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The situation in Belarus is heartening to all over the world - a slumbering country that's decided enough is enough. After the brazenness with which Lukashenko dispatched with the "election" and the brutality and torture that he inflicted on protesters and the opposition, it is more clear now than ever that he has to go. I am hopeful that the Belarusian people will be able to choose their own future in a short amount of time. Even areas in which Lukashenko long had power - factory workers in particular, were shouting at him to "Resign!". 

Which brings us to the question of leadership. The messaging coming out of the White House - and even Number 10 in London, as well as the Bundestag in Berlin have been nothing less than disappointing. The fact that Lithuania is the country taking the lead on this is depressing. Good on Lithuania for sticking up for democracy and deeply-held Baltic beliefs - but shame on the rest of us for watching on the sidelines. No sanctions have yet been passed by the US or the EU (even though the EU is beginning to discuss some now - over a week after the election). 

https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/08/17/lukashenko-putin-belarus-protests-europe-lithuania/

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The US could make gains there, if they are doing it wisely.

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Additionally Mali is turning to be interesting right now.

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50 minutes ago, Conservative Elector 2 said:

The US could make gains there, if they are doing it wisely.

Seeing an opportunity for proxy-state neo-imperial in a people standing up for freedom and throwing oppression is quite a lowly and despicable attitude, there. It's why I consider the Cold War, where this attitude started, to be nothing but a "dirty war," with no "protagonist," no "higher ground," no "cause worth fighting for," and no real "winner," and where both sides and the proxy tyrants and militias they funded and propped up, and the government-run and funded terrorist organizations like the CIA, MI6, KGB, and others, were all just as monstrously and attrociously bad as each other. Considering proxy-state neo-imperialistic gain right from the point when a people want and self-determination is frankly a disgusting perspective, @Conservative Elector 2.

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11 hours ago, Patine said:

Seeing an opportunity for proxy-state neo-imperial in a people standing up for freedom and throwing oppression is quite a lowly and despicable attitude, there. It's why I consider the Cold War, where this attitude started, to be nothing but a "dirty war," with no "protagonist," no "higher ground," no "cause worth fighting for," and no real "winner," and where both sides and the proxy tyrants and militias they funded and propped up, and the government-run and funded terrorist organizations like the CIA, MI6, KGB, and others, were all just as monstrously and attrociously bad as each other. Considering proxy-state neo-imperialistic gain right from the point when a people want and self-determination is frankly a disgusting perspective, @Conservative Elector 2.

It's no secret we differ on foreign policy. While I encourage a strong presence overseas and would advise other countries to take as much influence as possible, you do not. I think it should be a leader's duty to care about his own country the most. Therefore US interests arguably outweigh Belarusian interests from an American perspective. That said, I do not advocate to treat Belarus badly. I think if the US does it in a proper way, the Belarusian people could make enormous profits as well. Being viewed as an ally of the US within the ranks of the world community would gain them important reputation. Currently Belarus is more or less a pariah state.

 

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1 minute ago, Conservative Elector 2 said:

It's no secret we differ on foreign policy. While I encourage a strong presence overseas and would advise other countries to take as much influence as possible, you do not. I think it should be a leader's duty to care about his own country the most. Therefore US interests arguably outweigh Belarusian interests from an American perspective. That said, I do not advocate to treat Belarus badly. I think if the US does it in a proper way, the Belarusian people could make enormous profits as well. Being viewed as an ally of the US within the ranks of the world community would gain them important reputation. Currently Belarus is more or less a pariah state.

 

You'll have to forgive me if I don't the circle of allies Uncle Sam has around himself (outside First World NATO and ANZUS allies, and the "tails wagging the dog," that are Israel and the absolute theocratic monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula) as a really favourable club in the long term. Just look at how Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, Zaire, Somalia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Taiwan, South Vietnam, Cambodia, and South Korea were, at various times in the post-WW2 era - SCREWED OVER ROYALTY and had blood-thirsty, human-rights-abusing, tyrannical, and corrupt dictatorships installed and propped up that are no better AT ALL than any Communist or Islamist alternative, doesn't give me much faith in your claim. In fact, it shows you as supporting all manners of horrid tyranny, and then saying it's effectively justified because it's "pro-American," and for no other reason. But your supporting horrid tyrant, and Nuremberg-calibre criminal in Washington, DC installing them and propping them up. It's JUST AS DISGUSTING as supporting Putin's tyrants. There's NO MEANINGFUL, ETHICAL DIFFERENCE. It's loathsomely criminal and disgusting in both cases, equally.

