team couldn’t see it. They will say that the forces of globalization integrating Europe, coupled with the new arms control agreements, proved to be so powerful that Russia, despite NATO expansion, moved ahead with democratization and Westernization, and was gradually drawn into a loosely unified Europe. If we are unlucky they will say, as Mr. Kennan predicts, that NATO expansion set up a situation in which NATO now has to either expand all the way to Russia’s border, triggering a new cold war, or stop expanding after these three new countries and create a new dividing line through Europe.

    But there is one thing future historians will surely remark upon, and that is the utter poverty of imagination that characterized U.S. foreign policy in the late 1990′s. They will note that one of the seminal events of this century took place between 1989 and 1992 — the collapse of the Soviet Empire, which had the capability, imperial intentions and ideology to truly threaten the entire free world. Thanks to Western resolve and the courage of Russian democrats, that Soviet Empire collapsed without a shot, spawning a democratic Russia, setting free the former Soviet republics and leading to unprecedented arms control agreements with the U.S.

    And what was America’s response? It was to expand the NATO cold-war alliance against Russia and bring it closer to Russia’s borders.

    Yes, tell your children, and your children’s children, that you lived in the age of Bill Clinton and William Cohen, the age of Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger, the age of Trent Lott and Joe Lieberman, and you too were present at the creation of the post-cold-war order, when these foreign policy Titans put their heads together and produced . . . a mouse.

    We are in the age of midgets. The only good news is that we got here in one piece because there was another age — one of great statesmen who had both imagination and courage.

    As he said goodbye to me on the phone, Mr. Kennan added just one more thing: ”This has been my life, and it pains me to see it so screwed up in the end.”


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Jim Rosapepe
Jim Rosapepe served as the US Ambassador to Romania from 1998-2001. The New York Times described him as ""vigorous and omnipresent (as) American Ambassador". From 2001-2006, he served on the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, and since, 2007, in the Maryland State Senate. He currently heads an investment firm active in the US and Europe and serves the boards of several funds investing in Eastern Europe and other emerging markets. He has written about economic and security issues in Europe in The Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun and The Harvard International Review. With his wife, former ABC news correspondent Sheilah Kast, he is the co-author of “Dracula Is Dead: How Romanians Survived Communism, Ended it, and Emerged as the New Italy Since 1989”, a travel literature book.

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