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NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană Sits Down With Roar News

NATO DSG at the headquarters in Brussels

Staff Writer Patrick Schnecker interviews NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels.

If the YouTube link does not load, click HERE to watch the interview.

Roar: Hello and welcome to another podcast episode here at Roar News. My name is Patrick Schnecker and I’ll be your host. I’m currently sat in Brussels where I’m recording this exclusive interview directly from the NATO headquarters where I’m joined by a very special guest. Our guest today is one of the world’s most experienced geopolitical experts and one of the most important positions as a leader of global order and international relations.

Since 1990, he held many important positions in his field. He served as a member of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was the youngest Romanian ambassador to the U.S. at age just 37, became Romania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, was president of Romania’s Social Democratic Party, overlapping his tenure as the president of the Romanian Senate, and is currently the NATO Deputy Secretary General. Mr. Mircea Geoană, thank you very much for doing this interview with us.

Mircea Geoană: Thank you for visiting our very modern HQ. I was going to say it is a very modern studio, it’s a very modern building in general. It’s the most modern public building in the world, exceptionally careful about climate change and the only international organisation in the world where the organisation itself, us, the NATO staff and the embassies of the NATO nations, 32 now with Finland and Sweden, we are coexisting in a small city.

So that’s unique in a way because we have everyone on the same big roof which creates a unique atmosphere and camaraderie if you want, a spirit in this organisation. I hope you feel that as you walk around.

R: Absolutely, I was going to say it’s like a little community here. I saw a library, I heard you have a hair salon here where people can get a haircut.

G: We have also a sports centre, which is quite spartan, state-of-the-art but quite, quite frugal.

R: I think it tells a lot of people here don’t have much time apart from working here so you must live here certain weeks, right?

G: Sure.

R: Perfect, I was going to start with a little career overview to try and understand how you got here a bit better. Again, as I mentioned, you’ve had a very long career so far from the youngest Romanian ambassador to the U.S. to the leader of your party in Romania and now one of the top positions at NATO. How do you transition from one very heavy position with a lot of pressure, a lot of stress to the next and how do you keep motivated to keep doing so?

G: Listen, when you read someone’s CV, short, long – doesn’t matter – you tend to present like you did, which is normal, the highlights of one’s man or woman’s career. I had many downs in my life. I ran for president and I believed I won and the morning after I found myself being the loser. I had long periods where I was not in politics. I’m very proud of the fact that I basically founded the Aspen Institute in Romania and thousands of young leaders have been trained by the institute I founded [with] a number of friends.

I also was not in diplomacy or politics from the beginning. In communist Romania, I graduated from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest. I was an engineer working on construction sites and then becoming a diplomat and also going to the law school after engineering and then going to, now, in France and then going ahead [with] a PhD in Economics.

So, what I’m just trying to say that if you want to have this kind of longevity and success in whatever career, you have to be always ready to say there will be also tough moments. You have to have the strength to regroup and bounce back. And secondly, your education never ends – you graduate a university or college, whatever wherever, and you believe now is done and then eventually go to a Master’s degree or a PhD. It’s never over, so after I will finish with public life because I have the intention to continue in public life for many years to come as long as I’m healthy, I look forward to going back to a university and study history. I’m not joking yeah because I still believe that there is something in my education in the broad sense of the term.

So, if there is a small lesson from me to the young ones that are watching this podcast is that moments in life are great and bad but if you invest in yourself and you stay strong in your beliefs and you’re good at what you do, there will be always another chance for you to rebound and move forward.

R: You mentioned that it wasn’t always politics in communist Romania you said you graduated from the Polytechnic in Bucharest and you didn’t particularly have plans to go into diplomacy and politics – even NATO. But in your early years in diplomacy, in politics, there seems to be a pattern, in which your end goal always seemed to be NATO. Is that true?

