While much of the world’s attention is once again on the Middle East, we should not lose focus on Eastern Europe.
In recent weeks, the rhetoric has ratcheted up, and so has the movement of troops and supplies.
As Russia continues to pour more military assets into the newly-annexed Crimea, concerns are that a bigger push into Ukraine and, possibly, Moldova may follow.
Earlier this week, Romania’s Prime Minister, and frontrunner in the country’s November presidential election, said that Moldova and Romania should be unified ahead of the 100-year anniversary of the first great reunification that occurred in 1918.
The reaction across parts of Moldova and Russia was horror.
Moldova, like neighboring Ukraine, is a divided country, with a Romanian-speaking majority and a Russian-speaking minority.
Having been there many times, I can attest that one easily recognizes the division. My forthcoming book Geopolitics, Development, and National Security: Romania and Moldova at the Crossroads (New York; Springer) details this further.
In addition, Russia has effectively controlled the region of Transnistria for 25 years, which lies between Ukraine and Moldova.
For all of this, NATO is laying low, hoping not to provoke a Russian response in the Black Sea or Baltic regions.
Dishearteningly, Russia’s Putin reportedly boasted to the Ukrainian president that Russian troops could be in five NATO capitals within a mere two days.