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16 noiembrie 2018 - Special reports - Weekly review


Monitorul Apărării şi Securităţii

Sursă foto: Mediafax

I. US. Congressional elections bring a limited victory for the Democrats and ... the forced resignation of the Attorney General. The Sino-American dialogue re-launched.

II. RUSSIA. A Russian fighter has intercepted an American electronic warfare and reconnaissance aircraft over the Black Sea. Trident Juncture had an important “Russian presence”. The Austrian-Russian relations: it’s a short walk from heaven to diplomatic hell. Russia held elections in the separatist region.

III. EUROPEAN UNION: the Hungarian Foreign Minister visited Bucharest. French President Emmanuel Macron brings again to attention the European Army issue. The European People's Party (EPP) Congress sends a message that is not heard in Budapest.

IV. BELARUS. Alexander Lukashenko opposes Russian troop deployment on the territory of his country.

V. This week 46 – developments to track.


I. US. Congressional elections bring a limited victory for the Democrats and ... the forced resignation of the Attorney General.

The midterm elections for the Congress offer an expected outcome: victory in the House of Representatives for Democrats (225 to 197), while Republicans still keep the Senate, the upper chamber of the Congress (51 to 46). The result follows a traditional pattern: President Donald Trump lost a Republican-dominated Congress. Not that he had done a lot while the Republicans controlled both Congress chambers. In fact, he did only a few things: tax cuts for the upper class (but not yet for the middle class), de-regulation of the banking system (paving the way to a possible future crisis), the obliteration of “Obamacare” (without putting anything in its place) and several anti-immigration laws. D.Trump transformed the fight against immigration into the central pillar of the election campaign, although he could have used the economic growth as a more convincing …trump. The election result has a special meaning: the fate of the president, far from being decided, still remains at stake. He can now be subjected to the suspension by the House of Representatives controlled by the Democrats, but he might retain his Office due to the allied Senate who would eventually judge him. The president would grow weak, but chances are to be rescued if he succeeds in preventing the committee that investigates him from obtaining enough evidence so as not to allow the Democrats in the House to trigger the impeachment procedures, and so providing the Allied Senate with the necessary conditions to save him. The US midterm elections have had a balanced outcome that leaves open both possibilities, that of a co-operation or a conflict between Democrats and President Donald Trump. Naturally, after both sides announced the first path, D. Trump took the first steps for the second one: the de facto dismissal of the Attorney General and the temporary appointment, without consulting the Senate, of somebody who was not the next in line for this position.

Since America is divided, the vote remained racial. A few changes have taken place though: some white, educated, middle-class voters returned to the Democratic camp. While the Republicans, more pro-Trump than ever, have migrated to the right, the Democrats have kept themselves to the left (American left) by caring for minorities. Maybe they will have learnt something from having lost a great deal of votes by supporting too progressive-minded candidates, i.e. too much to the left. The center consisting of the middle class and the white laborers is to be conquered during the presidential election campaign triggered by President D. Trump's announcement that he would run for 2020.

Domestically, the low taxes for the middle class as well as the health system issues will probably lead to a blockage due to different approaches of the two sides. Democrats will do their utmost to block President's initiatives in domestic policy. However, they will be more careful when it comes to the tolerance towards illegal migration, because the majority of Caucasian voters oppose it despite the support received from a liberal press. The President will face a direct attack and the battle will involve the Robert Mueller Commission, which might provide the necessary evidence for the President's impeachment, as well as the president’s financial problems (the tax evasion is obvious for many, but this must be proven). Therefore, D. Trump will focus on the struggle for survival. He is sure enough that the Senate will not allow his impeachment, but only as long as strong incriminating evidence does not appear. That is why Robert Mueller Commission and the investigation of President's financial past will be the central point of the entire American political life. D. Trump will continue to use all the means available to defend himself, as he already did, by forcing the resignation of the Attorney General, but risking of being accused of justice obstruction. The US is to witness two years of "Trumpgate" and, regardless of the outcome, will be in a permanent internal crisis, although some of its consequences will be diluted by the strength of the American democratic institutions.

