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Belarus. The Shame on the Doorstep of Europe.


ruserious

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The Treaty of Rome signed in 1957 did something amazing. For the first time ever, the conditions necessary for peace in Europe were formed. Tying the economies together has made a reluctance to work together and the democratic credentials needed to be a member has ensured a lasting peace through the democratic peace theory.

Europe even won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.

All is fine and dandy on the European Continent then eh!?

Not Quite. Bordering 3 EU States, lies Belarus. Under the control of Alexander Lukashenko since 1994, he is often referred to as ''Europe's Last Dictator''.

According to the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE) after a review of the 2012 parliamentary elections:
The legal framework does not adequately guarantee the conduct of elections in line with OSCE commitments and international standards. In particular, this includes key provisions
concerning voter and candidate registration, election commission composition, election observation,
election day procedures, and the complaints and appeals process.
The Economist magazine wrote a very interesting article back in 2010 where it was noted that:
Belarus's security service, which still calls itself the KGB, has filed charges against 17 opposition figures, among them seven presidential candidates who ran against Mr Lukashenka. They face up to 15 years in prison on charges of organising mass disturbances.
Belarus's election: What should the EU do about Belarus? | The Economist

The best line sums up the EU's efforts in the region:
The EU's recent record of promoting democracy in former Soviet republics has been pitiful
The EU handed down travel bans (oy vey!) to the Belorussian government following the 2010 presidential election. Offers of aid from Germany and several other EU states were ignored in return for free elections were ignored in favour of an oil deal with Russia.

An excellent example of the police state in action surrounds the case of Andrei Sannikov, the main opposition runner in the 2010 Presidential election. He was incarcerated in a Minsk KGB facility for peacefully protesting at a demonstration after the elections, and faced up to a 15 year imprisonment. Amnesty International labeled him a prisoner of conscience and called for his immediate release on the grounds that he may be facing torture and medical neglect while in custody. Not only that, but as the New York Times reported:
The government warned recently that it might seize custody of the 3-year-old son of an opposition presidential candidate who was jailed along with his wife, a journalist. The authorities said that they were investigating the status of the child, who is now living with his grandmother, and that they expected to make a decision by the end of the month.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/10/world/europe/10belarus.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&ref=todayspaper
Sannikov was released in 2012 after a presidential pardon.

It's very clear that this authoritarian police state runs contrary to the values of the European Union. Despite bordering 3 EU States, the EU to date has done little or nothing to support a democratic transition in the country.

Is there something Europe can do or should it not get involved? Remember the Balkans conflict?

The EU is developing it's foreign and security policy abroad with the development of EUFOR missions such as Chad and the battlegroups. Yet, close to home, nothing seems to be done to tackle the Belorussian regime.

This is the current make up of parliament:

The Green represents Lukashenko while the Red represents the Communist party of Belarus which supports the regime.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Rus.
 


Boy M5

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Fully agree and good OP.

The EU hasn't the will or the means.

Thankyou for not appending the John Sweeney Newsnight footage (of shouty Scientoligist and N Korea student tour fame) of the torture the regime uses.

Note that Adi Roche's charity effectively helps Belarus kids as the purple / fallout zone from Chernobyl has a large part in Belarus. Chernobyl is in the Ukraine
 

Lempo

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There has been quite an controversy brewing up over the ice-hockey world championships Belarus is supposed to host next year. Calls on EU lever to pressure IIHF to take the games away from them over the human rights issues. Apparently Lukashenko is a bit of a hockey fanatic and it would hurt him very personally. The matter seems to be in a bit of a limbo at the moment but is bound to rise up again after this years' championships are over in Sweden today.

Opponents though question, quite rightfully perhaps, why there has not been similar calls about the Beijing Olympics or about Soths Olympics in Russia in 2014, saying that marginal sports seem to be a bit special and the ban-callers seem to have little problem sitting in the VIP boxes in these other events in other problematic countries.
 

littlemicky2012

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From the perspective of the European ruling class, dictatorships are only a problem if they are a hindrance to business or a threat to strategic interests. So the China example is appropriate it is and was an extremely oppressive dictatorship, an effective authoritarian regime. However since it abandoned "communism", "state capitalism" or whatever you call it and embraced the "free market", Europe is happy to deal with China and , not very often, offer some feather light criticism of they human rights record of the regime. It's the reason Franco was left in place after the "war against fascism" in Europe, the reason Putin's anti democratic regime is tolerated etc.

