When Is the Conflict to Be Ignited in Moldova?

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Vladimir ROTARI
Territorial conflicts on the planet are artificially “fueled” one after another. Will it soon hit Moldova?
This year is truly a time of global upheaval. For the first time, the world order system that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union has been directly challenged. Even though people have long been talking about the advent of a multipolar world, only this year has this idea got a real chance to come to life. The dramatic events we’ve had the misfortune to witness were, in fact, predetermined. In my view, the collective West’s unilateral dominance led by the US in the absence of a competing communist system brought no good to the planet. First of all, because of its radical unfairness to those unwilling to join the “democratic community”, which, incidentally, our country now so strongly aspires to. The double standards, the use of force wherever one wants, the right to set the rules of the game, beneficial only to oneself, laid the foundation for the “revolution” that began on February 24. In the war in Ukraine, the Russian Federation undoubtedly plays the unenviable role of aggressor. But is it alone to blame for unleashing the conflict? Certainly not. Even many Western experts admit that NATO’s eastward expansion was a big mistake. Instead of an extended hand of friendship, young Russian democracy saw a weapon aimed at itself in the form of anti-Russian countries surrounding it. It saw that it could never “join the Western family” as an equal member. And after that, seeking to ensure its own survival, it developed authoritarianism and began to prepare for the future inevitable confrontation. The practice of recent decades has shown that the US is not willing to tolerate any strong opposition at all. Yes, there are examples of renegade countries like North Korea and Iran, which dared even to slap Washington in the face, but they are not capable of challenging American hegemony globally. Russia and China are a different matter. The former, despite the turmoil of the 1990s, still has considerable military might, including being the only country on the planet capable of physically destroying the US, and enormous reserves of strategic resources. China, with its huge population and potential, is also building up its naval forces and claiming world economic and technological leadership. All this poses an essential threat to US supremacy, which it will defend by all means at its disposal. One of them is triggering tension in areas highly sensitive to the Russian Federation and China. For the former, this is the post-Soviet space, more broadly, the former Eastern bloc, where during the collapse of the USSR the seeds of conflict were abundantly planted. Most of them sprouted almost instantly. But others took decades to mature, like Ukraine, which the West finally dragged into its sphere of influence through a coup d’etat in 2014. After that, Kyiv began long preparations for a future conflict with Russia – the Ukrainian army was modernized with the help of NATO instructors, weapons were sent and money was transferred to strengthen the military. In the end, Ukraine turned out to be quite well prepared for the war as the Kremlin strategists could easily see during the failed first stage of the so-called special operation. Dragging a potential geopolitical rival into a bloody, debilitating conflict turned out to be the best way to weaken it and, in the long term, to remove it from the ranks of viable competitors altogether. This is an opportunity to unleash the full power of the controlled international financial institutions and organizations, their allies and satellite countries, thus bringing the country to global ostracism. Irrespective of Russia’s boasting it has sustained considerable damage from the war in Ukraine, which will be felt more and more the further it goes. The “beauty” of the Ukrainian conflict for the US is that it also allows it to weaken another potential opponent – the United Europe based on the EU, a project that has just begun to “take shape” in recent years, especially during Trump’s presidency. Nevertheless, the war and sanctions have not yet become the death blow for Russia. Moscow has adapted economically and, militarily, has changed tactics and begun to see victories. Although, even capturing all the desired Ukrainian territories would still be partly in Washington’s interest, as they would become a kind of white elephant for the Russian Federation, and even would fix the regime of anti-Russian sanctions for a long time and thus the bad relations with most European countries. That said, the U.S. is ready at the right moment to activate other conflict zones, literally “with a snap”, as could be easily observed in recent weeks. For instance, the Serbian-Kosovo conflict. For Russia which can hardly be much of help for Belgrade now, at least for logistic reasons, the negative developments taking place there threaten with the loss of prestige, discontent of patriotic masses in one of the few friendly countries in Europe which hasn’t joined the sanctions. Another example is the Taiwan story, with China as a target. China is currently implementing an ambitious rearmament program and in the next fifteen-twenty years it might well demonstrate a naval power comparable to or even outperforming that of the United States. Therefore, it is so important for Washington to incite a conflict before that time, while it can be waged with a tangible advantage. As in the case of Russia, China will face a wave of sanctions from Western countries (by the way, this threat was voiced publicly) which can markedly slow down its dynamic economy. Well, what about the post-Soviet space? Here, too, a “lighter” is put to several “wicks” at once. Karabakh, where Russian peacekeepers are stationed, is already occasionally on fire. That is, the situation is fraught with a new war for Russia, especially given the fact that Armenia is an CSTO member. Some signs of unrest can be seen in Georgia as well. And then, there is our country with its Transdniestrian conflict. We cannot say that this conflict is about to unfreeze, but there are plenty of worrying signs, especially if you look at them in combination and dynamics. Take, for example, the sudden need to re-equip the armed forces, for which partners are generously offering tens of millions of euros, and supplying military hardware and equipment. Meanwhile, Russia is portrayed as the enemy and the “aggressor”, which Maia Sandu does not hesitate to talk about. What worries most is the degree to which the current authorities are dependent on their patrons. Without Western support – financial and political – the current regime simply cannot survive. And that is why it is forced to obey the “recommendations” of its senior partners, even those that, to put it mildly, are far from our national interests. Now ask yourself: if our territorial conflict is ignited from the outside, will the current leadership have any way to oppose it? The recent Taiwan story is particularly illustrative in this regard, when in order to stage a provocation, the US simply ignored the opinion of local political elites who were afraid of China’s response and tried to evade Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s visit. And it seems that in our case the situation will be the same. When will Moldova be set on fire? My prediction is that tensions on our territory may start already this fall, especially if Russia moves in the Odessa-Mykolaev direction. There may be different scenarios, ranging from permitting Ukraine to deliver a pre-emptive strike at the left bank – to authorizing the entry of Romanian troops to “protect” Moldovan territory. But in any case, none of the options bodes well for us. We must understand that for the West Moldova is just a pawn, as is our eastern neighbor. And the current government is simply indulging in letting our homeland be “eaten up” so as to serve someone’s geopolitical interests.