Abroad, the negative effects of this situation will be mitigated by the agreement the conservative Republicans and the Democrats will reach over the two major issues, Russia and China, and even on those issues where the prospects are very different, such as sanctions against Iran.

For Romania, the negative effects will be reduced, as, in our case, Trump Administration's foreign policy will keep the known directions. The only dangerous situation would the "Saigon phenomenon": a weak President, named not elected, who allows an ally to be occupied, as South Vietnam was, because President Ford did not allow USAF to stop the North Vietnamese offensive. But this would be an exceptional situation, although we must not forget that both Russian aggressions in Ukraine and Syria took place also because Vladimir Putin considered President Barak Obama to be a weak adversary “with principles”, who will not help the victims. Of course, there is also NATO, which South Vietnam did not belong to…

The Sino-American dialogue re-launched. The two world’s powerful actors, US and China, have talked with each other but did not reach any agreement yet. Discussing issues directly, despite their completely opposite perspectives, is commendable though, and leaves the door open for a peaceful negotiation of differences and not allowing the competition to turn into adversity. On October the 9th, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and the Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met their US counterparts, the State Secretary Mike Pompeo and the US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Washington DC. Although the meeting used to take place regularly, it had been suspended for a relatively long time. The conclusion was that there would not be a "cold war" between the two countries, although the problems still persist. Mike Pompeo said that "the United States is not pursuing a Cold War or containment policy with China. Rather, we want to ensure that China act responsibly and fairly in support of security and prosperity in each of our two countries". Reverting to the US traditional position, M. Pompeo denounced China's repression against the Uyghur minority. He also reaffirmed that the United States recognizes only one China, although it opposes to China's efforts to isolate Taiwan. The main accusation was China's behavior in the South China Sea, issue on which no agreement was found. Jim Mattis said that the two countries' militaries are looking to increase their level of communication to avoid incidents at sea. He also reiterated that the US will continue its flights and navigate its vessels in the waters of the South China Sea, now claimed by China as territorial waters, after having occupied, strengthened and militarized the main islands there. Chinese representatives replied by saying that their country allows free navigation and accused the US of militarizing the region: "The Chinese side made it clear to the United States that it should stop sending its vessels and military aircraft close to Chinese islands and reefs and stop actions that undermine China's sovereignty and security interests”. The US side did not mention the economic dispute, which will be discussed by President Xi Jinping with President D. Trump at the G20 summit meeting. The Chinese side reaffirmed its position that an economic war, rather than providing a solution, would instead affect both sides and that the door to the negotiations remains open. The American answer came later through Peter Navarro, D. Trump's economic advisor, who reminded that "China had made empty promises to previous presidents and that Trump would not back down. The game that China has played is to sound reasonable while they keep having their way”. The US is most concerned about the theft of high technology, which has allowed China to become competitive and develop its industry, including the defense sector. This week, the US accused China of violating the agreement according to which the two states should abstain from cyber spying. China will be forced to change its behavior, the first signs of US sanctions becoming visible in its economy. China has not yet found an alternative to the US trade, so the United States has the upper hand, which allows it to stand its ground and reject China's hollow promises. Finally, Beijing has an equally cynical partner who no longer accepts compromises. D. Trump will hardly negotiate trade relations with China, being encouraged by both the first results and that the ground he gained in other disputes (NAFTA). But in the long run, if the US does not find a solution, its debt bomb clock is ticking louder and louder.


Regarding the South China Sea, the two countries will continue their current policies, hoping that there will be no incident. At stake is not only the occupation of several islands and claiming marginal areas, remote from the coasts of China mainland, as territorial waters, but one of the principles - stated by Hugo Grotius in Mare Liberum since 1609 - that allowed Western capitalism to develop: the sea is an international territory and all nations are free to sail and trade. Instead, China sees the South China Sea as a national territory to be seized by grabbing rocks//islands and then militarizing them. So, we finally come to the big issue: in both trade and international rules, China has a choice to make between yielding to the US by reforming its economy, which means changes in its communist political system too, or continuing the current way by disrespecting the rules created by the West, which will lead to confrontation. If we add to all this that China, although it does not export its political system, exercises a colonial-style economic policy, capturing resources in complicity with the corrupt elite in the target countries, and in the Western nations the technology theft is its main goal, then the confrontation perspective can not be avoided.

