Rahr vs. Kramer: the dilemma of Western policy towards Belarus

Society Article "If sanctions are" Damon Wilson and David Kramer We were asked to comment on the German political scientist, head of the Russia and CIS German Council on Foreign Policy Aleksandrov Rara.

Rahr: I have carefully read the article by David Kramer and his colleagues. It is interesting, it reflects the view that we in the European Union are well aware. This is the point of view of America's conservative establishment. Americans last 10 years have sought simply to remove Lukashenko from the stage and therefore insisted on a very tough sanctions against the country, believing that in this way can bring about regime change in Belarus. In the European Union or in a part of the EU, this approach is still considered very naive. The EU does not aim at any price change mode, change the leadership in Belarus, although certain forces in the hope that too.

But there is no power or pavsilavymi methods Europeans did not want to pursue this. Therefore the European Union has always advocated a more lenient sanctions, for a softer impact on the Belarusians, its policies and its elite. I think that the time history will show which approaches more correct. It seems to me that certain changes in Belarusian politics yet occurred, Lukashenko himself now realizes that he can not remain in power without the West, and goes some evolutionary steps in the economic area, and I believe in the political, too.

Article D. Kremer and D. Wilson seems to me too soon and too critical with respect to such countries as Germany. Germany has always tried to put pressure on one side of Lukashenko in matters of human rights, but on the other side and are always looking for opportunities for cooperation with Belarus in the economic sphere.

Drakakhrust: This article contains a direct indictment of the German diplomacy that she misplaced their intervention only slowed down the process of the release of political prisoners in 2008. Do you agree with this interpretation?

Rahr: Charged with the then German Ambassador Weiss, who went to the cooperation with the administration of Lukashenko, too tight in terms of Kremer and his colleagues, who too patiently negotiated. But I do not understand why in today's article, U.S. experts fixed attention to such figures as Alexander Kozulin, who was released with the assistance of the U.S. and the European Union, but which in the modern Belarusian politics plays no role. His little support. The European Union at the time to understand what makes a hero of one person — not necessarily the right approach for strengthening the democratic opposition in Belarus. The same Kozulin was not then a single leader, a kind of Belarusian Sakharov or Solzhenitsyn. That is why Germany and did not do such a focus on his business.

On the other hand it was Germany, and this is noted in the article suggested that the Belarusian side to take Kozulin, political asylum, give him the opportunity to be treated in Germany. Article was made hint that Kozulin himself could make such a decision faster than it is then realized. So, I think that criticism is not too fair. It seems to me that since 2007, the first major conflict with Russia, when Belarus began to look for outlets to the West, the policy of "carrot and stick" and not just "stick", was more successful and productive and created a bridgehead from which to Belarus to work with.

We must not forget that Belarus was included in the EU "Eastern Partnership" and also made big concessions to the EU in political and economic terms.

And through that Belarus has found a way to the West, which is more rigid American diplomats in Belarus would not give.

DrakakhrustYou said that there are some changes in Belarusian politics. But there is a point of view, it is expressed in the article by Kremer and D.Uilsana, and in the estimation of some representatives of the Belarusian opposition, that the policy of inclusion of Belarus has failed, that the regime did not become more liberal and flexible, but perhaps not vice versa. And do not turn out so that the search for some small and zvyshdrobnyh change — is an attempt to fit the conditions under turnkey solution?

Rahr: This is a very correct and good questions. They remind me of the debate that took place between the United States and West Germany in the 80s at the beginning of Gorbachev's perestroika. Then it was the Germans, along with some other "old" Europeans believed that the Soviet Union could only change the policy of trade and engage in cooperation. Then the Europeans also had to make some concessions, the recognition of the legitimacy of the Soviet regime, but in the end the Soviet Union through such cooperation through trade ties through rapprochement with the Western position has changed and even collapsed. I remember that at the beginning reyganavskaya administration strongly opposed to any kind of cooperation with hostile to the Soviet regime and believed that the Soviet Union could finish only club.

The spores were then very serious. Today we hear the echo of those disputes can see the position of the conservative circles of America, who believe that all, including the change of regime in Belarus could gain strength, "club". But in the EU believe that such methods of force against Belarus should not apply, that everything will go through evolution, it is necessary to angazhirovat Belarusian intelligentsia, the economy, the middle class, civil society, as well as the highest-ranking politicians to think of alternatives to the current exchange rate, which brought to a standstill.

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