Belarusian planes have been banned from European Union and British airspace after a military jet forced a passenger plane to land so dissident journalist Roman Protasevich could be arrested by agents of Belarus’ authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko. EU and British airlines also are refusing to fly over the eastern European nation which has been torn by mass protests over Lukashenko’s latest reelection. The boss of the Irish airline Ryanair called the forced landing of its flight from Greece to Lithuania a “state-sponsored hijacking.”
Class discussion: Will cutting off commercial flights to and from Belarus change the fate of the arrested dissident journalist? Why or why not? Do you think Lukashenko’s 27-year authoritarian regime will execute the 26-year-old Protasevich? Have economic and diplomatic sanctions changed the behavior of authoritarian leaders in Russia or North Korea? How has economic pressure in the past impacted countries like South Africa and Iran? Short of war, what can nations do change events in another country? Could other nations have stopped German Nazi persecution of Jews before the start of World War II?