For Europe business is business, everything else is secondary. Don't hold your braeth for any action on Belarus.
 

jcdf

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Why has the EU done so little about Belarus? In one word Russia. With Putin in charge of Russia their support of Belarus will continue.

Belarus is a small country with a small population who can easily emigrate to the EU if they wish. The EU probably does not consider the trouble coming from intervention to be worth it, especially when there are still so many half formed democracies throughout eastern Europe that require continuous support like the former Yugoslavian states and the Ukraine. It is just not worth it. All it would do would antagonize Russia, whose support is required in dealing in the Slavic nations.

With the European economic crisis ongoing we cannot afford to take upon ourselves too many more liabilities. Just so long as the Belarus leadership do not start any mass genocides we can ignore their minor transgressions for now.
 

ruserious

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For Europe business is business, everything else is secondary. Don't hold your braeth for any action on Belarus.
Although, counter to that, if Belarus did become a liberal democratic state, it would eventually probably join the EU which would open up the markets to another 10 million people.
 

publicrealm

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According to Wikipedia the west is already financing anti-government NGOs inside the country.

n 2004, the United States passed the Belarus Democracy Act, which authorized funding for pro-democracy Belarusian NGOs, and proscribed loans to the Belarusian government, except for humanitarian purposes.[SUP][100][/SUP] Despite this political friction, the two countries do cooperate on intellectual property protection, prevention of human trafficking, technology crime, and disaster relief.[SUP][101][/SUP] Sino-Belarusian relations have improved,[SUP][102][/SUP] strengthened by the visit of President Lukashenko to China in October 2005.[SUP][103][/SUP] Belarus also has strong ties with Syria,[SUP][104][/SUP] considered a key partner in the Middle East.[SUP][105][/SUP] In addition to the CIS, Belarus is a member of the Eurasian Economic Community, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation,[SUP][97][/SUP] the international Non-Aligned Movement since 1998,[SUP][106][/SUP] the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the UN since its founding in 1945. As an OSCE member state, Belarus's international commitments are subject to monitoring under the mandate of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.[SUP][107][/SUP]

Belarus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


I'm not sure that this is any of our business really.
 

ruserious

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According to Wikipedia the west is already financing anti-government NGOs inside the country.

n 2004, the United States passed the Belarus Democracy Act, which authorized funding for pro-democracy Belarusian NGOs, and proscribed loans to the Belarusian government, except for humanitarian purposes.[SUP][100][/SUP] Despite this political friction, the two countries do cooperate on intellectual property protection, prevention of human trafficking, technology crime, and disaster relief.[SUP][101][/SUP] Sino-Belarusian relations have improved,[SUP][102][/SUP] strengthened by the visit of President Lukashenko to China in October 2005.[SUP][103][/SUP] Belarus also has strong ties with Syria,[SUP][104][/SUP] considered a key partner in the Middle East.[SUP][105][/SUP] In addition to the CIS, Belarus is a member of the Eurasian Economic Community, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation,[SUP][97][/SUP] the international Non-Aligned Movement since 1998,[SUP][106][/SUP] the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the UN since its founding in 1945. As an OSCE member state, Belarus's international commitments are subject to monitoring under the mandate of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.[SUP][107][/SUP]

Belarus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


I'm not sure that this is any of our business really.

To use an oft-used cliche. "In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing." From Edward Burke
 

Boy M5

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To use an oft-used cliche. "In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing." From Edward Burke
Was that one of Edmund Burke's?
 

publicrealm

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To use an oft-used cliche. "In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing." From Edward Burke
Well that phrase can be appropriate at times.

But we may not always have the same view on what is 'evil' - or what degree of 'evil' merits intervention - or what triggers intervention.

Latter day measures (somewhat unreliable in hindsight) include posession of weapons of mass destruction and (coming soon) the use of nerve gas in an internal conflict.
 

ruserious

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Well that phrase can be appropriate at times.

