Let’s outdo Obama and Clinton on Belarus

TedLipien.com TedLipien.com, Truckee, CA, January 06, 2011 The following is not a State Department cable. It was not written by The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale and was not leaked by Wiki Leaks:


1. I know I could not get President Obama to go on TV to say something about Belarus. You may try to explain to your pro-democracy contacts that it is, after all, the holiday season in Washington, and no one in the U.S. government will do any work unless ordered by the President. Ronald Reagan would have done it. Well, he’s dead now, so there is no point of crying over spilled milk. Here is what I want you to do to salvage the long-term reputation of the United States as a champion of human rights.

2. Even though the White House and State Department statements on Belarus are so short, you may want to give them a more prominent placement on your Embassy website and remove some of the arts clatter. This is not a good time for it.

You can try putting an image of POTUS and SOS next to those links. I know it’s not the same as a video clip of the President speaking about Belarus, like the one of Reagan talking about Poland, but hey, do what you can.

You can also try finding statements on Belarus from members of Congress and post links, and even images, on your website.

I forgot to mention the New York Times article on the Belurussian actors in New York. A link on your Embassy website or on your Facebook page might be more interesting than some of the Embassy-sponsored events in December.

3. You could also learn a thing or two from the Cold War warriors at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. They got George Bush and Condoleezza Rice to record solidarity messages with Belarus. They even found one or two token Democrats.

Why not put a link to the RFE/RL on the Embassy website. I know it’s scary. Even the Voice of America did not report it when it happened. But what can Lukashenka do to you? Complain to Obama and Clinton? Turn off the electricity to your Embassy apartments?

Remember, 20 years from now Lukashenka, Obama, and Clinton will be history, but the people in Belaus, in the rest of East-Central Europe, and throughout the rest of the world will remember how the United States responded to the crackdown on democracy in Minsk. Be brave.