II. NATIONAL INTERESTS OF THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA
In the attempt of assessing of the present situation regarding the definition and achievement of the national interests of the Republic of Moldova we tried to find works, articles, documents and other materials that would reflect the
approach, from the national perspective, of this concept. Unfortunately, we found that, in comparison with Western Europe and the US, where the national inte- rests have been considered fundamental research categories for a longer time, in Moldova this formula is used particularly in journalism (more as an absolute reference point) and only lately it has become the object of some researches and theoretic acknowledgements.
This sad conclusion is fully backed by the results of the search for a syntagma of national interests within the legal texts of the Republic of Moldova, parlia- mentary decisions and other normative acts, as well as within the programs of parties, which found the absence of a thorough, or even partial interpretation of the national interests of the Republic of Moldova. The ignorance of considering this notion within certain legal texts is often astounding (Annex 2).
In spite of the fact that the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, adop- ted in 1994, established a quite solid foundation for the thorough definition of national interests, two legislative acts of a major importance in the policy of the Moldovan state were immediately passed, which contributed in the most decisive manner to the diffuse and ambiguous present situation. These were the Concept of Foreign Policy (8 February 1995) and the Concept of National Security (5 May 1995), both adopted a couple of months after the adoption of the Constitution.
Not only once has these documents constituted the object of critics on behalf of different specialists from different fields.
Thus, the Concept of National Security does not contain any reference to certain vital national objectives or interests and does not provide an answer to the questions what and how to protect but solely states that have such missions.
In addition, even the principles, objectives, missions and the importance of this document were shortly forgotten. Is it not the main reason why the military reform, started four years ago, was not defined and adopted in an official docu- ment. Instead, forced by political juncture, the active military establishments of the National Army are periodically decreased through permanent organisational restructurings, often lacking any military logic. Is this not the reason why the Ministry of State Security was substituted by a service with roles and missions hidden from civil society, but which is more often accused of political espionage
in favour of governmental forces?
A regrettable confusion is also found in the Concept of Foreign Policy, which fails to establish the national interests and only states some priorities of foreign policy that would assure the consolidation of the Moldovan state:
The priorities of the foreign policy of the Republic of Moldova are: the consoli- dation of independence and sovereignty of the state; assurance of territorial integrity;
establishment of the state as a factor of stability on the regional arena; contribution to the promotion of the social and economic reforms necessary for the transition to market economy and assurance of wellbeing of the population; consolidation of democracy where the fundamental human rights and liberties, as well as the rights of minorities, will be guaranteed and adjusted to the international standards.
The accomplishment of these priorities that form the essence of the foreign policy of the Republic of Moldova will assure, in accordance with the major national interests, the edification of our state as an independent, unitary and indivisible country maintaining mutually advantageous relations with all the countries of the world.
(The Concept of Foreign Policy, Chapter II) Only in one instance in one of the numerous programmes of activity of various governments (the one dating from 4 June 1998 we managed to find, between the lines, a definition of national interests in the following formula: The fundamental priorities of governmental policy derive from national interests that represent the strengthening of statehood, restoration of territorial integrity, cre- ation of a unique economy based on market economy where the material well- being, the physical and spiritual development of the nation will depend on the results of the activities of each person, and the ascendance of Moldova in the nearest future to a well-deserved place within the European and global context.
In such a situation, it is not difficult to realize that the main question posed from outside and to which we do not have a clear and firm answer is, What do we want? What do we want from Europe, CIS, from our neighbours, from Tiraspol, what do we expect in politics, economy, in security and in society? The answer we hear from the mouths of our political leaders and the lowest state officials can be reduced to well-being with superficial but numerous explanations of solu- tions regarding the way this well-being could be achieved. Moreover, the vari- ants of answers are almost equal to the number of respondents.
Moldova and Little Moldovas
There are several Moldovas: there is a Moldova belonging to the Moldovan farmers from the countryside and one belonging to the Russians from Chisinau, one of the intellectuals and one of the analphabets, one belonging to the businessmen and one to the state employees, one belonging to the millionaires and one to the beggars, one for politicians and one for the electorate, one for atheists and one for believers, one for nationalists and one for cosmopolites, a pro-European Moldova and a pro-Russian one, one for Romanian Bessarabians and one for the Russified Moldovans, etc.
Things dont stop here. The issue is that these different Moldovas include some other one or two Moldovas, also very different from the rest. Thus, within the nationalists Moldova there is one for the patriots, but also one for the so-called paid nationalists; within the pro-European Moldova there is one for the true democrats, but also one for the Comintern internationalists; within the pro-Russian Moldova there is one for the Russians that hate us and one for the Russians that do not love us;
within the Moldova of the Romanian Bessarabians there is one for the unionist Bessarabians, but also one for Bessarabians that advocate independence, within Moldova of the Russified Moldovans there is one for the anti-Russian Moldovans and also one for the anti-Romanian .and so on.
