Monday, July 10, 2006

Ambassador: Burns helped Belarus dictator seize power

As a National Security Council staffer in the early Clinton administration, Nick Burns improperly served as a conduit for hard-line Belarus dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko (pictured), and pushed policies that helped the dictator seize power and crush the democracy movement.

So wrote Ambassador David H. Swartz, who resigned in protest of Burns' actions and wrote an essay published in the June 3, 1997 Washington Times exposing what Burns did.

Swartz stated that Burns "materially facilitated the current state of affairs in Belarus through numerous policy sins of commission and omission." The worst centered around President Bill Clinton's 1994 visit to Belarus that helped the communists kill the chances of the pro-western democracy movement.

As I reported in 1997, "So disastrous was the administration's planning of Clinton's January 1994 trip to Minsk that reform-minded Chief of State Stanislau Shushkevich told Swartz, 'Your president will be here only a few hours, then go on his way. I will be left to pick up the pieces and my enemies will make quick work of me.' Two weeks after the Clinton visit, Shushkevich was indeed ousted in a 'quasi-putsch' led by Lukashenko. Swartz quit his 28-year diplomatic career in protest of Clinton policy that very month."