But we may not always have the same view on what is 'evil' - or what degree of 'evil' merits intervention - or what triggers intervention.

Latter day measures (somewhat unreliable in hindsight) include posession of weapons of mass destruction and (coming soon) the use of nerve gas in an internal conflict.
Indeed and all actions of the EU ultimately come with the financial impact. One could argue liberalising Belarus would eventually open up new markets so it could be classed as an investment.
 

publicrealm

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Indeed and all actions of the EU ultimately come with the financial impact. One could argue liberalising Belarus would eventually open up new markets so it could be classed as an investment.
I agree there may be some economic advantage in er, 'liberalising' the downtrodden and oppressed (for the liberator in the main).

In fact I believe it can often be the main argument - although rarely presented as such. Usually it is dressed up in fine moral sentiments.
 

Lempo

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Indeed and all actions of the EU ultimately come with the financial impact. One could argue liberalising Belarus would eventually open up new markets so it could be classed as an investment.
Wouldn't that be like "Good Men Doing Something" as defined by the Americans in context of Iraq? Do they have any resources we also could liberate as self-appointed Good Men?
 

ruserious

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I agree there may be some economic advantage in er, 'liberalising' the downtrodden and oppressed (for the liberator in the main).

In fact I believe it can often be the main argument - although rarely presented as such. Usually it is dressed up in fine moral sentiments.
Yep, because it would attract a backlash from the moral righteous brigade but if you go in there with the raison d'etre of your own economy, the spin off effects would also help the local people.
 

firefly123

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Well at least it's not Ireland which ,if we were to believe many posters on here, is a dystopian hell hole that wouldn't even occur in orwells worst nightmare.
I've actually been to Belorus. Minsk is a very strange city full of battle memorials from World War Two, ************************ty restaurants where police openly do brown envelope deals with crooks and absolutely stunning looking women.
Out in the country you see horse drawn plows whilst migs break the sound barrier overhead. You have arrow straight east- west motorways (a throwback to the Cold War to transport tanks) whilst secondary roads are muck. You have orphanages where kids live in squalor and desperate of the tiniest amount of affection. Where the boys will almost always become criminals and girls go in to prostitution.
There is a special level of hell reserved for the leaders of that place.
 

ruserious

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Well at least it's not Ireland which ,if we were to believe many posters on here, is a dystopian hell hole that wouldn't even occur in orwells worst nightmare.
I've actually been to Belorus. Minsk is a very strange city full of battle memorials from World War Two, ************************ty restaurants where police openly do brown envelope deals with crooks and absolutely stunning looking women.
Out in the country you see horse drawn plows whilst migs break the sound barrier overhead. You have arrow straight east- west motorways (a throwback to the Cold War to transport tanks) whilst secondary roads are muck. You have orphanages where kids live in squalor and desperate of the tiniest amount of affection. Where the boys will almost always become criminals and girls go in to prostitution.
There is a special level of hell reserved for the leaders of that place.
Was it on business you were there?? Hardly a tourism hot spot..
 

Honecker

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The Treaty of Rome signed in 1957 did something amazing. For the first time ever, the conditions necessary for peace in Europe were formed. Tying the economies together has made a reluctance to work together and the democratic credentials needed to be a member has ensured a lasting peace through the democratic peace theory.

Europe even won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.

All is fine and dandy on the European Continent then eh!?

Not Quite. Bordering 3 EU States, lies Belarus. Under the control of Alexander Lukashenko since 1994, he is often referred to as ''Europe's Last Dictator''.

According to the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE) after a review of the 2012 parliamentary elections:


The Economist magazine wrote a very interesting article back in 2010 where it was noted that:

Belarus's election: What should the EU do about Belarus? | The Economist

The best line sums up the EU's efforts in the region:


The EU handed down travel bans (oy vey!) to the Belorussian government following the 2010 presidential election. Offers of aid from Germany and several other EU states were ignored in return for free elections were ignored in favour of an oil deal with Russia.

