Robert Kaplan: President Iohannis has not left a solid impression in Washington. He is still invisible

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Writer and journalist Robert D. Kaplan, included twice in the ‘Top 100 Global Thinkers’ compiled by Foreign Policy, said in an interview for HotNews.ro that President Klaus Iohannis has not left a solid impression and  is still invisible in Washington. If the current president does not show power and personality in the country and in capitals such as Washington or Brussels, it’s because his team is not up to the required level,” Kaplan said.

Asked how the president is seen by the power brokers in the US, Kaplan said that he is almost not seen at all. On one side, he said, the media in Washington is not very attentive to what happens around the world, its attention is on a downward trend. From this point of view, he opined, the media is a disaster when it comes not only to Romania, but to Japan, Germany, etc. On the other hand, Kaplan said, the governance in Washington is aware that Romania is in a better position than other governments in the former states of Warsaw Pact. Romania has a pro-western government, it does not face the problems in Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria. But, beyond all these, the president has not left a solid impression, in one way or another, he is till invisible, Kaplan said.

The analyst added that the leaders should be judged according to their teams, to the quality of people in high positions with the presidential administration such as the main adviser on political or foreign affairs. Often, when a leader is inefficient, the reason is related to his weak team.

Robert Kaplan considers that Romania is still in the shadow of Europe, but it is more important than its discreet status in the news broadcast in the West. It is a landmark for south-eastern Europe in the same way Poland is for north-eastern Europe. It is a strategic country for the US. Three countries are strategic: Poland, Romania and Azerbaijan.

He underscored that Romania cannot count on Europe or NATO’s support, it can count on the US for its defence. NATO doesn’t make sense without the American pressure coming from the Pentagon, this is a known fact. Last but not least, the US is now discovering Romania in terms of security.

Kaplan further said that Romania is better protected from Russia’s actions intended to weaken the countries in the region than Bulgaria, Serbia, Poland and Hungary. Romania has a pro-western government, a technocrat government. The trend to nationalism in Hungary, the weak state institutions in Bulgaria and Serbia – are opposite to Romania’s stronger position.

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