What do drivers, politicians and button for weapons of mass destruction have in common? IPN Analysis

A one-direction two-lane street in Chisinau at rush hour. A long row of resigned cars are waiting for the green color of the stoplight on the right lane. The left lane is much freer because movement to the left is allowed at an intersection. The drivers who need to go onwards know that they risk staying longer at the intersection on this lane if the stoplights change again. At a certain moment, a car comes forcefully on the left lane, goes by the resigned cars from the right lane, stops close to the intersection where there are several cars waiting to turn left and switches on the lights showing that it wants to go right. It performs some nervous maneuvers so as not to miss those several seconds when it can get in front of the cars that have waited for the green light for a period. And it often succeeds…

There are often several cars that have such a behavior in that place and in many other places in the capital city and the whole country. And variations of “shrewd” behavior are many. Besides the one described above, there is also spiral movement, from one lane to another, at high speed, honking and signaling with the lights for those who are ahead, threatening with the fist or even placing of the car across and the list can be complemented. This is a dangerous phenomenon that holds interest for lawmakers, psychologists, police officers, mayors, local councils, etc. And this is an unhealthy phenomenon that can have a noxious influence on other phenomena and important spheres of life. But it is also of interest because it reveals rather exactly camouflaged functioning mechanisms in other areas, especially politics.   

Profile of “shrewd” driver

By all signs, the “shrewd” drivers are a separate category of people, with common traits of the members and more or less clear borders of the community. It is not mandatory for all those who possess one or a part of these traits to form part of the “shrewd category”. But the persons who possess all these traits definitely form part of this category. 1. It is about owners of cars that are more expensive than the market average; 2. The speed is higher or even much higher than allowed in that place; 3. It is about men drivers, not women drivers; 4. The cars have license plates of another format, which is often a sign of high self-appreciation and of low interest in the interests of the others; 5. But the great power of the car’s engine is actually the defining element that coagulates this category. By definition, a person who drives a car with a low-capacity engine will not venture to perform maneuvers that are usually dangerous for him, as the “shrewd” ones dare to do. These bank on the great power of their engine, in contrast to their mates from the “right lane”. But generally they bank on an additional bigger power that does not form part of them and is give additionally to them.

Shrewd person or offender?

Most of the times, the behavior of the “shrewd” ones is dangerous as these break the rules in conditions that cannot be predicted by the other traffic participants and show lack of respect for generally accepted rules or even for the legislation. Considered from this viewpoint, the given acts definitely fall into the category of aggressive behavior in traffic the legal norms for which were adopted about a year ago. It seems that not a single case of implementation of the new norms appeared yet in the public sphere. It happens so because there are yet no mechanisms for putting these into practice or at least the two existing mechanisms are not at all efficient.

Inefficient mechanisms for combating “shrewdness”

As the government itself recently admitted, many patrolling officers prefer to “hunt” for the victims by the roadside, but the drivers actually do not dare to break the traffic rules right in front of the police. The “hunting” is rather a goal that does not have much in common with the disciplining of traffic participants and is related more to corruption processes.

The system of video cameras that supervise road traffic is not very efficient in relation to the “shrewd” ones and it rather discredits the idea for which it was set up because the system in Chisinau includes a low number of surveillance cameras that were placed in the most crowded places. This system is convenient for the police and the state to the same extent to which it is inefficient and even noxious for society in a number of senses. It is convenient for collecting fines by this trap in which mainly small “fish” that are not attentive to street markings fall. It is true that these violations should also be penalized, but the “shrewd” persons and other drivers with dangerous behavior are definitely not covered by such disciplining police methods.

Everyone knows the places where cameras were placed and the drivers behave there in a different way than on the rest of the road. The double standards vitiate the behavior and mentality not only of the “shrewd” ones, but also of the drivers of good faith who travel through Chisinau as they say the cameras in other parts of the country do not work at all and haven’t worked for a long period of time. Surely the Embassy of China several years ago provided these cameras as an example and a stimulus for the Moldovan authorities to develop a complex surveillance system in all the communities. In the absence of such a system, the effects are the witnessed ones. The prosperous and democratic states in the EU are prosperous and democratic because they ensure equal conditions and responsibilities for all the motorists and in all the areas where these are present.

Public figure put on the wanted list half a year ago and not yet identified

The relevant case of a public figure who recently found out that he was banned from driving for a period of three years a year and a half ago without being informed about this and that he was wanted for as long matches the general picture depicted so far. The car of this person has never been stopped in the period by traffic officers and hasn’t been registered by surveillance cameras as being the property of the wanted one. It happened after fines for traffic rule violations were imposed a year and a half ago. Moreover, in the period the given public figure was officially present in the office of the police institution that put him on the wanted list, presenting a number of identification papers there, and no one “found” him then…

In such mystic circumstances, the question if the police served or not as an additional “engine” for strengthening the power of a shrewd driver or drivers or a shrewd person or institution from the political class inevitably appears here. Was the court involved in this process or not or proceedings took place in the absence of the public figure?

How are the “cow tail” and stamp of the mayor’s office related?

Before entering politics, some of the politicians are like pedestrians and count only on the own natural forces. Later, allegorically speaking, they come into possession of a car with a powerful engine that can grow very large in time. This happens by joining a political party, being promoted to executive posts in parties or in state institutions by the party. Some manage to keep the behavior and character of “pedestrians” or ordinary people, while others change the behavior depending on the power of their “engine”. The power and the car test the person’s decency. The car and the power can equally change the person, usually towards “shrewdness”. And vice versa, when the “shrewd” ones lose power they tend to return to the category of “normal” people.