Also, as an Austrian, you're statements on national priority in that post come across as contradictory and nonsensical, just to point that out.

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1 hour ago, Patine said:

Also, as an Austrian, you're statements on national priority in that post come across as contradictory and nonsensical, just to point that out.

I usually try to articulate what would be my position, if I lived in the US because the forum is mostly about US politics. Additionally I'd advocated for Austria to join the NATO if asked.

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16 hours ago, Hestia11 said:

Which brings us to the question of leadership. The messaging coming out of the White House - and even Number 10 in London, as well as the Bundestag in Berlin have been nothing less than disappointing. The fact that Lithuania is the country taking the lead on this is depressing. Good on Lithuania for sticking up for democracy and deeply-held Baltic beliefs - but shame on the rest of us for watching on the sidelines.

Well what are we supposed to do? Our hands are tied.

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2 hours ago, Wiw said:

Well what are we supposed to do? Our hands are tied.

Sanctions are possible. Outspoken support for the protesters is possible - rather than silence. Flying in medical supplies is a route the US could take. 

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21 minutes ago, Hestia11 said:

Sanctions are possible. Outspoken support for the protesters is possible - rather than silence. Flying in medical supplies is a route the US could take. 

My fear is Pompeo will just do a couple gestures (like he did for Hong Kong, and the imprisonment camps in China) and then disappear from supporting them, just like he did to the other two situations. I don't think the USA should be involved in "opportunistic" policing, like they have been elsewhere, I do believe they should help those where really the USA doesn't receive a benefit, kinda like helping a friend even if you get nothing out of it, it is just right. 

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Lets be really frank here, Belarus is a vassal state of Russia.  President Putin is the one who is truly in control of the situation that is occurring there, and will be kingmaker for whatever party comes out on top.  The West is not going to risk getting in a spat with Putin over Belarus, there is simply no strategic value that would justify the costs of the confrontation.  It is no surprise that there has been a lack of a unified strong response from the major Western powers to the situation, a crisis over Belarus is simply not worth it.

Ukraine was a much more tantalizing prospect, and the situation there has only worsened following the West's intervention years back.  Whether we like it or not, the most logical outcome for Belarus is unification with Russia.  It was already in progress before this situation developed, and Belarus only has de jure independence anyways.  Their economy is completely dependent on Russia.

I think that the two most likely outcomes are :

1.) Lukashenko remains in power

2.) A new Russian-approved leader takes over in his stead

Regardless of what happens, the next set of elections will be under a much larger amount of international scrutiny for sure.

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3 minutes ago, Wiw said:

Yeah - why give them an excuse to start WWIII?

There are obviously more options than just an incursion, which I dont think anyone is advocating for.

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6 hours ago, Hestia11 said:

Sanctions are possible. Outspoken support for the protesters is possible - rather than silence. Flying in medical supplies is a route the US could take. 

Like with all circumstances in such nations, sanctions would hurt those protesters more than Lukashenko and his cronies. That's a commonly known flaw in the theory of sanctions - in fact Krushchev said, somewhat caustically, it was, at best, a tool for force a Revolution faster than actually really hurting the tyrant in power.

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30 minutes ago, Patine said:

Like with all circumstances in such nations, sanctions would hurt those protesters more than Lukashenko and his cronies. That's a commonly known flaw in the theory of sanctions - in fact Krushchev said, somewhat caustically, it was, at best, a tool for forth a Revolution faster than actually the tyrant in power.

Putting sanctions on Belarus would be nothing more than a symbolic measure.  Their economy is entirely dependent on Russian trade and subsidization, and cutting off trade with the West would not really put a large amount pressure on Lukashenko.  Lukashenko's recent reapproachment with the US and EU is only a result of a political spat with Putin.  The situation at hand puts him more beholden to President Putin than ever.

The Western powers would be fighting a pointless battle, and just need to let this one go.  Even if a Western friendly regime was put in place, Russia could simply cut off trade/economic subsidies and completely collapse the country.  This battle was lost before it was started, and I think most world leaders know that.