So, if no solutions to the economic conflict with the US are found soon, premises of a "cold war" might emerge. China knows that it has a choice to make between changing its ways and confronting the US. But it seems that it does not want to make that choice yet, since inviting to dialogue and outtalking administration after the administration was a strategy that worked so well. But the cynics can no longer be fooled as were those with principles.


II. RUSSIA. A Russian fighter has intercepted an American electronic warfare and reconnaissance aircraft over the Black Sea.

On November 11th, an American EP-3 electronic warfare and reconnaissance aircraft flying in international airspace over the Black Sea was intercepted by a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 “Flanker” fighter. The US side announced that the interception was dangerous, the Russian jet making two high-speed passes in front of the US airplane, generating risks to the crew, especially as the Russian fighter coupled the afterburner during the second passing. The interaction lasted for 25 minutes, while the Russian aircraft did not respond to any of the American hailing. The US side said the Russian airplane acted irresponsibly, urging Moscow to comply with international standards and adhere to the 1972 bilateral agreement to prevent incidents at sea and in the adjacent airspace. It was also stated that the American plane complied with international standards and did not seek to provoke a Russian reaction. Subsequently, the US side reported that the American aircraft had the transponder open and that the incident took place at 10.00.

The Russian side confirmed the incident, stating that the Russian fighter received an intercept order after an unidentified aircraft had approached the Russian airspace, but the interception was conducted with all the safety measures. The incident occurred in the West part of the Black Sea, so "the Russian air space" is supposed to be that of Crimea’s.

First of all, was the interception dangerous? The images provided by the American side show that it was dangerous indeed. Secondly, who does not tell the truth? How was the aircraft flying? Referring to the flight tracking system, which displays flights’ routes on the Internet, one can see an airplane (the only one without the flight code of a civilian flight) which on November 5th, at 10.00 hours flew parallel to Crimea and at a great distance (almost on the middle line between the Crimea and the western shore of the Black Sea). So, the American plane had the transponder open and did not head towards the Crimean airspace, therefore it was not a danger. Such flights are often considered to be strictly necessary by NATO, since advanced radio-electronic reconnaissance is a mean to monitor Russian actions: this very week 45, the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that Russia had launched several cruise missiles during a military exercise conducted in October 2018.

The Russian military capabilities in Crimea are comparable to those in Kaliningrad, dangerously high. It is not excluded that Russia has deployed missiles infringing The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Why did the Russian side react so aggressively now? The answer is political. Probably the Kremlin has considered that an aggressive response is the best answer to the NATO exercise in Norway or maybe to the US announcement of withdrawal from INF.


Trident Juncture had an important “Russian presence”. The Trident Juncture exercise entered the headquarters phase, fortunately ending the tactical phase in the field with no incidents[1]. Russia dangerously interfered with the NATO exercise by sending its strategic bombers into the exercise area in addition to observation ships (routine action in such situations). Thus, no less than four flights of Tu 95 / Tu 142 Russian strategic bombers took place this week 45 over the Norwegian Sea, dangerously close to allied ships (a Tu 142 flew in the close vicinity of the command ship of the exercise, USS Mount Whitney). Norwegian F16 fighters were forced to conduct real interception flights, while the Russian aircraft did not have their transponders open, thus posing a threat to the air security. Russia has jammed the GPS signal in the North-Eastern part of Norway (Finnmark province) endangering civilian flights over Norway and Finland (a NOTAM was launched as a warning).

Also, on November 3rd, Russia sent into the area its most powerful warship in the North Fleet, the nuclear-powered battlecruiser “Pyotr Velikiy”. Russia has thus shown its dissatisfaction with the NATO organized exercise in the "proximity of its borders" (1,000 km away!) and sent an unequivocal signal about the future of its relations with NATO.


