"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
PodcastCeleste Wallander on Ukraine
Celeste Wallander, President and CEO of the U.S. Russia Foundation, joins Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend to discuss Russian operations in Ukraine and the U.S. response...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend & Celeste Wallander
CommentaryNATO Is Struggling Under Trans-Atlantic Tensions
NATO leaders gathered in London this week for a brief summit marking the alliance’s 70th anniversary. The trans-Atlantic community looked on with trepidation—not because there...
By Jim Townsend & Andrea Kendall-Taylor
PodcastJosh Shifrinson and Jim Goldgeier Discuss NATO Expansion
Jim Goldgeier, Professor of International Relations at American University, and Josh Shifrinson, Professor of International Relations at Boston University, join Andrea Kendall...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, James Goldgeier & Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson
PodcastMoscow, Beijing, and the Future of Russia-China Relations with Dmitri Trenin
In a period of such rapid global change, how does the Kremlin view China? Dmitri Trenin, Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, joins Andrea Kendall-Taylor to discuss Russian...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor & Dmitri Trenin