Romania, Serbia and the Orthodox Brotherhood

BUCHAREST: The decision this week by Romania's government to open its air space to NATO warplanes is the most difficult any of the country's postcommunist governments has taken since the death of Nicolae Ceausescu. For the moment NATO initiated its air strikes against Serbia what can only be called a bout of "Serbomania" has gripped the country. What I mean by "Serbomania" is an extremely unbalanced, biassed, almost neurotically emotional pro-Serbian attitude, one completely lacking in any serious or reasoned critique of NATO' military action.

What is more curious about Romania's outburst of "Serbomania" is that, not many months ago, the country was locked in a "NATO-mania" all its own. Indeed, up to the outbreak of this war, joining NATO was not only official Romanian policy, but enjoyed massive public and media support. According to surveys, about 90% of Romanians backed NATO membership. Most newspapers and broadcast media enthusiastically welcomed the prospect of NATO enlargement in the hope that Romania would be invited into the club. When, in 1997 at NATO's Madrid summit, Romania was turned down, public enthusiasm cooled. But that does not fully explain the open hostility toward NATO that is now on the march.

It is not only that, today, many Romanian journalists and columnists agitate against NATO or have taken the Serbian side. What is most striking is the rationale people invoke for supporting Serbia. By and large, the all-pervasive view here is that of Harvard Professor Samuel Huntington who predicted that international politics after the Cold War would become a"clash of civilizations". Accordingly, many people here see the Balkan conflict as a struggle between "Western civilization" and the "Orthodox-Slavic" one in which Serbia and Romania belong.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now