The first hundred days of his presidency Donald trump a clear answer to the question about the prospects of Belarusian-American relations is not given. However, the events of the last time cause for some concern.
The Belarusian leadership promotes pragmatism in relations
May 9 at the Atlantic Council in Washington was held the conference “Between East and West: Belarus at the crossroads”. The official opinion was expressed by Deputy head of the foreign Ministry Oleg Kravchenko. He also held meetings at the state Department and the office of the Senate Committee on foreign Affairs.
In recent years, the presence of high-ranking Belarusian officials for such events on American soil was not a frequent event. However, if we take into account that the current was organized with the participation of the Jamestown Foundation, the leading members of which have repeatedly visited Minsk, and even met with Alexander Lukashenko, the big surprise arises.
As one would expect, the main focus of the Belarusian representative was made on bilateral cooperation in security matters. As positive examples of the actions of the official Minsk, the diplomat cited the voluntary refusal of Belarus from nuclear weapons, ensuring the transit of military cargo to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, cooperation between law enforcement authorities of the two countries.
Thus, it is obvious that the Belarusian side is once again trying to put in the forefront in relations with the United States the pragmatic component, leading thus to the background of the problems with democracy and human rights.
However, it should be noted that this time they have been recognized as “one of the most important elements of the whole dialogue.” Such softening of position indicates that the aggravation of relations with Washington to Minsk now not with his hands.
What you hope to get from America?
First of all, of course, Minsk is a standard economic kit: investment, technology, loans. In particular, the government requested a loan of $ 3 billion from the IMF, where the U.S. plays a leading role.
In addition, I would like to increase trade. Last year, there are some changes, but still one percent of the total volume of Belarus ‘ foreign trade relating to the first world economy, does not look too solid. Especially when you consider that Belarus has about 5 thousandths (!) percent of U.S. trade.
In more recent times these desires, the matter would likely and limited. However, the political situation in the world has significantly changed, there are new needs.
Of course, this is about dramatically increasing the aggressiveness of Russia, that, despite regular assurances of fraternal friendship, is unlikely to bother the Belarusian leadership. In this situation, he needs a solid foreign policy support, to provide that only the West, and especially Washington.
In favor of this assumption says that in the last year and a half at the highest level to address America’s almost no sound criticism. On the contrary, Lukashenko has repeatedly said that normalization of relations with it is essential to the success of foreign policy of Belarus.
You can also recall the active promotion of the Belarusian head the idea of formal connecting Americans to the resolution of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
If Putin agreed with trump
As for the position of new American administration, has to date not had serious grounds for any conclusions on this subject.
From the facts you can probably allocate only the extension of the White house moratorium on sanctions against a number of Belarusian enterprises by the us Embassy in Minsk, the concern about tough measures against participants of peaceful protests on freedom Day.
That is, on the one hand, it seems to be shown the carrot, the whip. But in both cases, compared to similar situations in previous years, such actions appear routine. That, however, is understandable — the new administration is now plenty of internal and far more important foreign policy issues.
In this light, it seems logical enough assumption that the main purpose of contacts Kravchenko in Washington was to clarify attitudes of partners.
On the outcome of these consultation information, as one would expect, is not received. So let’s try to draw conclusions on the basis of some General considerations.
After the election, trump had considered three possible scenarios: the convergence of America and Russia, the escalation of confrontation between them and the approximate preservation of the status quo. The first two met for Belarus is adverse (due to the probable intensification of Moscow in the Belarusian direction), while the third was left to chance on more or less normal development.
Now, it seems, is becoming increasingly likely the first option. Recently trump took the head of Russian diplomacy Sergey Lavrov, after which it was announced that the upcoming meeting between us President Vladimir Putin in Germany.
Moreover, immediately after Lavrov in the oval office was visited by Henry Kissinger, considered a “confidant” of the Russian President. According to Western experts, he is preparing some kind of deal with the Kremlin.
If these assumptions are correct, then it is possible that the number of its terms will be the U.S. the fact that the CIS has become a zone of influence of Moscow. With all the ensuing for Belarus negative consequences.