I mean you took – when you’re at ENA (École nationale d’administration in Paris, Ed.) you took the NATO course. Or after ENA you took the NATO course on democratic institutions. Let’s not forget that in 2002 under your tenure as the foreign minister in Romania, you successfully got NATO to admit Romania, successfully being ratified in 2004. Was NATO always your dream?

G: No the dream of my generation including myself because I’m not alone in this – I think the whole Romanian nation wanted up to the fall of communism one thing – many things but one strategic thing – which is to go back into the West. We’ve been basically abandoned in the cold of communism and gulags and all these things. So, when we found freedom again after 1989, the whole nation wanted to go back into the West. So, NATO is just an expression and it’s an institution which is a great one but also I was very active in in closing the negotiation to join [the] European Union – it’s another side of the same coin. I started when I was foreign minister Romania’s accession into the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Ed.) – you know, the club of advanced nations. Unfortunately, Romania is still not there.

I chaired the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Ed.). I was as a foreign minister in the Security Council of the UN twice with my country Romania. So, for me it was of course NATO being first all of this. Because if you don’t have security – without NATO membership for Romania there would have been no EU membership for Romania. So, in a way it’s symbolical that I started as a young ambassador of Romania in the U.S. trying to get my country into NATO. We failed the first time, speaking of perseverance, and it’s a sort of an arc over time – I’m now leading NATO. But NATO is a big part of what I believe in but is also just the tip of the iceberg – which is, in fact, a historical comeback of Romania into its natural family of democracies, of free nations, part of the democratic West and that’s the real, you know, mission of my generation and also the younger generation of Romanians.

R: So, I hear in speaking of, you know, post-communist Romania the shift to the West or the attempted shift to the West which, I agree, many Romanians nowadays or still nowadays share that Romania is still falling behind in many aspects and it still wants to join – or is very happy to now be a part of NATO and of the European Union.

So, moving into the geopolitics section of this interview which would be like having Bill Gates in front of me and not asking him how to make money. Let’s start with Russia. NATO and yourself in particular have had a very consistent stance since the beginning of the recent war in 2022. Your position has consistently been pro-Ukraine – the West has to defend Ukraine. They have to sponsor Ukraine and they have to show political support to President Zelensky and his government.

Why do you think it’s so important for the West – in particular big countries – the UK, the U.S., France, to support Ukraine in these moments?

G: Now, let’s put these things in context. We are now recording this interview I think a few weeks before the NATO Summit in Washington – the 75th anniversary summit of this great alliance, and I was talking to my colleagues here and reading a little bit as we’re preparing the Summit. In 2014, so 10 years ago only, Russia was taking part at NATO summits. In our documents Russia was described only 10 years ago as a strategic partner to NATO. So, INATO has never been interested in having tense adversarial relations to Russia. It’s not us. In the NATO-Russia founding act in some years back, Russia recognises, as they did in the OSCE in the UN, that they recognise the rights of European nations to choose the alliance they choose – freely. So there was a Russia that was basically trying to cooperate with the West and NATO was exceptionally open in cooperating with Russia. We have no intention – not even today, to be, you know, aggressive against Russia. What happened in Russia – that’s quite interesting because it’s not only the war in Ukraine. It was a pattern of changing gears and shifting to an anti-Western stance – as a nation, as ideology, as economy, as military, as foreign policy. I think this is quite interesting to see how Russia came to the conclusion that they are basically, you know, invading an innocent country. It was not in Ukraine – they occupied Crimea before, they went into Georgia and many, many, many of the European nations in NATO or outside of NATO – they believed: “Oh, this is not something which is indicating a shift in Russia’s foreign policy and strategic view of the world.”

Unfortunately, many allies were wrong. Russia basically switched to this thing. And why do we help Ukraine? Number one – it’s a matter of principle. Basically our treaty – the Washington Treaty, says that every nation in the Euro-Atlantic area, if they choose so and if they’re ready, they can join the alliance.

