By John Kekes
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The principle is that we cannot democratize the world overnight and, therefore, if we are sincere about the democratic project, we must proceed sequentially”. In other words, tactical compromises in the short term do not impinge upon the long term strategic goal. [But] I would much rather deal with the problems of support for democracy, recognizing that there are problems, than the problems of the alternative”. In other words, all potential foreign policy frameworks are imperfect. While alerting the administration to the difficulties and dangers of promoting democracy, therefore, do not forget the difficulties and dangers implicit in the “realist” foreign policy option which makes no substantial distinction between a tyrannical dictatorship and a liberal democracy.
Such conditions are, to all intents and purposes, absent in Belarus. Civic organizations have operated under the kind of assumptions which are valid in most postcommunist societies but which, to a large extent, no longer apply in a society, which is being run along ever more communist-era lines. To exemplify the kind of measures, which have now been enacted in Belarus, consider the following: In October 2004, the Ministry of Justice decreed that all NGOs and parties, which have offices in residential buildings, move them to office buildings.
Since then, broad bi-partisan agreement has developed culminating in the passing of the Belarus Democracy Act which was approved by Congress unanimously. The approval of the Act itself coincided with the rigged 2004 referendum allowing Lukashenka to stand for another term of office in 2006, but was introduced to Congress by Senator Jesse Helms as far back as November 2001. Its central aims were to authorize financial aid for prodemocracy organizations while banning financial support for agencies of the government.
Against Liberalism by John Kekes