The Ryanair flight hijacking by Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has outraged leaders across the world. Joe Biden, Angela Merkel, Boris Johnson and others have all spoken out against Belarus’ rather unprecedented attempt at nabbing a dissident journalist and his girlfriend. While nothing can really justify Lukashenko’s actions – the leaders of the West must be well advised that they are entering a war, which they cannot win. After all, Lukashenko does not need any Western nation. It is doing just fine without them, and in any case, has Russia standing steadfastly beside it.
US President Joe Biden went ballistic in his attack on Lukashenko, as an official statement by him said, “For months, the Belarusian people have made their voices heard—demanding democracy, respect for human rights, and the preservation of fundamental freedoms…The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms both the diversion of the plane and the subsequent removal and arrest of Mr. Pratasevich.”
Joe Biden also said that his administration was consulting with allies and partners to launch a barrage of sanctions against Belarus and its government. The underlying thinking of the Biden administration and the European Union launching sanctions against Belarus is that they will somehow scare the Lukashenko regime. This is a foolish presumption and is bound to lead to a war that Europe will embarrassingly lose. Of course, an armed conflict seems a far-off possibility as of now, but with Joe Biden in office, one never knows.
Alexander Lukashenko is not holding back either. In a direct threat to Europe, the Belarusian president has vowed to flood Europe with migrants and drugs in response to sanctions of the West over the Ryanair flight hijacking. Speaking in the country’s parliament, Lukashenko said, “We were stopping migrants and drugs – now you will [have to] catch them and eat them yourself.”
The European Union, in cahoots with the Biden administration, will go as far as trying to batter Belarus’ economy. That in itself would be a dichotomous move, especially after Joe Biden in his statement pledged the United States’ support for the Belarusian people. Who will the economic sanctions hurt the most? Of course, it would be the ordinary Belarusian citizens who will end up suffering the most.
Joe Biden, with his bombastic anti-Lukashenko rhetoric and sanctions, is gaslighting a conflict in which Europe will end up getting humiliated. To even think that Lukashenko did not pre-empt such international outrage before his stunt on Monday would be outrightly wrong. Lukashenko knew very well what he was getting into, and yet he went ahead with his plan.
The simple reason behind the confidence of Alexander Lukashenko is the Russian backing he has. Moscow has supported the Ryanair flight diversion and called it an “absolutely reasonable” move. In 2020, when Belarus’ streets were inundated by anti-Lukashenko demonstrators, it was Moscow, which had come to the Belarusian President’s rescue. The Lukashenko regime was, for all practical purposes, saved by Vladimir Putin. Ever since Alexander Lukashenko has missed no opportunity to repay Moscow. Importantly, Belarus – a former Soviet Union member, is not an EU member state.
It goes without saying that Belarus had the authorisation of Vladimir Putin to go ahead with its Ryanair escapade on Monday. Lukashenko made a calculated decision to abandon the West and embrace Russia completely. Now, any efforts to hurt Belarus by the West would translate into the United States and the European Union taking up a direct fight with Russia.
If the recent Ukraine fiasco is anything to go by, the Biden administration has shown an unparalleled ability to instigate conflicts around the world, especially against Russia, and then chicken out of them when push comes to shove. While the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline connecting Russia with Northern Europe benefits both Moscow and European nations, it completely bypasses Ukraine – thus imperilling the country’s geopolitical heft and leverage against Moscow.
Instead of supporting Ukraine after having instigated it into a near armed conflict with Russia on its eastern border, Joe Biden decided to lift sanctions imposed on the pipeline. Thus, Ukraine was left to fend for itself. Ukraine has now realised the peril it was put in by the Biden administration and has started crawling back to Moscow.
Similarly, Joe Biden is instigating a conflict between Europe and an alliance of Belarus and Russia. Needless to say, the Biden administration will leave Europe too when the need for supporting it uncomfortably arises. If any lessons could be learnt from Biden’s abandonment and betrayal of Ukraine, the European Union has definitely not learnt them.