Secondly, the UN Charter says the same thing – nations around the world can choose freely the kind of, you know, foreign policy and belonging that they want to have. Some are in ASEAN, some are in G7, others are in whatever they want to do. Nobody tells them what to do or not to do.

Thirdly Ukraine itself has the right to exist as a nation. There’s a nation that is forged under war. And I believe – and also from strategic reasons – so let’s say that we leave Ukraine hypothetically alone. They will probably not be able to resist against a much bigger and aggressive Russia. And Russia probably will prevail and take back this country into their sphere of influence. What is the lesson learned by others – by China, by Iran, by others and also the lesson for Europe? That if a nation tries to decide freely which way to go, it means that you leave them in the dark. And then Russia will be emboldened because there is an old Russian – not only a Soviet Union, it’s way before – a sort of propensity to occupy more land and more land and more land. And remember the days in which they were conquering, you know, Scandinavia or they were attacking Finland in the Second World War.

So what we are doing in helping Ukraine is, number one, respecting our principles, helping an innocent nation that is bleeding every day to defend its sovereignty and its freedom and thirdly, because the consequences of a law of a jungle when the aggressor gets across a neighbour and tries to basically annihilate them going unpunished or unresponded to, this would be a very bad example for the future. And the question is for all of us, especially the young ones: what world do you like to live in – one that is governed by rules or one which is governed by the law of the jungle? And that’s why helping Ukraine is something that makes all the sense in the world politically, morally, strategically and as a way to really indicate that this crazy world is a bit – at least manageable if not predictable.

R: Going off from this idea that NATO isn’t actually anti-Russia, it’s never been anti-Russia per se – what do you make of the argument which quite a few people have been making to counter NATO or international support for the Ukrainian government at the moment which is: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 was justified because Ukraine was flirting with NATO and many of Russia’s neighbours – two others, were flirting per se with NATO. And therefore it makes the invasion justified because it basically implements a sort of threat to Russia. From the Russian perspective there is this sort of vision that these countries want this very strong – the strongest military alliance in the world, and want to be a part of it in order to threaten Russia – whether militarily, politically, economically – even through sanctions. What do you make of this argument?

G: Remember the Maidan how it started? Because that’s interesting you say – what triggers this Russian aggressiveness it was not about NATO, it was only I think 20 percent of Ukrainians at that time that believed that NATO is the destination for their country. It was about [the] European Union, it was about economy, about free trade, freedom of movement – they wanted to be part of a democratic and prosperous Europe. What’s wrong with that?

So, there’s no discussion about NATO in Ukraine or about Ukraine – not a single moment. They just try to go into the European Union. Why? Because you live much better in the EU, you don’t get kidnapped or assassinated in a gulag in democratic Europe. So, the whole thing started as an attempt by Russia to basically inhibit this European direction of Ukraine and then of course the war started.

Or this huge miscalculation by Russia – go and ask a young Swedish or Finnish colleague of yours – you probably have in your universities, there are many of them. Sweden has been a neutral country in Europe since 1812 – since the Napoleon wars. And Finland has been a neutral country in Europe since the Second World War. And all of a sudden they asked to join NATO. Has NATO gone and knocked on the door of the Swedes and the Finns: “Come to us!”? No. They consider themselves as democratic nations, they went through this trauma that Russia is becoming aggressive again and they trying to find shelter from Russia.

So, there’s absolutely no aggressiveness from our side to Russia. But if a country believes that Russia is a danger to the national security and they want to join us, they are more than welcome. Standing with Ukraine we never had the intention to go and have Ukraine as an aggressive stance against Russia. Ukraine wanted to come towards us. What do we say? You’re in the sphere influence of Russia, don’t touch it? That’s against international law and it’s not the spirit of Europe and the spirit of NATO. There’s a lot of propaganda and what I’m just trying to say is that we should anticipate a relatively long period of time when Russia, that is now cementing itself as a national ideology: the West is bad, the West wants our

Disappearance, the West is decadent – all this anti-Western, anti-American, anti-NATO and EU rhetoric has become a sort of new narrative for the justification of this regime to hang on to power.