The Austrian-Russian relations: it’s a short walk from heaven to diplomatic hell. Austria, the European nation that seemed to have the most stable and effective relationship with Russia, especially since the far right-wing is in power along with the right-wing, had to make it public that Russia is spying on its territory. On November 9th, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced that a high Austrian officer spied several decades for Russia, from 1990 to the present. Sebastian Kurz had to acknowledge the situation: "If the suspicion is confirmed, such cases... do not improve relations between Russia and the European Union. For the moment we are demanding transparent information from the Russian side".

As a first reaction, Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl (far right-wing), who danced with V. Putin during her wedding party, had to cancel her visit to Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was unpleasantly surprised, saying Russia is not aware of this case. Austria was warned by a partner agency, apparently by the German agency. The targeted sector was that of armament systems, probably the armored personnel carriers a field in which Austria excels. The country that seemed to be able to co-operate with Moscow, found that it was yet another target on the Kremlin’s long list. The Austrian tolerance to Russian subversive actions will end, even with a government that includes the pro-Kremlin extreme right-wing. Most likely the economic relations will remain at a high level.

What is important to notice is that when Austria is the subject of Russian aggression, it mentions the EU, and that says a lot about where European nations are coming from as far as Moscow is concerned. As for Russia, since the idea of friendship or normal relations is missing from the Kremlin's portfolio, all that remains are submissive countries or adversaries.


RUSSIA held elections in the separatist region. On November 11th, Russia organized elections in the separatist region of Ukraine, adding yet another source of military conflict to those in Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Crimea. Thus, Russia is securing an advanced outpost for future wars when it would have the economic, military and diplomatic capacity to face international reactions. Elections are considered illegal by Ukraine as well as by the entire international community. Therefore, Russia cannot impose its point of view in the UN Security Council, i.e. to present them as local elections ... although they are aimed at legitimizing separatist leaders. The US, who announced new sanctions against Russia, deems the elections a "charade" meant to offer a false legitimacy to Moscow's leaders placed in power in the "republics" of Donetsk and Luhansk. In this way, the Minsk Agreements remain only the precarious basis of an armistice but nothing of what were sought when signed: a peace process, and a fair and lasting settlement of the conflict. The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the elections "illegal and represent yet another example of Russian subversive activity." Russia denied that the elections would violate in any way the Minsk Agreements, because it needs to refer to these agreements to force Kyiv to give up politically in front of the separatist leaders chosen by Moscow and "legitimized" by these elections. Dmitry Peskov said that "the deplorable situation in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements" was caused by Kyiv's lack of will to implement them. So, why Kyiv does not politically surrender yet although there is an entire Russian army present in Donbass, directly or through the separatist intercessors? Because the West has supported it and thus it can resist the Russian armed aggression.

As for "the elections," there is not much to comment on. Suffice to say that Russia invoked the death of Alexander Zakharchenko to organize them. He was killed in an assault by individuals the "separatist justice" could not identify (Where is his bodyguard who would be one of the assassins? Has he crossed the border? Which border, because he never got to Ukraine?). The only certainty is the “elections” result ... already announced by the Ukrainian secret service: Denis Pushilin (a character so reputable that until the arrival of the Russian troops in Donbass ... he ran a pyramid scheme!) and Leonid Pasechnik. Of course, these are just the front-line characters. But Russia has its faithful servants in the whole power structure. Denis Pushilin even dared to say that, although Russia has influence in the region, "it is not unlimited." In fact, this statement is meant not only to support the independent separatist leaders’ charade, but to exonerate Russia from the responsibility of difficult decisions that they will have to assume, even though they will execute them entirely at Kremlin’s order. Otherwise, the heroes’ fate is waiting for them ... as was the case with A. Zakharchenko and others before him.

As for Russia, it keeps its European customers under pressure to sign gas contracts ... in euros, not in dollars. What is happening in Donbas is a serious warning for everybody, including Romania, about what can happen when Moscow decides it is strong enough to launch the offensive.


