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Romania and Bulgaria Are Key to NATO's Control of Southeast Europe

Korybko suggests NATO may try to help Bulgaria and Romania, whom he believes have pretentions over their neighbors, to gain control over the Black Sea region

This is an excerpt from a longer article of Andrew Korybko, a prominent political analyst and Russia Insider contributor.

The central dynamic underpinning the Black Sea Bloc (Bulgaria and Romania) is one of irredentist expansionism and strategic branching, which by its very nature mandates that the group is constantly attempting to export its influence past its understood boundaries.

<figcaption>Pieces are coming into place</figcaption>
Pieces are coming into place

In the case of Moldova and Macedonia, the majority of the population do not want Romanian and Bulgarian interference in their domestic affairs, despite Chisinau’s political elite and fifth column Romanians being all for it and Macedonian Color Revolutionary figurehead Zaev allying with existentially dangerous forces.

As it pertains to Georgia, however, Tbilisi wants to rapidly integrate itself into the emerging military group through Washington’s naval assistance, but it’s not envisioned as being anything other than a peripheral appendage of the Black Sea Bloc (albeit one of strategic importance and long-term collaborative interest). Additionally, Georgia is not under any Romanian or Bulgarian pressure, nor do those states have any historical memories that they can weaponize in pressuring it, so it will always remain as a convenient exception to the bloc’s integrated dealings outside of naval cooperation.

Serbia’s Indirect Vulnerability

Serbia remains another exception as well, but for very different reasons. As it currently stands, neither Bucharest nor Sofia have negative relations with Belgrade, and it doesn’t appear probable that a realistic scenario for such could present themselves anytime soon. This is an intriguing observation because Serbia is the only country to border both official Black Sea Bloc members, yet it’s not under direct threat by either of them.

Still, it doesn’t mean that indirect aggression isn’t present, since if Bulgaria and its allies’ plans in destabilizing Macedonia succeed and Balkan Stream is no longer able to traverse its territory (either due to a regime change or dangerously unstable domestic situation), then Serbia would unquestionably become a part of the unipolar world, erasing any trace of its formerly semi-independent and multipolar-curious foreign policy.

Looked at from this perspective, then Serbia has a paramount interest in seeing Bulgaria’s designs over Macedonia irreparably fail, while still maintaining positive surface interactions with the Black Sea Bloc state in order to preserve its strategic depth and to forestall any aggravation of bilateral relations that could be used as a pretext for asymmetrical aggression by Romania (the bloc’s core and strongest member).

Greater Claims Equal Greater Problems

While Georgia and Serbia share the commonality of Romania and Bulgaria not having any realistic designs over their territory or identity, the same can’t be said at all for Moldova and Macedonia.

Romanians are largely of the disposition that Moldova should be a part of their country and that there’s no such thing as the Moldovan language or ethnicity, just as many Bulgarians hold the same views of identity denial about Macedonians.

Romania actually went as far as organizing the 2009 Twitter Revolution in Moldova in a gambit to shoo in a forced "unification", and Director of the Bulgarian National History Museum Bozhidar Dimitrov suggested last month that a perversion of the Crimean scenario could be used to annex Macedonia.

These disturbing actions of identity denial and intended geopolitical removal prove that both the Romanian and Bulgarian leaderships harbor the most negative of political intentions towards their Moldovan and Macedonian state neighbors (in the sense of their governments, not necessarily their people), and it’s not likely that such anti-state antipathy will ever dissipate. Instead, it’s more probable that both Black Sea Bloc aggressors will continue conspiring against their targets and double down in their offensive moves against them, which will adversely affect Russia’s interests in both of these states.

Bulgaria will presumably maintain its close connection with Color Revolutionary Zaev, while Romania could conceivably use its influence to organize and rig a unification referendum (excluding the wishes of the non-Moldovan ethnicities such as the Gagauz and others, or possibly outright violating their suffrage) and provoking emboldened Chisinau to request Bucharest’s assistance (and possibly that of NATO, if Moldova is recognized by the group as then constituting an "integral" part of the allied Romanian state) in forcing Transnistria into the unlawful "union".

Suffice to say, the Russian peacekeepers there would immediately be thrown into the conflict, with dangerously unascertainable consequences for NATO-Russian relations after the Rubicon (or Dniestr, in this case) is crossed.

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