Belarus and the Ukraine Trap
Belarus is among the most likely places where a war could break out between Russia and the West. News from Belarus has flashed in and out of headlines in the past year. When a wave of protest washed over the country in the summer of 2020, it was a major story. The diversion of an airplane traveling between two EU member states, followed by the kidnapping of a Belarusian opposition journalist and his (Russian) girlfriend from this plane, captured the world’s attention for more than a week. Otherwise, this country of almost ten million people tends to get ignored, which is unfortunate. The future of Belarus poses urgent and acutely unpredictable questions for the entire region. Bearing this in mind, Western policymakers should do what they can to articulate a viable policy toward Belarus — before the next round of crises comes. They can begin this difficult job by reviewing the relationship between Belarus and Ukraine.