III. EUROPEAN UNION: the Hungarian Foreign Minister visited BUCHAREST.

On November 5th, the Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjárto made a quick visit to Bucharest where he discussed the "perspectives for extensive regional consulting and co-operation" with the heads of the parties in power and his Romanian counterpart. The specific themes were not mentioned, but according to the official Romanian Foreign Ministry communiqué were analyzed "developments in bilateral relations", including energy cooperation, and "the importance of diversifying routes and sources of supply" (i.e. BRUA project implementation). P.Szijjárto pointed out that "Romania is an important strategic partner for Hungary”, but his Romanian counterpart said he "is watching the rhetoric of Budapest officials, demanding a restrained approach to the Union's Centenary without emotional accents". The real purpose of the visit was made clear by P.Szijjárto: "If an attack against Romania is launched in the European Parliament, on the basis of biased opinions, the Hungarian MEPs will vote in favor of Romania. We will never support an attack on Romania in the European Parliament. We consider Romania a strategic partner and our goal is to build strategic partnership and friendship between the two countries because it is obvious that we are facing similar challenges, we are under the pressure of external attacks, attacks against the two countries".

The two dominant political forces in Hungary and Romania getting closer and having a common approach is something positive per se, but not when it comes to go against the EU, a fundamental element of the triad (EU, NATO, USA) that ensures Romania’s security and future[2]. Not to mention that the FIDESZ vote does not make any difference in European Parliamentary arithmetic. Moreover, Article 7 is virtually impossible to be invoked, as happened in Hungary’s case. The question is whether anything has been given in exchange for this useless help?

We must point out that not Hungary is under attack, but Victor Orban's dictatorship, and that the European Parliament will have a resolution not on Romania, but on political actions taken by the ruling parties in Romania. Let us hope that the promise of a future rapprochement between the two nations, exactly what all responsible Romanians and Hungarians want, will be made without yielding to reward the aggressive politics of Budapest towards Romania. The need for good Romanian-Hungarian relations at all levels is self evident, especially that 100 years ago, while Europe signed the armistice on November 11th, the Romanian army remobilized one day earlier on November 10th, just to take part in a subsequent war almost two years long between Romania and Hungary[3]. It would be wonderful to believe that the visit represents a change in the Hungarian government's revanchist policy towards Romania, because history is the same for all[4]. Today almost all Hungarians have the chance to be reunited with Hungary within the EU, a goal that the Romanians have not yet succeeded.

If Romanian leaders can only be charged with internal political and economic failures, as well as hiding them under the chorus of history evocation, the Hungarians can be criticized for something much more serious: permanent hostility in a systematic revanchist policy, and the establishment of an internal dictatorship. After all, Romania needs a democracy in Hungary whose hostility to decline in time by solving bilateral issues in a fair manner, rather than a Hungary that seems to quit the hostility, in the short term, but which is heading towards an undemocratic regime that has as basic ideology an aggressive nationalism whose targets include us.


French President Emmanuel Macron brings again to attention the European Army issue. On November 6th, French President Emmanuel Macron pleaded again for European Armed Forces, citing the need for a united response to Russia, China ... and the US too. D. Trump replied that such an assertion is an offense to the US, which assumes, including financially, Europe's defense within NATO. A European unitary defense policy is necessary, and some steps are being already taken in this direction. But the French approach ignores the reality (only the US can defend Europe!) for the sake of a Gaullist policy: France wants, but it can not without Germany (which may, but it does not want) to build a Europe, not only against the Russian threat, but against the American one too! Luckily, Germany is realistic and did not have any expectation after Russia occupied Crimea and Donbass. France instead, surprisingly rediscovered the Russian threat in... the Central African Republic. Russia sold weapons there, without considering the precarious situation of this failed state. In order to tinker this blunder E. Macron stated to the US President that the European Army's project is aimed at giving Europeans a greater share of the responsibility for Europe's common defense. For us, the Europeans, is quite confusing when D. Trump, the most bizarre US President even gives a rational answer to a … at least bizarre proposal coming from a rational European leader like Emmanuel Macron.

