Thursday 11 June 2020

Is Romania a colony?

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

Roosevelt put his finger on what makes Americans so troublesome to  themselves and other people, although I'd say the Roosevelts, who provided the USA with two presidents, were settlers not immigrants. Claes Martenszen van Rosenvelt arrived in New Amsterdam while King Charles I of England still had a head on his shoulders and bought a fifty acre farm farm in Manhattan, which has proved to be an excellent location for land. He wasn't an immigrant but a conqueror and Americans have been conquerors ever since.

"Colonies do not cease to be colonies because they are independent." Benjamin Disraeli

I immediately thought of America, but America is no longer a suburb of Great Britain. It's the other way around and has been since 1941. 

But this had become less true than it was, even before Donald Trump. Europe represents another pole of attraction, which was not the case in 1973 when England joined the EEC, forerunner to the EU. In 1973 Western Europe too was a colony of America and it still is but Europe is very different from the US, much less religious, much more left-wing, much less patriotic, much less serious. 

Eastern Europe, on the other hand, looked longingly to America for liberation from Marxism.

Western Europe finds Americans' love of freedom incomprehensible, silly and borderline racist, but Western Europe is a colony of Democrat America, Hollywood, Silicon Valley and large, socially liberal multinational companies.

And Romania? 

Romania is even more religious than the USA but, as Eugene Ionesco said, religion in Romania means something completely different from what it means in Catholic or Protestant countries. Romania having only recently got free from a left-wing dictatorship is right-wing, very patriotic and loves freedom very much. Despite the Revolution of 1989 Romanians are not revolutionaries, but they do not feel they have much to conserve, though in fact they have very much indeed.

Romania is for the first time in her history a country of emigrants.

Romania is also painfully lacking in self-regard and the ideal victim for the woke ideology being brought here by Romanians who studied arts subjects at university in the West. 

They are arguably the single biggest threat to the country, after the elephant in the drawing room: falling population, thanks to a multitude of reasons including the EU's principle of freedom of movement. 

Romania would like to be the colony of a rich Western country but is the only country in the region without an obvious patron or sponsor. Estonia has Finland, Latvia and Lithuania have Sweden, Hungary, Czechia and Slovakia have Austria, Albania has Italy, Bulgaria has Greece. Romania used to pin her hopes on the USA and now on Germany and the EU, I suppose. 

I thought when he was elected that Romanians might like Donald Trump. He is not politically correct and nor are they, but he horrifies most Romanians. They were the problem children of the EU, until Hungary and Poland proved more problematic, and they want the USA to be a benevolent, dependable father figure. 

Let's see how well Angela Merkel and Ursula von der Leyen will do as mother figures.


  1. By "obvious colonial master" I suppose you mean a sort of pole of attraction, because Estonia has never been colonised by Finland (that itself was a colony for most of the second millenium) --- but the languages are so similar that they watched Finnish TV during the whole of Communism --- (the "obvious" colonial master, and a very real one, for all Baltic states since Peter the Great were Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union), Albania was just invaded by Italy --- and only very late in Albania's history --- and was not settled like a colony, and Greece has never had any political influence in the territory of Bulgaria (quite the opposite for a brief period).

    If we're speaking of colonial masters in a strict sense, then Albania, Bulgaria, and two thirds of Romania had Turkey as a real colonial master.

    If we're speaking in the sense of attraction pole then during much of the 19th century it was France the "colonial master", then America with Radio Free Europe, blue jeans, pop music and the dream of American paratroopers falling from the sky one sunny day to chase the Communists away during the second half of the 20th century. Then there were "micro" attraction poles: During much of the 80s the south-west watched Yugoslavian TV, "film marathons", American series, Miami Vice, Dynasty, watched Lee Cooper jeans commercials, erotic movies, and Yugoslavia seemed Western paradise and the Yugoslavians were much envied. Along the western frontier everybody was watching Hungarian TV (though much less cool than Yugoslavian TV) and Hungary was a certain pole of attraction for the ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania. In my western home town most of my ethnically German school colleagues had relatives in "Germi", dreamt of Germany to the point that they scribbled "BRD" (FRG in German) on the wooden school desks, collected and exchanged German footballer's photos wrapped around much envied western chewing gum smuggled by their relatives when visiting.

    Actually I bemoan the lack of "colonial master" that you admire. In my opinion it was this geographic isolation that delayed the penetration of ideas such as individualism, accountability, entrepreneurship, capital, participation in public life, common good, dignity of a public position, bourgeois urban life, literacy, taking education in high esteem.

    1. Thank you. I was very unhappy with 'obvious colonial master' and have replaced it by patron.

  2. Bulgaria's patron is Russia.