Wednesday, May 26, 2021

West Must Learn that Containing Dictators Not Enough to Protect Its Interests, Skobov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 24 – Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s forcing a plane to land so he could arrest one of his opponents who was on board provides “the latest lesson to the civilized world” that any hopes to agree with dictators about their actions abroad without addressing their domestic policies at the same time are “in vain,” Aleksandr Skobov says.

            Some in Western countries still believe that they can achieve what they want, the defense of the international order, by proposing to dictators like Lukashenka and Putin that “’you can do what you want at home but don’t try doing it to us’” are foolish because there is no clear divide between such rulers’ domestic and foreign policies (

            The latest outrage from the Belarusian leader is especially instructive because “Belarus is not an empire,” but “never the less, the Minsk rat, just like the Kremlin one” which does aspire to rebuilding an empire, “is beginning to directly attack the international legal order and beginning to destroy it.”

            “Under contemporary conditions of the global information world, no dictatorship can completely cut itself off from the surrounding world,” Skobov says. North Korea appears an exception but only because it was established as a kind of “isolation prison zone.” But it is challenging the international order anyway.

            Consequently, the commentator continues, “any dictatorship which is suppressing by force its own opposition inevitably will extend the terrorist operations of its punitive forces onto the international space.” And those Western countries who observe this and do nothing “in fact” become little more than co-conspirators.

            “The civilized world must finally recognize that the suppression of an opposition, the violation of human rights, political repressions, judicial arbitrariness, and electoral falsifications in countries of the authoritarian revanchist kind directly threatens its own security” as long as such regimes exist.

            And “therefore,” Skobov argues, “there is absolutely no prospect” for limiting the activities of these countries internationally unless the West works to eliminate their repressive regimes at home. “One cannot be exchanged for the other. They are a package deal” and must be seen as such.

            Skobov says he is not calling for the use of force against regimes like Lukashenka’s every time they commit an outrage, although he suggests that “sooner or later the problem of Putin and Lukashenka will have to be solved by the very same means which the Americans and the Israelis use to solve the problems of international terrorists” and that he would welcome that.

            The Moscow commentator says he fully understands that “the civilized world is still not prepared for this. But it is necessary to recognize that these are enemies with which a war is going on.”  You don’t accept their domestic repression in the name of some “strategic stability” because accepting what such regimes do at home will not yield that outcome.

            The civilized world must not negotiate with such regimes but dictate conditions to them and these conditions must include not only limitations on their international activities but on their activities at home. If that doesn’t happen, then what these dictatorships are doing to their own people will inevitably spill over into how they treat others beyond their borders.

            “Regimes which refuse to fulfill these conditions must be excluded from the system of international relations, economic, social, cultural, technological and scientific. And this must be a real blockade” not like the current sanctions which have little impact, Skobov continues. “A real iron curtain” needs to be established to keep these dictators and their supporters from taking advantage of Western countries. There is no reason to fear that. The West will manage!

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