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Don't muss with Belarus
#1
Exclamation 
Current Belarus politics.  An opinion piece.

On 9 August, Belarus held their election for the office of president.  The incumbent, Alexander Lukashenko, was declared the winner and the Belarusian authorities claim he won 80% of the vote.

A bunch of countries in the EU, and, the USA, assert the election was rigged and that human rights are being violated.

That may be.  But this is very much a situation to view not through the lens of emotion, but with cold rigor -- I call it the BIG PICTURE view.

So now there are ongoing demonstrations in Belarus by people contesting the election results, with the candidate who came in second, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, calling for the security apparatus of Belarus to cease supporting the regime and force Lukashenko out of office.

Allow me to invoke another viewing tool, that of the LONG VIEW (looking to the past for comparable events).  What is going now in Belarus is all too reminiscent of what happened in Ukraine in late 2004 (the so-called "Orange Revolution").  People were demonstrating, the regime was under strain . . . and western powers couldn't resist the urge to meddle.  The upshot of that meddling was a change of regime, the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine, and significant loss of Ukrainian territory, including the entire Crimea, to Russian insurgents and regular forces.  Despite the change in regime, Ukraine has remained saddled with high levels of corruption and a crippled economy.

Why did this outcome occur?  Precisely because the policy adopted by the western powers was not grounded in geopolitical reality, the most salient fact of which was that Russia was a neighboring power, and one that had always seen itself as either a protector or occupier of Ukraine.  The policy of the West was a high-risk gambit to change the regime in Kiev, but the politics were not tied to any military muscle because the West had no desire to face off against the Russians on the battlefield.  The Russian government knew this, and has since employed its military forces against Ukraine with impunity.

Getting back to the BIG PICTURE view, the geopolitical situation is practically identical with regard to Belarus.  Russia is a neighboring power, and Russia has military bases, equipment, and some troops stationed in Belarus.  For all that, Belarus is still able to chart a course, that while not wholly independent from that of Moscow, is something akin to a stance of neutrality concerning the great power rivalries of Russia and the West.  Let us look at a map to better understand the geopolitical situation of Belarus.

[Image: Bo-map.png]

Something important to realize is that about 40 miles from the border of Belarus is Smolensk, a major Russian city.  The next big city to the east of Smolensk is Moscow itself.  That should make clear just how much interest Russia is liable to take in regime change in Belarus.

So, BIG PICTURE in perspective, what may one expect to happen if regime change -does- happen in Belarus?  My take is that it will not result in a border conflict . . . it will ignite a full scale invasion of Belarus by Russian forces.  This will happen for several reasons, the most important of which is Russia's perception of where its national security is threatened.  Putin will NOT allow another western-friendly regime to exist on the border of Russia proper, especially one with which the road distance to Moscow is a mere 500 kilometers (320 miles).

The media attention (for an example, see https://www.dw.com/en/belarus-tsikhanous...a-54592262 ) given to unrest in Belarus may be a reflection of more clandestine operations underway.  I honestly hope this is not the case, because, once again, western policy is not tied to military (or even economic) muscle sufficient to warn off a Russian takeover.  Such a takeover will result in a year or two of condemnations for Putin's regime (of no concern to him), but as well, in the strategic sense, will dramatically increase the length of the common border of Russia with countries that are members of the EU and NATO.  In other words, the utility of Belarus as a quasi-neutral power, and buffer, between rival powers will have been lost.  And the Belarusian people?  Well, the demonstrations will be crushed, and the authorities in Belarus will no longer be Belarusians, but Russians proper, and, Russians eager to punish the Belarusian people for wandering away from Moscow's geopolitical orbit.  Put bluntly, either way this situation ends, the Belarusian people won't gain more freedom or anything resembling democracy.

Conclusion?  Western hands off Belarus.


Cheers
[Image: 14sigsepia.jpg]

Location: The lost world, Elsewhen
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#2
(08-17-2020, 10:23 AM)F2d5thCav Wrote: Current Belarus politics.  An opinion piece.

On 9 August, Belarus held their election for the office of president.  The incumbent, Alexander Lukashenko, was declared the winner and the Belarusian authorities claim he won 80% of the vote.

A bunch of countries in the EU, and, the USA, assert the election was rigged and that human rights are being violated.

That may be.  But this is very much a situation to view not through the lens of emotion, but with cold rigor -- I call it the BIG PICTURE view.

So now there are ongoing demonstrations in Belarus by people contesting the election results, with the candidate who came in second, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, calling for the security apparatus of Belarus to cease supporting the regime and force Lukashenko out of office.

Allow me to invoke another viewing tool, that of the LONG VIEW (looking to the past for comparable events).  What is going now in Belarus is all too reminiscent of what happened in Ukraine in late 2004 (the so-called "Orange Revolution").  People were demonstrating, the regime was under strain . . . and western powers couldn't resist the urge to meddle.  The upshot of that meddling was a change of regime, the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine, and significant loss of Ukrainian territory, including the entire Crimea, to Russian insurgents and regular forces.  Despite the change in regime, Ukraine has remained saddled with high levels of corruption and a crippled economy.

Why did this outcome occur?  Precisely because the policy adopted by the western powers was not grounded in geopolitical reality, the most salient fact of which was that Russia was a neighboring power, and one that had always seen itself as either a protector or occupier of Ukraine.  The policy of the West was a high-risk gambit to change the regime in Kiev, but the politics were not tied to any military muscle because the West had no desire to face off against the Russians on the battlefield.  The Russian government knew this, and has since employed its military forces against Ukraine with impunity.

