The other day on our site was published translation of the article "What the West is wrong about Belarus?" International Editor Economist Edward Lucas. This text is concerned spawned debate on our site.
We invited experts from around the world to take part in this debate and express their opinions about how an article by Mr. Lucas, as well as about the problem, which he formulates.
Grigory Ioffe, professor Redfardkaga University (USA)
Article by Lucas makes a strong impression. Have not read anything like that about Belarus. The article, as the saying goes, stimulates thought. It is remarkable that, on the one hand, the signs in the total helplessness of official western approaches to Belarus, on the other hand, helps to understand the causes of impotence. Indeed, none of the labels that consistently naveshvalisya the Belarusian political regime and the Belarusian society, has nothing to do with reality. And Lucas admits it. It's great! Why then used these labels? Apparently, because very few people seriously engaged in Belarus. For example, a Washington think tanks (think tanks), until recently there was not a single analyst who deals with Belarus. Not so long ago, there was one such Carnegie analyst — Matthew Rozhansky, and for some six months he has already figured out much of what is going on in Belarus, which is better than some stupid bureaucrats in 10-15 years. Just look Rozhansky report to Committee of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress. You'll see, over time, and the official policy would be wiser and more effective.
For all the intellectual grandeur of Article Lucas, for me it is more important the psychological obstacles that arise in the analyst brought up in the West in the collision with the neartadaksalnay (that is, one that can not be typed) a reality that is Belarus. Article Lucas has a clear demonstration of these obstacles. These I counted six.
1) naivety about themselves. I mean (especially) inadequate assessment of geo-strategic interests of the West, which lie at the heart of policy towards Belarus. Somewhere on the second page of the article trohstaronkavaga Lucas writes about another (whether of the seventh, or eighth) unsuccessful attempt to qualify Belarus, this time as a victim of Kremlin machinations. That's only when — in 2007-08., According to Lucas, the West decided to put geopolitics in the first place, and democracy — to another. Again, not law. But something stopped me to take Lucas's thesis on faith. Looked at just read the first page and saw that in 1994 the West "watched with growing horror at the way Mr Lukashenko deploys his country to the east, making all new deal with Boris Yeltsin." Think it's called a Freudian slip. It follows that geopolitics was at the heart of all initiatives on the part of Western Belarus initially. Do they not have anything else. The differences were only in the rhetoric that wrap and obscured the essence of the question if more, and when less than successful, and (!) In the presence of people on both sides, winking at each other and took the game.
2) negativism regarding what Lucas calls the cultural heritage of the Belarusians and mental, that is, in respect of the modern Belarusian culture. According to Lucas, it bears the imprint of an eclectic weak national consciousness and suffering of the war years, the fear of the risk of no confidence in the institutions, and the rejection of outside interference. According to Lucas, it's all terribly, but an unbiased observer would be able to see in the same bouquet and something positive. For example, less than the spread of xenophobia (compared, for example, Russia), nekanfrantatsyynasts, allergy to the pathos, the habit of homebrew order.
3) negativism against Lukashenka's regime. Then I have to throw rotten eggs, and if you do not throw, I mean something is not right. Thus, the repressive and authoritarian regime. But the alternative to it — here I am 100% agree with Sergei Nikolyuk — would be an oligarchy, not a democracy, for which there has been no grassroots premises. Oligarchy mode is not allowed. Furthermore, economic growth has been? There was even said to have. The consumer boom of 2005-2008. been? I do not know, but what I have read Leonid Zaika. Social service work? Working. And then to say that in the last election according NISEPI for Lukashenko gave voice 58% of the voters. The opinion that the loyalty of at least half of Belarusians was bought for a song or just smacks of abusive behavior to half of Belarusians. It's just that, a mistake that the Belarusian opposition, which supposedly got its worthy people.
4) Recognition of the West the moral right to impose punitive sanctions. Lucas calls for targeted sanctions against those responsible for beatings, disappearances, imprisonment. In principle laudable, since it corresponds to values. But we should realize that sanctions in this case to apply to the leading modes of at least half of the member countries of the UN. In the post-Soviet space, the sanctions should not pass any government, except, perhaps, the Baltic (and that is not a fact), and Kazakhstan is under no circumstances should not be allowed to starshynyavannya the OSCE.
5) Giving an exaggerated importance to the success of the reorientation of foreign trade of Belarus to the West, on the which is now more than half of the Belarusian exports. Lucas considers it so important that it calls for an achievement in the foundation of all activities being drawn into the orbit of a progressive and friendly West. In this case, whether out of naivety, whether because of the exhaustion of ideas that Lucas would not acknowledge the fact that the West Belarus sells mostly just something that came from the East (plus, however, potash). For instance, sells in processed form, but what came from the East. Then as soon as the East of Belarus may sell the products of their machinery, high-tech products and consumer goods production.
6) the results of profanation of the Union State. It is clear that over the Belarusian-Russian integration is laughing just lazy. Paphos per billion, and the result is a thousand. However, Lucas — not NTV journalist, he joined the staff of the influential analytical magazine, which is distributed on a global scale. And he should at least know of a single migration card of Belarus and Russia, there was no need to ask permission to work in the neighboring country, the lack of customs, on a tight cooperation in the military sphere, and on the many ramifications economic ties. In general surveys on NISEPI (September 2009), 80% of Belarusians does not consider Russia a foreign country! Against this background, it's no "practical" results union construction suggests at least a lack of competence. There are various ways to treat this, but you can not deny the fact that no two other countries that are closer to each other, than Belarus and Russia. Of course, this intimacy is fraught with problems for Belarus, but that is another question.
In general, if you try all six aberration lukasavskay consciousness strung on a rod and give it a name, then in my view it would be a cultural pride. It was she who prevails in scientific men like Lucas, that it incites naveshvannya shortcuts instead of patiently to understand the subject. Here is the inescapable fanaberystasts is the breeding ground failure of Western policy towards Ukraine.