Biden is right to sanction Belarus. Now it’s Turkey’s turn

On Aug. 9, the one-year anniversary of Belarus’s fraudulent elections, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced “decisive action against 44 individuals and entities in order to hold [Alexander Lukashenko] and his regime to account for its continued, violent repression of Belarusians inside and outside the country.”

His move comes just over a week after President Joe Biden met Belorussian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya at the White House. The logic behind the Biden administration’s choice of sanctions was wise: By targeting the “cliques and cronies” surrounding Lukashenko, Biden hopes to sow dissent among the only Belorussians about whom Lukashenko cares — which is to say, those upon whose patronage the dictator relies. If sanctions diminish their profit in supporting Lukashenko, the Biden administration hopes these cronies might be more amenable to change. If not, the White House and State Department can still justify their actions in striking at the machine upon which Europe’s worst dictator relies.

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