The second thing – they are reorganising their economy on war footing. The new defense minister in Russia is a former minister of the economy. Normally, you expect some guy with some experience in national security or defense. No – they brought an economist basically. Why? Because they want to have their economy solidly organised for a war economy.

And thirdly, their foreign policy is anti-Western – in Africa, in the Middle East, in Georgia, in Moldova, in the Balkans. So, they have basically out of nostalgia, out of a sort of a need of a foreign enemy – because that’s the manual propaganda, you should invent a foreign enemy.  We’re not an enemy of Russia, we’re just defending the nations that want to belong to NATO and this is why the Eastern flank of NATO now is far more robust when it comes. So Mr. Putin tried to have no NATO or less NATO, now has more NATO. And if things go well, I think that Ukraine will become a member of NATO – and have even more NATO.

So, I think in the end his proposition is a losing proposition because you just cannot organise a society in this aggressive stance against – you know in NATO we are one billion people, 53 percent of global GDP. So, I think it’s just an attempt to give a sense to Russia and a sense to the current leadership of Russia of a justification for this prolonged staying in power.

R: There have been a lot of new relationships coming up between different countries but there are also some older ones that keep transitioning. It’s again what I was mentioning earlier – this up, down, up, down – it’s a very volatile relationship. When looking at Russia you obviously have China. And there’s the whole debate – is China Russia’s partner? Is China Russia’s rival. Are they more bound through cooperation or conflict?

And there’s a lot of arguments for both sides. You obviously have the cooperation side which after the beginning of the war in February 2022, you have the no limits partnership between China and Russia which was a bilateral agreement – a lot more investment between the two countries, particularly in the energy sector. Similarly, you have Eurasian pipelines that again strengthen their relationship.

On the other hand, many people look at China and say: “Well, it’s using Russia, on the one hand, for that Eurasian connection.” But on the other hand, it’s also trying to assert more of its dominance both on the West, of course, but also on Russia, expanding its energy sector in Africa as you mentioned. And again, it’s striking a lot of trade deals, oil deals particularly, with a lot of nations that border Russia. What do you say to this? Is China more of a rival to Russia or are they a more strategic partnership?

G: Many people believe, including in Europe or even U.S., or Canada, the UK in the West, Japan and others, that there are some form of automatic brakes if you want to the no limits partnership between Russia and China – just because there is rivalry historical, geographical, you name it. But as things evolve, we see a true alignment between the two countries. There’s still things that they are you know competing [for] – Central Asia, even a few of the of the other geopolitical important places for both countries.

But from the top leadership of each of the two, there is a clear indication to the bureaucracy and to the state apparatus to isolate the points of friction, treat them, they’re not disappearing, but basically to not poison the heart of this relationship because the heart of this relationship is a joint desire to basically get rid of the world order imposed by America and its allies at the end of the Second World War – or in Europe after the fall of communism.

So, the strategic joint interest is superseding, if you want, the inherent rivalry between these two nations. So, that’s why we anticipate – we see now how China is supporting Russia in the war against Ukraine. So, that’s a direct threat to European security, it’s not something in Asia, NATO is here in Europe. A big portion of the reconstitution with speed of Russian military capabilities in the war against Ukraine is done with Chinese support – not yet direct lethal support but microprocessors. 70 percent of prime microprocessors used in Russian military equipment comes from China, specialised machine tools, many kits, drones that could be civilian but could also be military.

So, it’s clear that China has chosen this camp just because it serves. What would happen in the next 10 or 15 or 20 years between the two? This could resurface but for the time being we anticipate. And it’s not only China and Russia – it’s also North Korea and Iran. Look who’s helping also Russia in the war against Ukraine – there are more North Korean shells than Russian-produced shells in the battlefield. There are more drones produced by Iran or produced by Russia with the help of Iran than Russian production.