(Flux, 20 April 2001)
Unfortunately, the insufficient and often superficial attitude towards national interests, and, obviously, towards their security predetermines the fragility and vulnerability of the entire state body. The most eloquent confirmation in this sense is the fact that presently, within the programmes of political parties and in government programs, the issues related to national interests and national secu- rity remain to be of secondary importance and are not approached even during election campaigns.
As a consequence, the policies promoted by the governmental teams and political parties, emphasising the efforts of achievement of immediate objectives, particularly of economic and social nature, often ignore the promotion of true national values and interests and fail to accomplish the assessment and affirma- tion of a clear, nationally accepted option regarding the strategic national objec- tives and the objectives of security policy.
This confusing and ambiguous situation forces us not to examine the correct- ness and the logic of definition of the national interests of the Republic of Moldova, but to propose a model and way of definition.
Approaching the issue of defining the national interests of the Republic of Moldova it is necessary to begin from certain postulates and definitions of syn- theses based on notions and argumentations articulated in the previous chapters:
1. The system of national interests of the Republic of Moldova is based on the totality of fundamental interests with the universal character of the individual, society and state and the interests based on specific situation and conditions of the Moldovan state that resulted from geographic, economic, political, historical, demographical, social, informational influence;
2. National interests predominate over all other events, trends, aspirations of separate segments of the population and political situations;
3. National interests exist objectively and cannot be negotiated, treated or randomly reformulated; the denial of national interests by a segment of the population, by some political elites or state institutions can cause the disappear- ance of the state as independent subject of the international community;
4. National interests are based on state values and patrimony, moral and intellectual potential of society and are achieved/assured through future activities in the economic, political, military, social, demographic, informational and eco- logic fields;
5. National interests guide and animate state behaviour in domestic and foreign policies and represent a generalised concept of elements that form their vital necessities and aspirations: existence, protection of the human rights and freedoms, independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, security, economic well- being and ecologic safety;
6. Harmonisation of the national interests of the country at the regional and international levels is a requisite condition for stability and security;
7. There is an obvious functional relation between national interest and policy. The policy, including the security policy, is subordinated to and determined
by the national interests. Any infringement upon national interests represents a hostility that implies a response;
8. The equation of security contains an important number of variables with an economic, political, social, geopolitical and military connotation; the know- ledge and appropriate management of these variables, the study of their evolu- tion and interaction, allows the prognostication of their impact of the national interests.
The acknowledgment of these assumptions and definitions, as well as under- standing the universal factors of influence, discussed above, would allow a more precise determination and definition of the fundamental national interests.
Accepting the correctness and viability of the universal approach of the concept of national interests, we can determine the following fundamental na- tional interests with a permanent and universal character: sovereignty, indepen- dence, territorial integrity and economic prosperity. This formulation is valid for most of the countries of the world but the major problem that arises from such an approach is the maintenance of its diffuse and diluted character similar to an academic definition.
Limited to these determinations, national interests remain to be ambiguous and allow a variety of subjective treatments, easy manipulation by the political extremes and a diffuse perception from within as well as from outside of the country; or it has no practical or applicative meaning.
The practical meaning and the usefulness of a thorough definition of national interests resides in the formulation of a clear message addressed to the citizen, society, political forces, neighbouring countries and the international community as a whole, a message that can include or attract specific strategies and policies.
In the formulation of some thorough definitions, we base ourselves on the model on situational factors from the previous chapter. After the assessment of each factor, we can establish the following elements that influence the determi- nation of national interests of the Republic of Moldova:
Well arranged and controlled border in the west, a semi-transparent and semi-controlled border in the north and south, an uncontrolled border in the east;
Lack of access to the sea, absence of internal or transit navigable rivers, limited segment of access to the Danube River without a port infrastructure;
Underdeveloped network of terrestrial transportation (roads and railways) with weak connections to the main arteries of international transportation, under- utilised transit arteries;
Insufficient energy resources, the absence of reserves of petrol and natural gas, other natural resources;
Natural resources of little economic importance (with the exception of the fertile soils).
The incertitude of a equilibrium and stability in a forming multi-polar world and with a single distant superpower, unstable international relations with perma- nent profound changes;
Integrationist processes with a differentiated implication with different vec- tors and speeds;
The lack of some guarantees of security in the region;
The position in a conflict zone with civilisation, cultural and religious character;
Attractive influence of NATO for most of the countries from the region, increased probability of its expansion to the western border of the Republic of Moldova;
Placement at the border between the US and European Union influence on one side, and Russian influence on the other side with the prevalence of interests and influences on the Republic of Moldova on behalf of the latter.
