Tunisia, January 2011. Romania, December 1989. The similarities are eerie. Each country was governed for 21/2 decades by an autocrat. In both countries, the people, not the elite, launch the revolution. Soldiers allied with competing factions are shooting at each other. Common people are outraged to see the palaces of the dictator’s family. French is the second language of the elite. Democrats around the world are cheering the revolution while security professionals in Western governments fret about stability. And we don’t know where the drama ends. The similarities are important. But so are the differences. Tunisia was a western European colony until 1956. Romania was dominated by Russia until 1989. Tunisia’s people are predominately Sunni Muslim. Romania’s are Orthodox Christian. Romania was one of the most closed societies under communism; Tunisia earns 13 percent of its gross domestic product from tourism. Romania and Tunisia are different countries with their own histories and cultures. What are America — and Europe — to do? Co-authored by Jim Rosapepe and Sheilah Kast
from The Baltimore Sun
Ambassador Rosapepe served as the U.S. Ambassador to Romania from 1998 to 2001 and is a member of the CAA Board of Directors. He currently is Chairman and CEO of Patuxent Capital Group LLC and serves as Maryland State Senator to District 21. He hosts the American Ambassadors Live! Podcast.