There seems to be no real understanding in the West of how the world has changed in a mere twelve months.
Moldova’s political and economic futures can only come to be, no matter the short-term pain, with Europe.
Reports from Ukraine’s security services that known fighting elements from Moldova’s breakaway Transdniester region have been active in Eastern Ukraine are a sign of several, related, ominous developments.
It is now reasonably safe to say that Vladimir Putin believes he is the Emperor of Eastern Europe. It is also safe to say he’s right.
While all eyes are on Ukraine as we write this, there are other glimmers of hope in the former Soviet Union: Azerbaijan, Moldova, even Georgia, all have a chance to break loose to the West. (Ukraine’s fate is uncertain for now.)
The combination of growing Georgian cynicism, Russian and Russian-derived money, growing Russian assertiveness, and European incompetence is undoing the nascent Eastern Partnership faster than European leaders realize.
Expect Gagauzia to increasingly agitate for independence, and expect Moscow to back that play as it backs Transnistria now.
The impetus on Brussels now is to avoid another blunder. Ukraine is not lost to the European Union, but Armenia to all practical purposes is, a victim of Russian bullying and its own sins come home to roost.
The Eastern Partnership failed because it was not an Eastern Partnership, it was an Eastern Condescension.
2014 will be the year that Europe’s mettle is truly tested.