So, we see a conglomerate of authoritarian regimes that are, excuse my English, ganging up with the same interest to basically, you know, [cause] upheaval in world affairs because they believe that their interests are different from the ones of the democratic political West.

R: How dangerous is this anti-Western or anti-U.S. hegemony agenda that so many of these authoritarian regimes, like you put it, hold?

G: It could become very dangerous if we don’t prevail in Ukraine. And I’m not coming back obsessively to Ukraine. I’m just saying that for many countries like China the way in which the West once deciding you support the nation under siege by an aggressive nation, sitting on the camp with China, which is the case of Russia. So I think what would China learn from the idea that the West doesn’t have enough endurance or resilience or you know capacity to support Ukraine. They will understand that aggression pays off. There’ll be an invitation for China or Russia to continue the same way because we are not in the situation to support those countries. So, even Ukraine is a European war.

And many in the Global South say: “This is your war. You are never interested in our wars. When something happens to us you don’t go to the rescue of – I don’t know what country – in Africa or some place in the Middle East.” But what I’m trying to say also to the countries that are basically neither on the Western camp, nor on the China-Russia camp – but they are basically in a way sitting on the fence and hedging – also for them it would be a huge lesson which of these two rival camps who has more strength – not only military strength but also economic strength.

That’s why the recent conversation– Look at the G20 Summit declaration and the press conference between Prime Minister Modi and President Biden about the India-Middle East-Europe corridor. It’s obvious that also geo-economically there is a competition to be made to the Belt and Road that China is funding and many people in the west including in the U.S., including in Europe, they complain that Russia and China – they’re occupying big portions of Africa with Wagner group or with a very aggressive economic policy.

But we also have to ask ourselves – it’s not NATO asking this, I’m asking as a as a citizen of the free world – we should also give these countries a better deal, including economic deal. Preach less, be a little humble, listen more and also put some money on the table. Because the other guys are offering either security through now the Africa Corps, former Wagner, or through deals that China is offering to them.

So, I think it’s a moment of huge inflection in the world and this war in Ukraine is very indicative – other than its complexity and difficulty for European security – is basically, if you want, a sort of a flagship of the way in which the world will look like in the future. So, also for the ones who are not that interested in Europe or in Ukraine or whatever NATO does or does not do for Ukraine – think of Ukraine as basically an indicator of the state of world affairs, an indicator of how the world will look like.

If Ukraine prevails, I think we have a more stable world. If, God forbid, Ukraine doesn’t prevail, I think we’ll have a more dangerous world.

R: Are we finally seeing the moment where the free world, as you put it, is uniting more than ever to fight with these authoritarian regimes? We’ve seen – obviously with the war in Ukraine, I’d say 99 per cent of the West has firmly allied with Ukraine. Of course, there’s some hiccups here and there. We see this in the U.S. Congress every other week where one week they pass a financial bill to support Ukraine, the other week they’re very against it. It’s again a very volatile Congress but that’s American politics in general.

But then we also – we’ve seen it this year – since the recent conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas, we’ve seen a lot of nations in the Middle East – I don’t want to use the word ‘ally’ – but they’ve come closer to an agreement with Israel. A lot of Arab countries, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, even Jordan, and they’ve started to publicly stand up, even more so behind the scenes, against regimes such as the Islamic Republic of Iran after the drone strikes in Ukraine – in Israel, sorry, and after their funding of their three as people call them, ‘terror proxies’ – you have Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis – the three primary ones.

And we’ve seen, as I mentioned, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and several more to some extent unite with Israel, with the U.S., with the West in this battle against authoritarian regimes, against terrorism. And I suppose for the free world to prevail. Is this how you’d interpret that situation as well?

G: I think a natural conclusion to this very, very dangerous world is for all of us democracies to stay united. And of course – democracies have always this kind of cycle of elections and cycle of, you know – America has this historical isolationist-internationalist kind of thing, that’s an American issue and this is something we all have to respect. Like you know France has its own thing and Romania its own thing – that’s normal.