I recommend a case study of Venezuela and Maduro as well, this is a very similar situation.

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9 hours ago, Conservative Elector 2 said:

I usually try to articulate what would be my position, if I lived in the US because the forum is mostly about US politics. Additionally I'd advocated for Austria to join the NATO if asked.

I don't see why. I don't answer questions or make viewpoints here as if I were an American. I am thankful the Good Lord allowed to be born here rather than south of the 49th (though I realize the majority of the world is far worse than the U.S. - I make no such claims to the contrary), and Canadian culture, values, and society - and government system, I feel are much more comfortable to me. I'd rather also live Austria than the United States (though not necessarily all EU countries as preference, I'd admit - Romania and Portugal would be pretty grim, and Hungary has a more de facto rigged electoral system with lack of choice than my American neighbours). Of course, everyone is entitled to their full viewpoints on things - I just want to know if you haven't fully taken the time to get the full appreciation of your own nation in contrast. And, how many people who come from nations hit hard by the proxy war and political conflict issues were discussing who were willing to discuss "life back home," candidly? I've talked to quite a few, myself, and it's a real eye-opening perspective, especially for those who hold your rosy views on Neo-Imperialism.

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3 minutes ago, Patine said:

I don't see why.

When talking about what the best for the US is, it's not always also the best for Austria. But the Austrian perspective is not as relevant on this forum. Additionally it's easier, because I'd have to clarify my positions in most posts for two perspectives.

5 minutes ago, Patine said:

Romania and Portugal would be pretty grim, and Hungary has a more de facto rigged electoral system with lack of choice than my American neighbours).

I fully understand why someone would not want to live in Romania, but Portugal is quite nice. They are poorer than other western European countries, but they are stable and largely without any social unrest. There are many other countries in Europe I'd dislike more to live in than Portugal. 

9 minutes ago, Patine said:

Of course, everyone is entitled to their full viewpoints on things - I just want to know if you haven't fully taken the time to get the full appreciation of your own nation in contrast. And, how many people who come from nations hit hard by the proxy war and political conflict issues were discussing who were willing to discuss "life back home," candidly? I've talked to quite a few, myself, and it's a real eye-opening perspective, especially for those who hold your rosy views on Neo-Imperialism.

Thank you. Well, it's quiet here. That's nice yes, but otherwise many things aren't working well. It's not that we don't have homelessness here. However, I am not sure if these people just refuse help from the government. Other internal things are also not working smoothly. Of course it would be nice to improve Austria but I don't think I'd do it. I am not the one to fix the failures of others. 

One example which probably fits Neo-Imperialism came across two weeks ago. I thought about Lebanon being better off, if ruled by Macron as French president. I guess their government was so bad, Macron would be a huge improvement to the people of Lebanon.

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16 hours ago, Patine said:

I am thankful the Good Lord allowed to be born here rather than south of the 49th (though I realize the majority of the world is far worse than the U.S. - I make no such claims to the contrary), and Canadian culture, values, and society - and government system, I feel are much more comfortable to me.

I can understand why someone would not want to live in the US, but I can't think of any greater materialistic dream, than holding US citizenship. Finally breathing the air of the free, being protected by your government, having the right to vote on the most important world leader - the leader of the free world - and being part of the 2nd largest democracy as well as arguably the richest and most significant country in the world is just amazing.

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10 minutes ago, Conservative Elector 2 said:

Finally breathing the air of the free, being protected by your government, having the right to vote on the most important world leader - the leader of the free world.

These three ideals are not really as true as they're made out to be. The United States is not, all-in-all, "freer" than a lot of other First World Nations at the end of the day. The U.S. Government has shown to both protecting it's citizens, from foreigners, each other, natural disasters, and the results of various types of corporate predation, at numerous, and increasing instances. And, given the electoral rigging, malfeasance, fixing, and corruption form entrenched institutions IN the United States that are entrusted with such electoral roles, and abuse them thoroughly, and are never indicted or investigated, in every election for the last few decades, the "Leader of the Free World," is, ironically, elected in one of the five political party and electoral environments in the First World with the least REAL choice ALLOWED to their voters. The PR sounds a lot better than the facts, there. Canada is FAR preferable, to me...

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17 minutes ago, Patine said:

Canada is FAR preferable, to me...

I wouldn't refuse Canadian citizenship though.

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