Getting back to the BIG PICTURE view, the geopolitical situation is practically identical with regard to Belarus.  Russia is a neighboring power, and Russia has military bases, equipment, and some troops stationed in Belarus.  For all that, Belarus is still able to chart a course, that while not wholly independent from that of Moscow, is something akin to a stance of neutrality concerning the great power rivalries of Russia and the West.  Let us look at a map to better understand the geopolitical situation of Belarus.

[Image: Bo-map.png]

Something important to realize is that about 40 miles from the border of Belarus is Smolensk, a major Russian city.  The next big city to the east of Smolensk is Moscow itself.  That should make clear just how much interest Russia is liable to take in regime change in Belarus.

So, BIG PICTURE in perspective, what may one expect to happen if regime change -does- happen in Belarus?  My take is that it will not result in a border conflict . . . it will ignite a full scale invasion of Belarus by Russian forces.  This will happen for several reasons, the most important of which is Russia's perception of where its national security is threatened.  Putin will NOT allow another western-friendly regime to exist on the border of Russia proper, especially one with which the road distance to Moscow is a mere 500 kilometers (320 miles).

The media attention (for an example, see https://www.dw.com/en/belarus-tsikhanous...a-54592262 ) given to unrest in Belarus may be a reflection of more clandestine operations underway.  I honestly hope this is not the case, because, once again, western policy is not tied to military (or even economic) muscle sufficient to warn off a Russian takeover.  Such a takeover will result in a year or two of condemnations for Putin's regime (of no concern to him), but as well, in the strategic sense, will dramatically increase the length of the common border of Russia with countries that members of the EU and NATO.  In other words, the utility of Belarus as a quasi-neutral power, and buffer, between rival powers will have been lost.  And the Belarusian people?  Well, the demonstrations will be crushed, and the authorities in Belarus will no longer be Belarusians, but Russians proper, and, Russians eager to punish the Belarusian people for wandering away from Moscow's geopolitical orbit.  Put bluntly, either way this situation ends, the Belarusian people won't gain more freedom or anything resembling democracy.

Conclusion?  Western hands off Belarus.


Cheers

I'll be watching this with more interest thanks to the above.
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#3
I'm with ya on this. We shouldn't be meddling in ANY of the former Soviet states or satellites. They aren't ours to meddle with - they are, always have been, and always will be Russia's satellites.

It would be like Russia trying to flex their muscle in Canada or Mexico vs. the US as far a presenting a border threat goes.

Remember that pesky Cuban missile crisis?

.
“There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.” ― Ernest Hemingway
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#4




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#5
It's pretty obvious to me that the US Democrats and the Russians were in cahoots where Ukraine was concerned.  The lying press (and I think this was world-wide) kept the truth out of the mainstream media.  So obvious now in hindsight what the Clinton Department of State was up to (and look at her wallowing in billions of dollars).

Folks ... it was never Donald Trump doing deals with Russia.  It was always the Dems.  Uranium One?  Biden's quid-pro-quo?  0bama's hot mic moment, "... more flexibility after the election to negotiate with Putin ..."

There'll hopefully be a day of reckoning.  And, on that day, anyone who even benefitted slightly from the actions of the Dems will face the mob.
'Cause if they catch you in the backseat tryin'ta pick her locks
They're gonna send you home to momma in a cardboard box
You better run!!
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#6
Germany was deeply involved in the Ukraine affair as well, but was cloaked in the EU flag because it made for better optics.  Either the MSM was ignorant of that aspect or willfully chose not to comment thereupon.

I recall when our diplomat Nuland was "overheard" saying, "F*** the EU", -not a single- genuine official of the EU commented upon that episode.  But who reacted like she had been stung in the behind ?  Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany  (who, btw is not an EU official although she has a national political role in an EU country).  For Merkel, Nuland might as well have said, "F*** the German government and their schemes".  Very telling for those who had the eyes to see.

One thing that is apparent from the maneuvering around is that countries and peoples have agendas that endure much longer than the lives of individuals.  This is why it is misleading to judge the behavior of a country based simply on having met a few nice individuals from that country.

Group dynamics, including agendas, are much more significant drivers of national behavior.

Cheers
[Image: 14sigsepia.jpg]

Location: The lost world, Elsewhen
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#7
(08-18-2020, 12:19 PM)F2d5thCav Wrote: I recall when our diplomat Nuland was "overheard" saying, "F*** the EU", -not a single- genuine official of the EU commented upon that episode. 

Very telling for those who had the eyes to see.

Ol' Victoria would be one of those people who would last a long time 'in my room'.

This little piggy went to market ...
'Cause if they catch you in the backseat tryin'ta pick her locks
They're gonna send you home to momma in a cardboard box
You better run!!
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#8
Re: the Navalny poisoning

Noted for a few days Deutsche Welle featured opinion columns by various people in Germany stating that it was time to get serious about Russia; and that the way to do that was to axe the NORDSTREAM2 gas pipeline agreement.

Interestingly, today, those stories are gone from the dw.com page.  Methinks someone high up decided it was a not a good idea to stir up the people with this notion, that, if effected, could cost the German elites a huge amount of money they have been planning on pocketing.

More decision making of import to the entire EU . . . being made behind closed doors.  Transparency need not apply.  Accountability?  Don't make us laugh.

I may be wrong about the pipeline agreement not being affected, but I don't think so. Navalny will just have to take his poison like a good boy.

Cheers
[Image: 14sigsepia.jpg]

Location: The lost world, Elsewhen
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