But I think on aggregate – that’s why we have the Indo-Pacific partners coming for the third summit in a row to our summits in Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand. Why? Because we are part of the same family of democratic free nations. But I think it would be a mistake for us to basically look at the whole world – so these authoritarian regimes like China, Russia, Iran, North Korea – that’s one subgroup, but many of the other countries are just trying to find a better seat at the new table of the new world order in the making.

And you mentioned Saudi Arabia, I’m also mentioning Indonesia, you mentioned Egypt, I also mentioned Nigeria, some people mentioned Argentina, Brazil or South Africa. There are many countries and many other even smaller countries that have a decisive regional role – Vietnam is a very important country, it’s not top tier but it’s nonetheless a very significant country for the balance of power and the realities. Or the Philippines – don’t forget that the Philippines and Thailand are also treaty allies.

And of course, the Middle East is so volatile and so complicated that I strongly believe that, of course, this conflict in Gaza is so, so complicated and it’s still fueling itself. There’s a lot of Iranian proxies also in Iraq, there are militias that are funded in the same logic. But I believe that if all of us would come with a real proposition – Abraham Accords was one of those – to these countries that have a concern about Iran, they also want for themselves a better deal. The Saudis want a better deal. That’s why they are negotiating with the U.S. and at the same time they are also flirting with BRICS. You see the same thing with Brazil or Argentina was before this current president – they were flirting with BRICS, now they say they don’t want to.

What’s the indication of this? That the world is trying to find a new balance and as we are still very influential and powerful and have also the resources in this political West, we should really go to these countries and offer a better deal. I’m coming back to this thing – they’re pragmatic nations, they’re big nations, they’re influential nations and just want to be. India is a huge thing; you have to respect India’s tradition of non-alignment from the past. It’s a huge democracy, it’s a transformative nation in terms of technology and the number of engineers they have.

So, for each of these countries there’s not always a standard procedure. NATO in some places is not useful that much because we have a reputation of being a big defence organisation – not true, propaganda, but in some places the EU is better equipped, in some places there’s a combination of nations being equipped. So, I think we have to really put all our imagination, our resolve, and our money and political influence on the table just to make sure that we tailor this kind of better offers to these countries.

If not, we’ll continue to be much larger in terms of economic strength, in terms of military might but these countries will try to go to a better deal. And this is nothing mercantilistic [sic] in what I’m saying – that’s geopolitics, that’s history. Nations want to really be at a better position at the decision-making table.

And if the UN is difficult to reform because normally that should be a place where you have more than five nations in the Security Council and all things like that – difficult because of the difficult membership of the Security Council I think nothing should stop us from having Abraham Accords, we have the India-Middle East-Europe economic corridor, to go to these countries with a really multifaceted, respectful offer – from Mauritania all the way to Ghana and from Egypt and Nigeria all the way to Saudi Arabia.

So, I believe that – and again, I’m not speaking as NATO, I’m speaking as a person with a little bit of experience into this – I think the tilting of global balance will depend on how united the West remains – and I think we’ll remain united because we need each other more than ever – but also this will be probably decided by the rest of the nations that today are not part in either of the two camps. And I think we need as many of these countries understanding that living in democracy, having prosperity and having a decent economic future for those nations is much easier to be acquired through us with our help, with our partnership than with this kind of counter proposition that China-Russia and the others are trying to make to them.

R: Before we come to a close, if I could ask you to give the audience, which I can assure you will be – at least the majority will be – young students like myself, what is your message for the young generation during these turbulent times who are, for the most part, getting their news from social media, who aren’t always seeing all the different sides of the story.

Nowadays, we’re often pretty close-minded – and I say this as a young student myself – more so than we’re supposed to be. And we often look up to leaders like yourself, to leaders of countries. We often criticise but we also sometimes praise. What is your message for the next year, for the next few years, of how geopolitics will evolve, how these ongoing conflicts, that are way too many, how they will evolve and whether the young generation should still hope, should still dream or whether we should just succumb to these conflicts and continue in this negative and ultra-realist mindset?