It is clear that Europe needs a unitary defense policy and an integrated defense industry, but a step forward in this direction does not mean to weaken the transatlantic alliance just for the sake of greater sovereignty ... in relation to the US. In fact, not only the German Defense Minister, but even the French, spoke of the "European Army" within NATO. It is important what has been done so far through the European initiatives, but France ought to stretch its ambitions only as far as its capabilities. After all, Romania will send its soldiers to fight in Mali, where France perceives threats against its security or interests, as it sent soldiers to Afghanistan and Iraq when asked to, but always having in mind "what Romania can get for its own security". And France must answer if the future "European army" can offer what the US offers now.

Even if he has to face serious domestic problems (its popularity has dropped under 30%, the far right-wing surpassed the president's political group in recent polls, the population is dissatisfied with the increase in fuel prices), E. Macron must understand that only a popular leader of a strong France can generate courageous European initiatives, not the other way around. Therefore, although the European Defense Fund is an important step, why would Belgium refrain from buying American F-35 stealth fighters if the Europeans were not able to produce similar aircraft?


The European People's Party (EPP) Congress sends a message that is not heard in Budapest. The Congress of the center-right parties in Europe took place in Helsinki, November 7th to 8th. Two major topics dominated the EPP event’s agenda: the election of its European leader (and candidate for the position of President of the European Commission) and the drifting towards the extreme right of a member of his own, i.e. FIDESZ, the party of Viktor Orbán.

The German candidate Manfred Weber has been elected as leader of the EPP. He is a strong leader, firm defender of European rights and freedoms, with great chances to become the leader of Europe, even though for that, among other things, he still has to tolerate the "terrible child", as Manfred Weber named V. Orbán, while J.C. Junker called him " the dictator".

Regarding FIDESZ, the messages sent by the EPP have not been heard by the Hungarian leaders. In the joint statement, the need to respect democracy and European values was mentioned, but without any reference to FIDSEZ, which allowed the Hungarian leaders to say that the appeal does not apply to their party and leader, although he enforced an authoritarian regime in Hungary. Donald Tusk was the most direct in this respect: "If you want to replace the western model of liberal democracy with an eastern model of 'authoritarian democracy', you are not a Christian-Democrat". A similar approach had Jean-Claude Juncker when it came to FIDESZ: "there is no democracy without respect for the rule of law and press freedom". In fact, he did not refrain himself in calling things by their proper name: Viktor Orbán “no longer has a place” in the European People’s Party.

The issue of an extreme right-wing party building a dictatorship in the center of Europe, tolerated by the European right, will cause even greater problems. And even more so, if M. Weber and the German Christian-Democrats will continue this approach for the sake of German investments in Hungary. Just to confirm that Budapest will continue walking the same path, this past week 45, politics interfered justice by setting up new courts of law. On the same note, Hungarian police closed the case for European funds fraud that was opened following OLAF accusations against Orbán family members. It is somewhat a logical action, since the Hungarian police serves the nation and Orbán & Co. have already said that they are, not only represent, the Hungarian nation.

V. Orbán replied by appealing to the EPP "to return to the Democratic Christian roots", as if the free Europe, in the Christian spirit, would not be Adenauer’s achievement and of those who rebuilt Europe from ruins, but the achievement of those who led it to ruins, i.e. dictators such as Horthy, who have alleged Christian roots to their fascist regimes. V. Orbán's Hungary is a warning, not a pattern to duplicate.


IV. BELARUS. Alexander Lukashenko opposes the Russian troops deployment on the territory of his country.

On November 6th, Alexander Lukashenko told a group of US security experts that there was no need for a Russian military base in Belarus. He also told them that the US had an important political and military role to play in Europe, a crucial one for continental security. He added that "the Belarusian armed forces are capable of providing security and performing their duties much better than any other country, including the Russian Federation," and "that is why today I see no need to invite some other countries, including Russia, to the territory of Belarus, to perform our duties. That is why we are absolutely against having foreign military bases, especially military air bases,"  


Lukashenko said Belarus is a "European country" and it is interested in "a united and strong Europe and a major pillar of our planet. God forbids anyone to ruin it." The conclusion is a clear message for the Kremlin: "We are certain that regional security [in Europe] depends on the cohesion of the region's states and preservation of the United States' military and political role in the European arena”. Lukashenko added that "Belarus is eager to build an equal dialogue with all sides via reinstating normal ties with the United States, supporting good neighborly ties with the European Union, and widening partnership with NATO". "We support more openness and development of mutual understanding in order to strengthen regional security."