External Political Factor:
Small state surrounded by two countries larger in territory and power
The lack of guarantees of external security;
Status of permanent neutrality unrecognised and not guaranteed externally;
Member state of the CIS a semi-dead union with centrifugal tendencies;
Determinant political influence on behalf of the Russian Federation, which controls a segment of the national territory through a marionette regime and a military presence lacking legal status;
General international disinterest and different interests of the external factors regarding the issue of Transdnistrian region;
Participation in mutually conflicting processes of integration;
Image of a state lacking leadership and clear options in the exterior;
Period of economic and political crisis in Russia and Ukraine with an uncertain future;
Situation of political and economic improvement combined with European- oriented integration processes in Romania;
Foreign relations dominated by external economic dependence and the fluctuant access to energy resources and dependent of the benevolence of the neighbours;
Problems related to the border with Ukraine.
Internal Political Factor:
Fragile constitutional order;
Permanent governmental crises;
Lack of political coherence and continuity;
Existence of uncontrolled territories, frontiers and administrations;
Discredited process of reforms and democratisation;
The ascendance to power of political extremes that do not have the major objective of the consolidation of statehood, sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Moldova;
Existence of the Gagauz factor the additional smouldering source of separatism and tension within the country;
Corruption of a large scale;
Disoriented public opinion showing a weak support for official policy;
Degrading spiritual and scientific potential;
Political forces and elites discredited by the conflicts of juncture and by the incapability to subordinate to national interests.
Poor state, low GDP, standards of living under the poverty line;
Continuous economic crisis aggravated by a conceptual stagnation;
Crisis of investment and external image;
Lack of opening to the global economy;
Enormous and ever increasing external debts and obligations of reimburse- ment beyond real capacities, economy on the edge of bankruptcy;
The black hole in the Transdnistrian region;
A shadow economy of huge proportion with enormous tax evasion;
Agricultural country, poorly developed agro-industrial sector, underdevel- oped industry, insignificant technical and scientific potential;
The only real sector agriculture situated at the limit of survival;
Major economic dependence on eastern markets and energy resources;
Massive exodus of the labour force.
Artificial borders without historical precedent, roots and experience
A gifted and undeserved independence;
Short period for the affirmation of traditions dominated by internal political conflicts and intrigues;
Disagreement between the spiritual links with the West and the economic connections with the East;
Nostalgia for a more prosperous life.
Demographic and Social Factor:
Important trends of emigration and depopulation;
Existence of an important potential of conflicts in relations between ethnic groups;
Increasing social inequity and a standard of living under the poverty line in continuous aggravation;
Continuous disagreement regarding the linguistic issue;
Religious conflict within the same confession;
Absence of national ideologies, discredited patriotism, social apathy and the lack of confidence in political forces, state institutions and future.
This list, far from being an exhaustive one of the situation factors and ele- ments would seem rather close to objectiveness and represents the minimum of reference points we should take into account in the formulation of the final
definitions. However, the simpler the elaboration of this list is, the more difficult and complex the next step is in selecting determinant elements, their compari- son, combination and reformulation and ultimately the definition and classifica- tion of national interests. Obviously, at this stage the effort of an independent researcher seems to be insufficient in comparison with the complexity and impor- tance of the problem. And here we risk acting like some parties or pseudo- political movements that select two or three elements from this list, elements that are more comprehensible to the large masses, and transform them into slogans presenting them as source for all present problems.
If we examine attentively these factor and elements, which have increased in number over the years and became more persistent and more pessimistic for the future of our country, we get back to the fact that the permanent and universal interests of academic character (sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and eco- nomic prosperity), formulated by most of the countries in the sense of acceptance of some universal principles and rules, have a particular importance for the Re- public of Moldova, conditioned by real dangers for the very existence of the Moldovan state.
As a consequence, it is important to acknowledge that the vital and imme- diate national interests of the Republic of Moldova also include the maintenance of national independence and sovereignty, assurance of territorial integrity, main- tenance of stability of constitutional order, assurance of civil peace and national harmony, consolidation of the rule of law, finalisation of the process of democra- tisation of the society, as well as the annihilation of the conditions and motives that contribute to the emergence of political extremism, ethnic separatism with all its consequences social, interethnic, religious conflicts and terrorism.
In our opinion, the consolidation of state sovereignty and independence means primarily the assurance of supremacy of state power within the state boundaries and political independence from other states, possibility to chose and develop political, economic, social and cultural systems without any interfer- ence from outside, territorial inviolability and accomplishment of other generally accepted principles in conditions of compliance with the international obliga- tions assumed by the Republic of Moldova. The accomplishment of these vital interests of the state depends on diplomatic and political activity, collaboration within multilateral interstate relations in the creation of an international mecha- nism capable of assuring state security and maintain the defence potential of the country. The participation of the Republic of Moldova in the activities of interna- tional organisations and integration with European security structures offers the state a real possibility to consolidate national security and to assure the sover- eignty and independence of the country, contributing simultaneously to the es- tablishment of political stability in the region and on the European continent.
Assurance of territorial integrity of the state primarily means the solution of the Transdnistrian conflict, re-establishment of the control and sovereignty over the entire territory creating the minimal conditions necessary for the state economy.