Pragmatism as a criterion
Everything takes its course… as is natural. We don’t live in a vacuum, so events in the global community must affect us — whether they be trade related or, as in the news recently — health related. Such circumstances need not disrupt us too greatly, if we react wisely. Looking at international relations, our multi-vector foreign policy is proving correct. The situation, especially recently, shows that the principle of making friends with everyone who wishes it and conducting business both with the West and the East is in demand
Israel, Oman and Slovenia have recently sent top level officials to Minsk, proving the diversity of foreign political contracts perfectly. Nations sharing kinship, View to the future and Multi-faceted aspect of visit are the titles of articles published in this issue, exploring pragmatic interstate relations. Pragmatism is necessary in all aspects of life — even in state matters, where compromise and diplomacy are essential skills.
The European Union has invited Belarus to join its Eastern Partnership programme, which could open doors to further co-operation — with all-round benefits. From a purely economic aspect, our impressive trade with Europe — leading to a positive balance — is a clear sign in favour of relations with the EU. We sell more to Europe than we buy. “This speaks for itself. No one would dare to ignore this fact. The EU embraces technologies, credit resources and investments. Accordingly, this vector is of great value for us; we’ll do our best to strengthen this vector,” stressed President Lukashenko on meeting Slovenia’s Foreign Minister, Samuel ґbogar, in Minsk (Slovenia currently presides over the Council of Europe). His words eloquently and unambiguously define our pragmatic approach to relations with the whole European region.
No doubt, liaisons with our closest neighbour — Russia — are based on principles of mutual benefit. Our current issue includes a regular thematic Soyuz issue. Many joint Belarusian-Russian programmes in the field of science, culture and education continue to bring significant mutual benefit (if they are not artificially hampered).
Pragmatism — in its broadest sense — enables Belarus to behave with dignity. If Russia ‘freezes’ (for some reason) a loan it has promised to allocate, we have an alternative before us in the form of credit from European financial structures, the IMF (which considers the Belarusian economy to be stable and less subject to the crisis) or China…
In a word, there is always a choice if we have many partners. A multi-vector approach is pragmatic thing and logical — see Territory of interest (detailing how regional centre Gomel gathered business circles from 22 countries for a forum and attracted interest from potential investors).
The Belarusian Agro-Industrial Week — traditionally organised in Minsk in early summer — was attended by representatives from 600 companies from over 20 states — see Agrarian revolution. The exhibition space of the forum had to be extended to cover additional 40 hectares (allocated by an agrarian company situated close to the capital), interest was so great. The achievements of our Belarusian agrarians caused a real stir, despite the crisis. The show created a favourable environment for business meetings, with representatives of Deutsche Messe — Germany’s largest exhibition company — attending. They were clearly keen to see how Belarusian Agro-Industrial Week was being organised — and took advantage of the opportunity to invite guest to their own trade fairs (affected by the recession). We have no reason to deter them. We both understand the pragmatism behind Deutsche Messe’s presence and feel confident that Belagro-2010 will be a similar sell out success.
Viktor Kharkov, magazine editor Беларусь. Belarus