What interests does “struggle for peace” hide in wartime? IPN debate

The war in the neighborhood affects the Republic of Moldova a lot, even if indirectly, tangentially. At the same time, the theme of war fragments Moldovan society and can fragment it even more according to a relatively new criterion that we can conventionally call “the struggle for peace”. For some time now, two political currents have emerged in the Republic of Moldova, with diametrically opposed visions regarding the instruments through which the country can avoid the danger of war. One current advocates strengthening the country’s security and defense potential, and another current promotes ideas that reject any actions taken in this regard. What these two currents represent and who represents them, what actions their representatives take to promote their point of view, but also what interests are hidden in those actions were among the issues discussed by the experts invited to IPN’s public debate “What interests does the “struggle for peace” hide in wartime?”.

Igor Boțan, the permanent expert of IPN’s project, said that the efforts to maintain peace are based on the UN Charter. The struggle for peace is a concept that refers to strengthening people’s efforts against the danger of thermonuclear war, which posed a threat to the achievements of civilization and culture. The modern movement of peace fighters arose after the bitter, tragic experience of World War II and in response to the threat of a new world war that arose in connection with the de facto occupation of Central and Eastern Europe and the response reaction to that occupation.

Igor Boțan explained that the notion of “propaganda” is defined as intentional dissemination of opinions, facts, arguments, rumors, information (including distorted) or false information in order to form the desired public opinion and manipulate public conscience. Unlike conventional methods of presenting information, propaganda is deliberate and emphasizes manipulation to achieve predetermined ends, while the original purpose of propaganda is usually not hidden. At the same time, the term “fake news” refers to false or misleading information (misinformation, including disinformation, propaganda and hoaxes) presented as news. The term does not have a fixed definition and has been widely applied to any type of false information presented as news. It has also been used by experts to refer to any news that is unfavorable to them.

Laurențiu Pleșca, senior policy researcher at the German Marshall Fund, the U.S., researcher at the Romanian Center for Russian Studies, said that he observes the two currents, namely the one that fights for peace by strengthening security and the second involves the fight for peace without defense, without strengthening the security of the state or the protection of citizens. True peace cannot be maintained without the defense of the state, a robust defense. “Respectively, the state must invest in the armed forces and join, why not, a political alliance like the European Union, which ensures economic prosperity. And, why not, in the future, when there will be a consensus in society, a majority of opinions, the Republic of Moldova can integrate into a military alliance like the North Atlantic Alliance. Joining a military bloc will discourage external aggression,” he stated.

Laurențiu Pleșca, who is from the Republic of Moldova, also said that the current government considers that national security is a fundamental pillar for the stability of the Republic of Moldova, but also for economic prosperity. “This is because the Russian Federation continues the hybrid war that destroys the security of the Republic of Moldova, the critical infrastructure of Moldova, but also the resilience of the population in general. Therefore, referring to the current that fights for peace, but without accepting that the Republic of Moldova needs to strengthen its national army, for example, which is in a precarious situation, I believe that the followers of this current actually want the demilitarization of the Republic of Moldova through so-called dialogue, by promoting dialogue with all the parties involved,” noted Laurențiu Pleșca.

Andrei Rusu, an expert in media monitoring at WhatchDog Community, said that in Moldova there are two categories of politicians who promote the struggle for peace without strengthening the defense sector. “The first category includes the openly pro-Russian politicians, such as Ilan Shor or Igor Dodon, while the second category includes allegedly pro-European politicians, such as Irina Vlah, Ion Ceban or Ion Chicu. Their goal is to promote the agenda of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Moldova, namely, that if Moldova strengthens its defense sector, it means that it automatically gets involved in the war in Ukraine, which is not true,” he said.

“At the same time, they do not openly mention who the aggressor is in the war in Ukraine. They avoid answering these questions and, if they are trapped in a corner and questioned, they abruptly say the name of the aggressor, but do not condemn Putin’s regime for the committed atrocities. Their main goal is to strike fear into Moldovan society, saying that once the country strengthens its security sector, it means that it is getting involved in the war. However, if Moldova does not strengthen its defense sector, it will not be able to prevent what Russia has done in Ukraine.”

The public debate entitled “What interests does “struggle for peace” hide in wartime?” was the 307th installment of the series “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates”. The project is supported by the German “Hanns Seidel” Foundation.

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