U.S. officials are shocked and outraged over the forced landing of a passenger airliner in Belarus. The airliner contained a passenger named Roman Protasevich, a 26-year-old man who was traveling from Greece to Lithuania. Protasevich is a Belarusian dissident who is playing a major role in the fight against Belarus’s brutal dictator Aleksandr G. Lukashenko. Fearing imminent arrest, Protasevich fled the country in 2019. He has been continuing the fight against Lukashenko from outside the country.
As the plane carrying Protasevich to Lithuania was crossing Belarusian air space, Lukashenko, knowing that Protasevich was onboard, ordered a Belarusian fighter jet to approach the airline and order it to land in Belarus. After the pilot complied and landed the plane, Lukashenko’s goons boarded the plane and took Protseviich into custody. He now faces the possibility of 12 years in jail (or worse) for opposing Lukashenko and undoubtedly is being brutally tortured in the meantime.
The incident caused U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken to go into a fit of anger and outrage. Blinken exclaimed, ““We strongly condemn the Lukashenko regime’s brazen and shocking act to divert a commercial flight and arrest a journalist. We demand an international investigation and are coordinating with our partners on next steps.”
The “partners” to whom Blinken is referring are European countries that want to do everything they can to stay in the good graces of the U.S. government, if for no other reason than to avoid the imposition of brutal economic sanctions that the U.S. government imposes on nations that refuse to become “partners.”
According to the New York Times, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, called the forced plane landing “totally unacceptable.” The Greek Foreign Ministry called it a “state hijacking.” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawieki called it “an act of state terrorism.” French Prime Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, called for a “firm and unified response” by the E.U.
Oh, what short memories these people have. Or perhaps they just have a remarkable way of blocking out unpleasant U.S. governmental hypocrisies.
In 2013 Bolivian President Evo Morales was flying from Russia to Bolivia in his Bolivian-owned airplane. At that time, U.S. dissident Edward Snowden was in Russia looking for a country that would grant him asylum from U.S. persecution. Morales had announced that he would look favorably on any request by Snowden for asylum in Bolivia.
Why were U.S. officials after Snowden? Because he had disclosed truthful information about the dark-side activities of the U.S. national-security establishment. That’s what caused them to begin pursuing Snowden with the same degree of vengeance that Lukashenko has been pursuing Protesevich.
U.S. officials suspected that Snowden might be on Morales’s plane. So, they induced some of their European “partners” — i.e., France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy — to deny Morales’s plane permission to cross their air space. The idea was to cause Morales’s plane to make an unscheduled landing in one of the U.S. “partner” regimes so that agents could board the plane, take Snowden into custody, and then hand him over to U.S. officials for torture and prosecution — just as Lukashenko has done with Protesvich.
Sure enough, facing a fuel deficiency problem, Morales’s pilot had to make an unscheduled landing in Austria, another U.S. “partner.” Austrian officials dutifully conducted a search of the plane, just as Lukashenko’s goons did with the plane on which Protesevich was traveling.
Unfortunately for the Austrians, however, and their U.S. “partner” that was clearly calling the shots, the search proved fruitless, as Snowden was still in Russia. For some odd reason, there were no expressions of outrage against the U.S. government from the regimes that are now expressing outrage over what Lukashenko has done.
None of this is to suggest any approval of the Belarusian dictator’s actions. His actions certainly do deserve condemnation. But this is the way brutal dictators behave, which raises the obvious question: Why does the U.S. government operate in the same way? And could the obvious hypocrisy on the part of the U.S. government at least partly explain why so many foreign citizens despise the U.S. government?