I wish to emphasize that I take this position not because I am in support of the regime in Belarus, or anywhere else. I take this position because it is dangerous folly to be the nation that arrogates to itself the right to determine the leadership of the rest of the world. As we teeter closer to bankruptcy, it should be more obvious that we need to change our foreign policy to one of constructive engagement rather than hostile interventionism. And though it scarcely should need to be said, I must remind my colleagues today that we are the U.S. House of Representatives, and not some sort of world congress. We have no constitutional authority to intervene in the wholly domestic affairs of Belarus or any other sovereign nation. ~Rep. Ron Paul

Via Eric Garris

Doesn’t Rep. Paul realize that he is participating in the “decline of the West”? On a more serious note, he is absolutely right that this is a bill aimed at undermining the government of Belarus, and it employs the same dead-end policy of imposing sanctions to penalize the government for being more or less the same authoritarian government it has been for the last twenty years. It goes without saying that it is of no concern to the U.S. who rules Belarus or how. Lukashenko’s popularity has reportedly collapsed because of Belarus’ economic woes, so he may not remain in power much longer anyway. It’s worth noting that it collapsed from a previous position of slim majority support at the end of last year, which is a far cry from how Western media represented things in December.

Reading through the bill, I agree with all of Rep. Paul’s statement. What jumped out me while I was reading was that this is the re-authorization for the Belarus Democracy Re-authorization Act of 2006, which was a continuation of the Belarus Democracy Act of 2004. This legislation is an unfortunate leftover of the heyday of the “freedom agenda.” I admit that I don’t understand why so many Americans feel compelled to make the internal politics of other countries into the business of our government. Some of it is presumably sincere, albeit misguided, zeal for helping others, but that is hardly an excuse.

Update: The bill passed in the House by voice vote.