Profile of “shrewd” politician

Surely, the profile of the “shrewd” politician is much wider and complex than that of his driving “counterpart” that was presented above, but can definitely include this one fully or partially. The wish to have a more powerful “engine” so as to take other’s interests into account less is what unites the two. Consequently, the growing wish for power and the often dangerous and noxious method used to get it and use it are the distinctive qualities of the “shrewd” ones from politics. Metaphorically speaking, it is a wish to illegally occupy the lane that is legally occupied by others (or get the money or property of others).

The “shrewd” ones from politics use the same mechanism as those who drive, but the objectives and effects are greater in size and the effects are incomparably greater and more dangerous for society. The stealing of the US$ 1 billion or the “theft of the century” is the most famous example in this regard. Experts say this wouldn’t have occurred if coverage hadn’t existed at the most different and highest levels of the political power. Or even at all the levels of the central political power because it would have been enough one important chain of this to react appropriately for the theft to be annihilated. At least this derives from the statements of the law enforcement agencies and the police, which said that they knew and reported suspect movements of money in the financial-banking sector. Here we can also add the behavior of the Government, which twice provided financial guarantees for possibly covering the “operation”. The question is if the representatives of the power (many? all of them?) only provided coverage or also benefitted from much or all of the stolen money?

An indirect response to this question can be found in the behavior of the main executor of the theft - Ilan Shor – who was recognized as such inside and outside the country, but only after the lawsuits filed against him and the pronounced convictions. As he didn’t want to remain only at the mercy of the old political protectors, he decided to secure his own political “engine” first as the elected mayor as one of the most important towns of Moldova and then by founding an own political party. To all appearances, the chances for the main executor of the theft to enter jail or Parliament, which is the top of the political power in the state, are now approximately equal. The chances of the second variant in time grow bigger with the opening of the ”uninominal valve” for those who have money to become MPs.

Power vs power

This comparison about the additional, not natural power could help us better realize the rather difficult phase reached by the confrontation between the current government and the current President. Until not long ago, the two camps appeared as pedestrians or owners of cars with modest capacities. The situation changed radically after each side pulled in by a party that they see only as a mega-motor with a crucial role for the country’s fate, according to them. Both of the camps achieved their goals on the ruins of other parties-engines, contributing directly or indirectly to their ruining. Now there are only these two “drivers” on the two-lane political street and each of them tends to occupy both of the lanes at any cost and, it seems, with any consequences for the rest of society.  

Ping-Pong near red lines   

The appointment of the minister of defense following a Ping-Pong between the government and the President, which apparently cannot lead to a compromise or to a situation when the colors of the stoplights will be respected, seems to be relevant in this case. Both of the sides preferred to grow the power of the ”engines” for subsequent confrontations that will not take long to appear. The government increased the capacities of its “engine” by involving the Constitutional Court, which allowed it to remove the Head of State from office whenever the situation repeats and to use his prerogatives (power) guaranteed by the Constitution. The President mobilizes the party from which he comes and the part of society on which he can count in activities in support of the idea of establishing a presidential republic, respectively, by taking over a large part of the power possessed now by the Government and Parliament. Both of the sides do not seem able to accept the democratic principle of separation and balance of powers in the state and of common sense. “Everything or nothing” – based on the principle of the “power of the engine”. But this principle does not enable to understand where there are the “red lines” of the confrontation that can lead to the explosion of “vehicles and stoplights, pedestrians and passengers”.

Mechanisms work improperly here too

As in the case of the ”shrewd drivers”, the mechanism of control over shrewd politicians does not work properly in terms of justice, anti-corruption and the rule of law in general. At least it is not clear if it works partially, does not yet work or stopped work already. The two large cases of political “shrewdness” depicted above prove it effusively.

Model is near

It is regrettable as we have the clear and functional example of Europe, where the political powers know and respect their place and role in the political system so that the social comfort and balance are not affected. The political class in the EU member states considers this is how peace and welfare inside the states and also peace between the EU states should be maintained as these states, during centuries, witnessed multiple multilateral and bilateral bloodsheds and two world wars. This example should definitely be followed if we want prosperity and stability, and the “inborn powerful engine” can be used for the purpose. In particular, neither the EU nor the member states resorted to military actions like those in Georgia, Crimea, southern Ukraine and Syria, even if many of the EU states have the GDP (engine) bigger or even several times bigger than that of Russia, not speaking about North Korea, whose power is mainly based on the military component, including on the button that can launch weapons of mass destruction.

It is also known that the reform path can lead to the European model of prosperity and stability. In the context of the ”shrewd” ones or all kind of “shrewd” acts, the veritable reforms guarantee powerful and independent institutions of the state that cannot be accessed as additional ”engine” for stealing money or in political and less political disputes. The guaranteed separation of powers in the state is an axiom in a reformed state that ensures the rule of law. Institutional and personal transparency of politicians and public functionaries should be mandatory, not optional or mimicked. There should be more women in politics not only for the sake of the formal gender balance, but because these are less exposed than men to ambitions and egoism, respectively, to corruption and risks at someone else’s expense. The police officers should be outfitted with video cameras as in Georgia so that their work is fully supervised and the disconnection of the camera is punished with jail as a case of corruption. The drivers, police officers, politicians and the state should have the right to use only the natural power of the intellect and legislation, while the ordinary people should be protected from attacks on the part of the “shrewd” ones. These things are not at all unordinary and they are what actually the politicians promised to us... 

Valeriu Vasilică, IPN.

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