Editorial: Red lines of democracy
The Belarus regime and its collaborators should be subjected to extremely heavy sanctions for the state aeroplane hijacking that they carried out.
In our age, references to international law seem cliché or even something of a joke. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson forbade government cadres from speaking about an “international rules-based system”.
The fact that international law is violated systematically, provocatively, and without punishment – take for example the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus, the annexation of Crimea, and the occupation of the Left Bank – does not mean that we should abandon the battle to defend it.
This is all the more true when violations of international law by some leaders are so blunt that they encourage other aspiring imitators.
If the dictator of Belarus can force an aeroplane to land on his country’s territory in order to arrest a dissenter then what is to keep the leaders of Iran, China, and Russia in the future from doing the same – or even from capturing “annoying” citizens from third countries?
Freedom House’s most recent annual report says those three countries – along with Turkey, Rwanda, and Saudi Arabia – are involved in inter-state coercion.
It is for that reason – and not a general “defence of human rights” - that the Belarus regime and its collaborators should be subjected to extremely heavy sanctions for the state aeroplane hijacking that they carried out.
Democracy has red lines and they should at long last defend them.