By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
One of the Romanian PM’s honorific advisers, Ionel Blanculescu, said the US anti-missile shield to be installed in SW Romania along the recent Pentagon’s decision to increase the number of American troops deployed to Romania has turned the country into “a perfect target”, words that sparked outrage among Romanian politicians and readers.
“The anti-missile shield in Deveselu (the military base in SW Romania which will host the interceptors) and now the escalation of our country’s arming through the American presence has only led to completing the quality of the perfect target for Romania” Blanculescu warned speaking to the economic daily Bursa.
His statements came amid celebrations in Romania marking ten years since the country joined NATO. “I have noticed a feeling of happiness embracing Romania upon this news as if the United States had announced 600 new economic projects which will create new jobs and prosperity (…) I think we should be more responsible, even if we accept this deployment of military forces, we should at least do it peacefully and regretting the arms race escalation and not the economic one in the region” the adviser concluded.
Blanculescu’s statements seem to be in stark contrast with PM Victor Ponta’s remarks a few days ago before the Romanian lawmakers, in a speech marking the 10th anniversary of the NATO accession. Romania is in a privileged security position and has the duty to ensure the territorial integrity of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia. The events in Crimea have proven security has to be consolidated and Romania has shown allies in the region its course is correct and effective in ensuring development and security.
A few days ago, the US Embassy in Bucharest asked the Romanian authorities for their support to extend the military operations at the Mihail Kogalniceanu base on the Black Sea coast by deploying 600 more troops and military airplanes, amid tension in neighboring Ukraine. Romania will also host elements of the US anti-missile shield (interceptors) at the Deveselu base where construction works were inaugurated last October. The base is expected to become operational as of 2015.
Reacting to Blanculescu’s statements, Sebastian Bodu, a Romanian member of the European Parliament, asked PM Ponta to dismiss his adviser and warned Romania has been in an embarrassing diplomatic position following the latter’s statements. Unless Ponta acts upon his adviser’s remarks, this means the PM acknowledges Blanculescu’s position, Bodu concluded. Blanculescu’s words have also been met with fierce criticism on forums where people accused him of ignorance and Soviet era mentality.