"NATO's Article 5 offers little protection against Vladimir Putin's Russia," Iulian Fota, Romania's presidential national security adviser, told me on a recent visit to Bucharest. "Article 5 protects Romania and other Eastern European countries against a military invasion. But it does not protect them against subversion," that is, intelligence activities, the running of criminal networks, the buying-up of banks and other strategic assets, and indirect control of media organs to undermine public opinion. Moreover, Article 5 does not protect Eastern Europe against reliance on Russian energy. As Romanian President Traian Basescu told me, Romania is a somewhat energy-rich island surrounded by a Gazprom empire. The president ran his finger over a map showing how Romania's neighbors such as Bulgaria and Hungary were almost completely dependent on Russian natural gas, while Romania -- because of its own hydrocarbon reserves -- still has a significant measure of independence. In the 21st century, the president explained, Gazprom is more dangerous than the Russian army. The national security adviser then added: "Putin is not an apparatchik; he is a former intelligence officer," implying that Putin will act subtly. Putin's Russia will not fight conventionally for territory in the former satellite states, but unconventionally for hearts and minds, Fota went on. "Putin knows that the flaw of the Soviet Union was that it did not have soft power."
More from CNAS
CommentaryNo, Trump has not been ‘tough’ on Russia
The simple fact is that even harsh-looking sanctions have little impact when there’s zero political will to enforce them....
By Edward Fishman , James Lamond & Max Bergmann
PodcastProspects for Democracy in Belarus, with Judy Dempsey and Jonathan Katz
Judy Dempsey and Jonathan Katz join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend to discuss the ongoing protests in Belarus and the country’s prospects for a democratic political tr...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Judy Dempsey & Jonathan Katz
CommentaryEnlisting NATO to Address the China Challenge
Moving forward, the DoD should enlist NATO in efforts to address the China challenge....
By Carisa Nietsche, Jim Townsend & Andrea Kendall-Taylor
CommentaryAddressing Deepening Russia-China Relations
Russia-China cooperation increases the challenge that each country poses to the United States....
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor & Jeffrey Edmonds