The US-UK Relations with Romania: An Interview with Dr. Dennis Deletant

Dr. Dennis Deletant

Dennis John Deletant was born on May 3, 1946 in Norfolk, United Kingdom.  He holds a Ph.D. in European History from University of London and was awarded honorary doctorates from various universities in Romania (Sibiu, 1996; Cluj, 2001; Târgu Mureş, 2010; Iaşi, 2013).

He is Emeritus Professor of Romanian Studies at University College, London, where he taught in the Schools of  Slavonic and East European Studies (1969-2011). Dr. Deletant was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to British-Romanian relations (OBE, 1995) and was awarded “Ordinul pentru merit” (the Order for Merit) with the rank of commander for services to Romanian democracy by President Emil Constantinescu of Romania (2000).

He was Rosenzweig Family Fellow at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington, DC) and was appointed a Senior Research Scholar of the Cold War International History Project, funded by the Woodrow Wilson Center, in Washington, DC (2000-2001). He was Professor of Romanian Studies at the University of Amsterdam (2003-2009). Currently, Dr. Deletant is a Visiting “Ion Raţiu” Professor of Romanian Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, DC (2011 to present).

Dennis Deletant has published several dozen books of Romanian history and Romanian language courses.

I have met Dr. Deletant on multiple occasions, since 2001, at the U.S. Library of Congress, Georgetown University, Woodrow Wilson Center, and Romanian Embassy in Washington, DC, where he had various speeches and presentations on Romanian studies.

I had the opportunity to meet him again on November 17, 2018, at the Romanian Embassy in Washington, DC, during a gala-symposium on issues of politics, security, management and culture, an event sponsored by the ALIANȚA (The Alliance – The Friends of the Romanian-American Alliance) Foundation.

On that occasion, Dr. Dennis Deletant was kind enough to give me a brief interview.

1. Dr. Deletant, Romania is about to end the Centenary Year of 2018 since its Great Union. How would you characterize the year of 2018 for Romania and Romanians?

It’s an understandably year of celebration because 1918 votes together under one political root, the Romanians in areas in which they’ve been dispersed, some to foreign rule: Romanians in Bessarabia under Russian rule, Romanians in Transylvania under Austro-Hungarian rule, Romanians in Banat under Austro-Hungarian rule, and Romanians in Dobrogea under Bulgarian rule. So, Romanians come home, if you like, from diaspora, come home finally after so many centuries, united with the motherland, the “Regat” [the Kingdom of Romania].

2. Thank you so much. How would you characterize, in short, the Anglo-American relations with Romania during the current administrations, Iohannis, May and Trump?

I think the both, the United States, the British government, like the most of the governments in the European Union, are very concerned about the latest developments in Romania, where there are attempts to sink by the political elites there, to really undermine the rule of law and to legalize corruption. And, of course, this brings Romania into conflict with its undertakings when it’s signed the accession treaty in 2007, the Accession Treaty to the European Union. And, certainly, a number of warning signs have appeared in the chanceries of Europe regarding Romania’s recent performance over the question, especially, of corruption, and the fact that there are, unfortunately, many Romanian politicians who don’t appear to respect the rule of law.

3. Thank you, Professor. What challenges will Romania face in its near future, taking into account the Brexit in the United Kingdom, the wave of nationalism in Europe and the United States, immigration, etc.?

I think a major problem for Romania is going to be an economic one because of the rapid dispersal, the rapid departure of many young Romanians. And we know, according to latest figures, some four million Romanians have left Romania since Romania joined the European Union. This, of course, has huge economic implications because it means that the proportion of all the people in Romania to younger people increases, the younger people are required in order to taxation to support the older people. But if there is a diminution of the young people, then the burden on the Romanian budget for supporting social services, in particular, becomes even greater. And I think this, any government in Romania is going to actually address this problem in a very serious manner in a very short term.

4. Thank you so much, Professor. To conclude, are there any personal publishing projects about Romania that you would like to share? You have mentioned something about a January project.

I just completed a six-hundred-page volume on Romania under communism, which is called Romania under Communism: Paradox and Degeneration. And so, I am…

5. At Routledge, I think.

Routledge, yes, published by Routledge, and its official publishing date is January 2019. So, I am resting on my laurels at the moment, I need to have a rest before I address my next project.

6. Thank you so much, Professor.

You are welcome.


NOTE – A version of the article was published in MEDIUM.


TIBERIU DIANU has published several books and a host of articles in law, politics, and post-communist societies. He currently lives and works in Washington, DC and can be followed on MEDIUM.





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