G: No generation of youngsters has or will stop dreaming. That’s part of the more romantic, if you want, the beautiful part of life – when you grow, when you mature, when you become yourself. So, I get I cannot give advice to no one, but I say: don’t look up to anyone.

Of course, we have models, we can have inspiration from others, we can have even mentorship which is much better than imitating someone. Just try to look into yourself – how can you become a more accomplished, a more successful, a more true-to-yourself adult – true to yourself. I always give [this advice] when I go to so many universities – and I’m so happy that we are together in this in this interview of ours – just try to look at yourself and try to have some form of introspection. Which are the values driving you? And they’re not identical – yours could be different from a colleague’s, somebody with a different background – ethnic, religious, geographical, god knows – they are not the same.

So, I always encourage the young ones, number one, to look into themselves and see which are the – if you want, the moral compass. What makes you tick? And try to remember that as you grow older, inevitably you also have success and failure in life. You risk to become more cynical, you risk just to basically not fulfill your potential because your potential is immense. Americans say the sky is the limit – this is the truth. So, the first humble advice is try to be true to yourselves and try to find who you are, what makes you really feel and what makes you really feel accomplished in life. And try to stay true as much as you can to that thing.

Because the world that you’ll be living through will be huge trepidation. This will not stabilise anytime soon. This is an age of immense turbulence and if you don’t find that kind of quiet calm conviction of yours in life, you’ll be tempted to be thrown from one idea to the other, [from] one social media to the other, to whatever ideas that might—So, the first line of defense for your success is basically yourself.

And try to be active in life. I’m not saying that everyone should get into politics but try to give something to society. Because our society is also finding its new equilibrium – it’s not only geopolitical. The human society is trying frantically to find a new balance between security and economy, between technology and how we live, how we work, how we communicate, how we do these interviews.

So, I have immense faith and trust that the young ones will be the ones who will be saving us from this crazy world because—So, I’m not that pessimistic. Sometimes, of course, there are bubbles of communication and you just meet online only with – mainly – with the guys who believe the same thing like you do. So, if there is an advice – try to stay out of your bubble. Try to think with your own mind and automatically there will be a sort of a self-selection of what you basically digest as information and how you shape your convictions and your actions in life.

I have immense, immense faith that the young ones from Europe and from Africa and even from China and Russia one day they will be they will be basically understanding that– probably I’m still under the impression of my young years in communist Romania, it’s my experience, I cannot say it’s the same one for you guys. But I say there’s nothing more precious than freedom. There’s nothing more precious than to be able to choose your life – not someone else to tell you what you do, or to have basically marks on your social media posting like China and others are doing. I believe that freedom in the end is the most precious thing that we have. Use it – invest in yourself, trust yourselves and stay true to your young years’ beliefs.

That’s the only modest advice I could give. And I have immense faith and confidence that your generation will be able not only to live with a crazy world but also benefit from it. Because when there’s a big crisis, there’s also a huge opportunity.

Thank you so much for coming by and I hope that many of your colleagues will have the curiosity to visit and see what NATO does on many, many fronts.

R: I’m sure they will. Mr Geoană, NATO Deputy Secretary General, thank you very much.

G: Thank you for having me.


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Staff writer Grace Holloway examines the sudden appeal to football in UK party manifestoes as the General Election steers closer. On 4 July, UK...


Staff writer Abhinav Poludasu responds to Amana Begam’s article in ThePrint, which criticises the continuation of India-Pakistan cricket matches at an international level. 9...


Comment editor Ruth Otim discusses LGBTQIA+ activism in Africa during Pride Month through queer creative activists across the continent. Can you finish the lyric?...


Information received under the Freedom of Information Act (2000) shows that ten King’s College London (KCL) locations across London still contain potentially dangerous asbestos....