There is no need for more comments. If a dictator, who - for political and economic reasons - needs Russia, is afraid of its aggressiveness, appealing to others to balance the strategic situation, it is appropriate to complete the statements of the Russian ambassador in Belarus: "An attack against Belarus will be considered by Moscow as an attack against Russia" ... with the exception of a Russian attack against Belarus, which is ... the most likely attack of all!


V. Next week – developments to track.

EUROPEAN UNION. Unfortunately for us, ROMANIA will be the focus of the European Parliament's attention, and its government and parliament will be negatively mentioned in the resolution to be voted on November 13th. Without creating such serious problems that Hungary has created, but also without its friends and its high degree of European integration, Romania will not have the capacity to overcome this moment, which might mark the period of the EU presidency.

RUSSIA. The Donbass elections will pass off without incidents, but their implications will be an "incident in itself", and the tensions will increase in the next period. However, the upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine will be the race both Russian and Ukrainian leaderships will exemplarily mobilize for. Perhaps, the Kremlin will answer the "patriotic" strategy of Petro Poroshenko by exploiting Kyiv’s vulnerabilities. Since the sanctions have not been lifted, but additional sanctions have not materialized yet, we could witness, in the medium term, to renewed Russian military pressures against Ukraine. How? Russian "hybrid" specialists have an imagination as rich as their means are limitless, so they will not cease to surprise us. Kyiv has its own worries, as demonstrated by the killing of an anti-corruption female activist, followed by the Ukraine general prosecutor’s “resignation”.

USA. The week 46 will precede the G20 presidents meeting, so the actions of China, as well as those of Russia, should be looked at from this perspective. The stake is huge for China, which needs to reach an agreement with the US, but without giving up to the elements it sees fit for its further economic development. Russia needs to persuade D. Trump not to quit INF Treaty and not to introduce new sanctions (the postponed sanctions for "chemical aggression" and especially the mitigation of those to be introduced by the Congress).

BALKANS. After the Austrian Chancellor S.Kurz had brought a realistic note to the Kosovo issue by reiterating the European support (Austria holds the current EU presidency) for an agreed solution even through land exchange, Kosovar President Hashim Thaci returned to the German position: "Frontiers will not be redrawn on ethnic lines." Let's point out that S.Kurz had announced that the moment of visa liberalization for Kosovo citizens moves away, highlighting Pristina's internal political failures. This has increased tensions which led to an additional 10% tariff increase introduced by Kosovo on Serbian products, a severe economic blow for the Serbs North of Ibar River. Serbia reacted, freezing the dialogue. Things are not likely to stop here, as the tensions are expected to increase.

[1] Unfortunately, there was an incident where a Norwegian frigate hit an oil tanker on its return to the port. The frigate is what Romania needs, as the smallest naval platform with Aegis integrated system on board (sensors, fire control system and weapon systems, especially, antiaircraft defense systems).

[2] Because, though, we must love our country, if not like those who gave their lives a hundred years ago, at least at the level where we do not put the country's interests under our personal ones.

[3] On November 10, 1918, the Kingdom of Romania declared its re-entry into war, and on November 11 the war ended in Western Europe. Also on November 11, 15 years ago, Romania lost its first soldiers fallen since the end of the Second World War, somewhere in Afghanistan. It is a pity to forget those things that built us as a nation.

[4] Just as the Romanian soldiers of the Mountain Troops Battalion fought with great courage in Târgu Ocna to defend their country and their home, so in the same area, the 82th Szekler Regiment fought with the same courage for their country and home. Today, after 100 years, the successors of both live freely in a common country that will progress with benefits for all, within the framework of the European Union, not that of some nationalist roving.