To Engage or Not to Engage: The Policy Dilemma of Dealing with Belarus
How to deal with Belarus, along with the question of whether to engage or seek to isolate the regime of Aleksandr Lukashenka has been a bone of contention in policy debates across the Atlantic. In 2008 the European Union concluded that the previous policy of isolation had failed, and it shifted to a policy of engagement. That policy, however, has thus far borne little fruit. Sabine Fischer nevertheless argues that Belarus has no option in the long term but to deal with the EU, and that Brussels should show strategic patience and continue a long-term policy of multilateral engagement. Pavol Demes argues that it is time to realize how President Lukashenka has outmaneuvered the EU, and time to shift to a policy that places more emphasis on civil society as a motor of future change.