The Belarussian president is hated in the west - for all the wrong reasons
Originally appeared at Ron Paul Institute
With Belarusian president Aleksander Lukashenko elected to a fifth term in office on Sunday, the ritual western hate-fest against the former Soviet Republic shifts into high gear.
The regular march of western journalists to Minsk to report on "Europe's last dictatorship," has already begun, with Buzzfeed's Max Seddon being neither the first nor the last. But like the others, he ticks all the right boxes that keep him in a rare paid journalism job these days.
In Buzzfeed's foray into foreign reporting, Seddon acknowledges that Lukashenko has the support of the majority of the population (in a democracy that translates to election victory), while absurdly asserting that, "experts say he is likely to continue falsifying the results anyway."
Who are these "experts"? Well, they are the US-backed NGOs, of course! Seddon cites Dzyanis Melyantsou at the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (located in Lithuania) who asserts that falsifying election results are just a game for Belarus. If the leader of Kazakhstan gets 80 percent, Lukashenko must falsify to get 85% just to one-up his fellow dictator, says Melyantsou.
What is the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies? Its past president Vitali Silitski was a US-trained and funded regime change expert at the National Endowment for Democracy. They are routinely featured in USAID and NED journals. Its events have been participated in by the US government-funded organizations. Part of the color revolution network.
Having spent years as an election monitor, I've seen this movie many times before. A western journalist like Max Seddon descends on a country targeted by the US government for regime change. His meetings are already set up with English-speaking, US-backed "opposition" political figures. The English-speaking, US-backed opposition figures tell the US journalist all about the local political scene in a way that -- miraculously -- hews closely to the US party line on the country. Journalist files his story based on US-backed sources which backs up US policy in the country. Any American reader who stumbles upon the story is none-the-wiser that he has been had, that he has been propagandized with his own money by his government.
But poor Max Seddon is a mere piker compared to the Telegraph's (UK) Roland Oliphant, a man with an imagination as big as an elephant. The British journalist stationed in Moscow regularly serves up the most outrageous propaganda about the region he is entrusted to report on. From tall tales about Vladimir Putin's "girlfriend" giving birth, to dutifully "reporting" on Russia "fueling extremism" by attacking ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria, Oliphant is a reliable conduit of US/UK government propaganda.
On Belarus this week, however, he let his fantasies fly free, penning a breathtakingly hysterical piece of "reporting" on how Lukashenko is trying to create a "North Korea-style" dynastic dictatorship in Belarus. Oliphant warns us that "Europe's last dictator" is prepping his 11 year old son to become Europe's next dictator.
His proof of this outlandish claim? Lukashenko likes to take his young son along with him to parades in Belarus and Russia and to meet people like Pope Benedict XVI. That's enough for Oliphant, who claims this is proof that the boy "has emerged as Belarus’ president-in-waiting."
With Oliphant in charge of the Telegraph's reporting on Russia and vicinity, the US neocon rags like the Free Beacon and Daily Beast even look credible by comparison.
What drives Oliphant, Seddon, and the entire coterie of journos and politicos watching places like Belarus mad is that in fact he is genuinely popular in the country. In Oliphant's own article he acknowledges that in two rival political polls taken before the election, Lukashenko was preferred by more than 80 percent of voters. He ended up winning re-election with just over 82 percent. Within the margin of error. Nevertheless Oliphant quotes a failed former Belarusian presidential candidate who calls this match between pre-election polls and electoral outcome "a really shameless fraud."
Lukashenko has been a favorite punching bag of the US and western neocons for a number of years because he has not shown the required level of deference to his would-be western overlords compared to, say, the Baltics. Heroutinely wins re-election even as the US government has funneled millions of dollars into the political opposition in hopes of somehow fomenting a regime change.
In fact Lukashenko has foolishly continued to flirt with Washington and Brussels in hopes of being accepted into the good graces of these neocon-dominated regimes. He resents Belarus being treated like Russia's kid brother and would perhaps take a deal offered by the west if it did not require total obeisance. Such a deal may be closer down the road than people like Oliphant understand -- but if the deal is ever made watch the Oliphants of the press corps switch propaganda lines faster than you can say "Molotov-Ribbentrop."
This is not to pronounce Belarus heaven on earth. But let's put things a bit into perspective here. Unlike the home governments of those journos smugly smearing "Europe's last dictator," Belarus has actually expended some political capital for peace in the region over the past year or so. While the US and its EU sidekick were busy fomenting unrest and an eventual bloody coup in Ukraine last January -- resulting in wide-scale repression, a bunch of neo-Nazi thugs, and total economic collapse -- Belarus hosted two peace conferences which have thus far stemmed the bloodshed brought about by western intervention.
What else is Belarus up to to earn it "dictatorship" status among the Oliphantine "cognoscenti" in the west?
Is Belarus massacring Yemeni civilians by the thousands with massive US intelligence and technical assistance? No, that would be US ally Saudi Arabia.
Did Belarus create a crazed jihadist army to overthrow the secular leader of Syria? No, that would be the US and its allies.
Did Belarus fly drones over Pakistan, killing thousands of innocents through the use of "signature strikes"? No, that would be the US.
Did Belarus bomb Libya into the stone age on a false pretense, creating a dystopian, jihadist-dominated, hell on earth? No that would be the US, France, UK, and assorted allies.
Does Belarus lop off the heads of anyone who even thinks about being homosexual, citizens who dare to protest their government's policies, or opposition bloggers? No, that would be US ally Saudi Arabia.
Does Belarus make sport of slaughtering unarmed Palestinians? No, that would be US ally Israel, which has launched another deadly offensive against Gaza's civilians while the rest of the world is focused on Russia in Syria.
Is Belarus alone in harassing and even arresting those who are irritants to state power? Best to ask Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and Julian Assange about that one...
But still the paid propagandists will have great fun making fun of the Belarusian "dictatorship" -- even while enjoying the (considerable) comforts and delights of that lovely little country. Try that in a real dictatorship. They won't, because they are cowards.
Best western policy for Belarus (and everywhere else)? Leave them alone. It's none of your business. Central economic planning is a dead end street, to be sure. But has anyone noticed nine decades of US central planning under the rule of the Federal Reserve Bank?
Final word: ignore regime journalists who parachute into places to regurgitate the US neocon party line. They are today's minions of Münzenberg. Their job is to deceive.