magazine is all over Belarus this week. Philip Gordon, a U.S assistant secretary of state, is in Belarus
to meet with senior officials, although not apparently President Lukashenka. Foreign Policy's Joshua Keating
spoke to former Assistant Secretary of State David Kramer about Gordon's visit:
I’m not quite sure what the rush is. I'm not sure what Phil is going there to discuss, other than the way forward.... Lukashenko already knows what the way forward is. First and foremost he has to restore the U.S. embassy and allow an ambassador back.
We imposed sanctions because of Lukashenko's treatment of his own people. We didn't impose sanctions because of what they did to our embassy. We lifted some of the sanctions after the release of political prisoners but now there are new political prisoners. The treatment of political opponents really hasn't gotten much better this year. So I'm not sure why we're going unless Lukashenko demonstrates that he is going to ease up on oppression. I'm not saying we should have no contact. But an assistant secretary trip to Minsk is a pretty big deal and I would have liked to have gotten something before it happened.
Phil should take a firm line and say here are the the things you need to do: release thes new political prisoners, allow opposition to operate without any restrictions,allow development of independent media and NGO development. But the top of his list should be restoring our embassy. We don't have much else to talk about until that happens.
But the really important news to come out of Belarus this week, noted by "Foreign Policy's" Evgeny Morozov
, is that a "Belarusian textile company has developed a special school uniform that protects kids from electromagnetic radiation emanating from their cellphones. The uniform features a dedicated pocket that can store the phone and make it safe for those who wear it."
Maybe not such a crazy idea.
-- Luke Allnutt