An excellent example of the police state in action surrounds the case of Andrei Sannikov, the main opposition runner in the 2010 Presidential election. He was incarcerated in a Minsk KGB facility for peacefully protesting at a demonstration after the elections, and faced up to a 15 year imprisonment. Amnesty International labeled him a prisoner of conscience and called for his immediate release on the grounds that he may be facing torture and medical neglect while in custody. Not only that, but as the New York Times reported:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/10/world/europe/10belarus.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&ref=todayspaper
Sannikov was released in 2012 after a presidential pardon.

It's very clear that this authoritarian police state runs contrary to the values of the European Union. Despite bordering 3 EU States, the EU to date has done little or nothing to support a democratic transition in the country.

Is there something Europe can do or should it not get involved? Remember the Balkans conflict?

The EU is developing it's foreign and security policy abroad with the development of EUFOR missions such as Chad and the battlegroups. Yet, close to home, nothing seems to be done to tackle the Belorussian regime.

This is the current make up of parliament:

The Green represents Lukashenko while the Red represents the Communist party of Belarus which supports the regime.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Rus.
Terrible OP. Real pseudo-academic nonsense.

Firstly the Treaty of Rome was not about creating the conditions for Peace in Europe. The conditions for peace in Europe were created by dividing Germany in Two and having 4 different armies occupy it. The Treaty of Rome was about bringing West Germany back into the economic and political system as an ally of the West during the Cold War. The treaty also acknowledged the desire of the French to control German Coal and Steel to prevent future re-armament.

The Democratic Peace Theory is total nonsense. Even then you don't understand the theory when you say it requires the economies of Europe to be tied together.

The European Union winning the Nobel Peace Prize is also clutching at straws. Even Henry Kissinger received that award. The EU does not give a toss about "human rights" in Belarus anymore than it cares about human rights in Mali and Chad. The recent French adventures in North Africa are primarily about trying to ensure their energy security going forward.

Although, counter to that, if Belarus did become a liberal democratic state, it would eventually probably join the EU which would open up the markets to another 10 million people.
So it's all about expanding markets for big business is it?

To use an oft-used cliche. "In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing." From Edward Burke
Good men like Bush and Blair is it?

This OP is all about liberal warmongering under the guise of human rights.
 

ruserious

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Terrible OP. Real pseudo-academic nonsense.

First the Treaty of Rome was not about creating the conditions for Peace in Europe. The conditions for peace in Europe were created by dividing Germany in Two and having 4 different armies occupy it. The Treaty of Rome was about bringing West Germany back into the economic and political system as an ally of the West during the Cold War. The treaty also acknowledged the desire of the French to control German Coal and Steel to prevent future re-armament.

The Democratic Peace Theory is total nonsense. Even then you don't understand the theory when you say it requires the economies of Europe to be tied together.

The European Union winning the Nobel Peace Prize is also clutching at straws. Even Henry Kissinger received that award. The EU does not give a toss about "human rights" in Belarus anymore than it cares about human rights in Mali and Chad. The recent French adventures in North Africa are primarily about trying to ensure their energy security going forward.



So it's all about expanding markets for big business is it?



Good men like Bush and Blair is it?

This OP is all about liberal warmongering under the guise of human rights.

You seem to dismiss without offering your view or use anything based on evidence. Explain why the DPT is nonsense.
 

Tea Party Patriot

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Why has the EU done so little about Belarus? In one word Russia. With Putin in charge of Russia their support of Belarus will continue.

Belarus is a small country with a small population who can easily emigrate to the EU if they wish. The EU probably does not consider the trouble coming from intervention to be worth it, especially when there are still so many half formed democracies throughout eastern Europe that require continuous support like the former Yugoslavian states and the Ukraine. It is just not worth it. All it would do would antagonize Russia, whose support is required in dealing in the Slavic nations.

With the European economic crisis ongoing we cannot afford to take upon ourselves too many more liabilities. Just so long as the Belarus leadership do not start any mass genocides we can ignore their minor transgressions for now.
Someone at some point on this thread will probably attack you for saying what you said above but it is the unfortunate truth of the political situation. The only way Alexander Lukashenko will ever be shifted will be when he dies, by revolution in the country itself or by military intervention. The last option could mean war with Russia or a proxy war with Russia pumping military supplies into the country.
 

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