While some of President Lukashenko’s recent statements reaffirmed his country’s military and political alliance with Moscow, others threw it under the bus by dismissing the regular talk in Russia about a possible base in Belarus as baseless, implying that his neighbor exports hybrid threats to the West through its territory, and expressing his eagerness to strengthen relations with the US and NATO.
Long regarded as Russia’s closest ally because of its membership in the so-called “Union State” as well as the CSTO and Eurasian Union, Belarus is now “balancing” between its patron and the West as it seeks to reap the best benefits from both of them. The author foresaw this development three and a half years ago when he warned about it in an article for The Saker titled “Are Armenia And Belarus Wandering Westward?”, which was followed by other pieces published elsewhere such as “Is Belarus On The Brink Of Pivoting Away From Russia?”, “Poland’s Trying To Break The Russian-Belarusian Bond With A US Base”, and the recently released one about how “A Polish Canal Might Make All The Difference In Belarus’ ‘Balancing’ Act”. The gist is that there were clear indications that President Lukashenko wanted to normalize relations with the West at the expense of Russia’s economic and other interests in exchange for sanctions relief and reassurances that it wouldn’t be attacked by NATO, whether directly like what happened to Libya or indirectly through a “EuroMaidan”-like Hybrid War such as what took place in Ukraine.
Is Russia Really Exporting Hybrid Threats To Europe?
It therefore shouldn’t be surprising that Lukashenko just threw Russia under the bus in order to please his new ‘Western partners’, believing that his ‘neutral rhetoric’ is key to maintaining his “balancing” act between East and West. TASS quoted the Belarusian leader as saying the following remarks on Sunday:
“I told [the Western countries]: see value in Belarus, do not impose sanctions against us. Both drugs, and mobsters, and radioactive elements, and illegal migration, all that goes to the west through us, and we tackle them at our own expense.”
Whether he meant to or not, Lukahsneko implied that Russia is exporting “drugs, mobsters, radioactive elements, and illegal migration” to the West by not stopping them before they reach Belarus’ borders and beyond, thus portraying his country as Europe’s pivotal unconventional security partner that voluntarily manages these hybrid threats in order to save everyone else from ruin.
In a sense, this is eerily just like how Gaddafi presented Libya’s significance to European security right before his ‘Western partners’ backstabbed him.
That’s not all that Lukashenko said, though, because he then expanded on Belarus’ regional security vision while speaking to some American analysts on Tuesday. Addressing the long-running rumors of a Russian military base on his country’s territory, he explained that:
“This is a far-fetched issue…We have a military and political alliance with Russia and it makes no difference whatsoever if a military base is established here or not. We are not establishing it because we don’t need it here. According to our military and defense plan with Russia, we will fulfill these functions ourselves. That’s because we are on our own land. I once again emphasize that there aren’t any [foreign military] bases not because we want to win somebody’s favor. No, we are just capable of fulfilling the functions in line with the treaty with Russia.”
He added, however, that his country “would ask Russia to ensure its security” if it’s ever needed, such as undertaking joint responses to the prospective “Fort Trump” in Poland, which could include Belarus’ CSTO ally selling it more arms:
“If NATO goes ahead with its policy of attempts to intimidate us [or takes action], such as the deployment of a military base in Poland, or if there are some other moves, then we will need more effective weapons, missiles in the first place.”
But, he underlined, he doesn’t want to see a Russian base on his territory, which is something that he is “strongly against”:
“For now I do not even see any need for inviting the forces of other states, including Russia, to the territory of Belarus, for performing our functions under the treaty with Russia, because we are strongly against any deployment of an air base…Why should we expose ourselves to a potential aggressor by placing a base in the forefront? One or two missiles – and the runway will be blown up.”
Whether one agrees with his stance or not, it’s difficult to call it anything other than “balanced” regardless of the self-interested reasons behind it, but that’s not the case with the other comments that he said which have yet to be reported by TASS but were expectedly covered by “Radio Free Europe”.
Throwing Russia Under The Bus To Please The Necons
The US-funded information outlet published an article that revealed the other details of his discussion with the American analysts and proves just how much Belarus threw Russia under the bus:
“We are certain that regional security [in Europe] depends on the cohesion of the region’s states and preservation of the United States’ military and political role in the European arena…Belarus is eager to build an equal dialogue with all sides via reinstating normal ties with the United States, supporting good neighborly ties with the European Union, and widening partnership with NATO.”
It should also be said in connection with this that the analysts that he hosted came from neoconservative “think tanks” linked to the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”). As proudly reported by the publicly funded Belarusian Telegraph Agency:
“The delegation includes experts and executives of the Center for European Policy Analysis, the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, RAND Corporation, and the Jamestown Foundation. While in Belarus the U.S. experts will visit the Defense Ministry, the Minsk Suvorov Military School, the Hi-Tech Park, and the Belarusian State Museum of History of the Great Patriotic War.”
RT exposed CEPA in a rare op-ed from the outlet itself (with no specific author byline) titled “American defense contractors think you have been brainwashed”, which proved that the Warsaw-based entity functions as one of the US military-industrial complex’s lobbying arms. The Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement is dedicated to former Vice President Joe Biden, who was instrumental in supporting “EuroMaidan”, thus making the hegemonic goals that it works for self-explanatory.
The RAND Corporation and Jamestown Foundation need no introduction as some of the “deep state’s” most influential “think tanks”, meaning that Lukashenko was cavorting with the brains behind America’s foreign policy formulation as part of his supposed “balancing” act, which might in hindsight have just been a euphemism for thinly disguising what increasingly appears to be a pivot to the West when considering how positively he now views the US and NATO’s roles in Europe.
Nobody should be shocked that Belarus threw Russia under the bus in order to please a bunch of neoconservative experts from the US because the writing was on the wall for at least three and a half years already even though many Alt-Media outlets were in utter denial over this—or worse, deliberately deceiving their audiences. Belarus has yet to decisively pivot towards the West, but it’s probably taking a page or two out of Armenia’s playbook by hoping that it too can soon enter into trade negotiations with the EU in spite of its formal membership in the Eurasian Union. That, however, could only occur after the West lifts all of its sanctions against the country, which probably won’t happen unless it sticks with its new “balancing” strategy of sacrificing its Russian “ally’s” economic and other interests in pursuit of this long-sought “reward”, though whether or not it ultimately receives it is of course an entirely different matter.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.