How would YOU promote democracy in Belarus?
Daniel Drezner discusses a Peter Savodnik article which compares the different approaches of the EU and the US to aid and democracy promotion in Belarus. The US directed much of its funding to groups opposed to the Belarussian government and promptly saw its aid programmes shut down. Meanwhile the EU, which subits all of its aid through the TACIS programme for approval by President Lukashenko, is still there funding nebulous programmes that have no direct impact on democracy promotion.
Drezner comes down broadly on the side of the EU’s approach, noting that:
If the EU were to pursue a more "American" approach with its aid, Lukashenko would doubtless boot them out of the country as well. I’m no real fan of the EU’s current strategy, but it’s far from clear that there’s a better alternative.
He then goes on to ask the question of his readers: what would you do to democratise Belarus? The comments discussion which follows his post is fascinating, and I’d highly recommend checking it out. Currently opinion seems to be divided between those who think that democracy is best promoted through targetting Belarus directly, and those who think Belarus is so dominated by Russia that it has no chance of democratising until Russia does.