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Mircea Geoana

From Communist Romania to Deputy Secretary General of NATO


In this episode

My guest today is Mircea Geoana, the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, who has had a successful political and diplomatic career for more than three decades.

At the age of 36, he was appointed as an ambassador to the U.S. and became the youngest ambassador in Romania’s history.  He later served as a president of the Romanian Senate, Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Deputy Prime Minister.

In 2009, he narrowly lost the elections for the president of Romania when he received 49.6% of the votes. He is a board member of several organizations, including the World Economic Forum, The Aspen Institute, and the European Council for Foreign Relations. He is also a published author and has written several books on foreign policy and international relations.

00:00 Family Background and Communism

  • Born in communist Romania
  • His dad (an engineer) and mom (transportation company)
  • Growing up in communism and feeling oppressed
  • When communism collapsed, immediately went to see the West
  • His fascination with America
  • Apart from the U.S., dreamed of visiting France and Italy

09:25 U.S. Immigration

  • America is the land of immigrants
  • People should be welcomed, but it’s not easy to receive too many people
  • The USA was an inspiration for him on how to rebuild Romania
  • The transition from communism to the capitalistic system
  • Wanted to transfer back home the best ideas from the West

12:00 Education

  • Getting his Ph.D. in Economics and studying in Romania and France
  • How important is education?
  • America is an abundant example of success without formal education
  • Never be satisfied with what you know (education should be ongoing learning of new things)
  • Many things are available online
  • Learning how to learn and understanding learning is a constant process
  • Choose whatever you want, but know you never know enough
  • The importance of building a social network in college

18:34 What Does NATO Do?

  • NATO creates the foundation of peace, stability, and security
  • Insurance policy for 1 billion citizens
  • Examples NATO efforts

23:05 Russian Invasion of Ukraine

  • NATO tried very hard to prevent invasion (in January 2021, tried to dissuade Russia but failed)
  • How did Russia get it so wrong?
  • Russian leadership lives in a different reality than the rest of the world
  • He hopes that Russians will realize that their leadership is in wrong
  • Doubts that Russian citizens have real information
  • How is this war going to end (both sides need to compromise)?
  • What makes a successful invasion (pre-conditions for counteroffensive)?
  • Ukraine requested to join NATO when Crimea was taken
  • Thoughts on Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Sweden

38:32 Nuclear Weapons and WW3

  • Russia has hypersonic missiles
  • 9 countries have nuclear weapons
  • Three NATO countries have nuclear weapons
  • Nuclear weapons are very dangerous
  • The risks of nuclear war

43:47 Punishment War crimes

  • Sooner or later, every crime is going to be punished
  • We have conventions that regulate the war
  • Attempt to organize a war trial tribunal
  • It’s not easy but, in the end, justice will be served

Sandee | Bliss: Beaches

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