Belarus Betrayal Why is the West cozying up to Europe’s last dictator? On December 19, citizens in the former Soviet republic of Belarus will head to polls to vote in the country’s presidential election, the fourth since 1994. But Belarusians don’t have any real hope of unseating incumbent Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled the country with an...

Battle of the Homocons Gay Republicans can’t get along–both of them. It’s a sunny Friday afternoon in April, and Frank Ricchiazzi is addressing the annual convention of the Log Cabin Republicans at a hotel ballroom in downtown Washington. He is speaking about betrayal. A squat, goateed Vietnam vet from California, Ricchiazzi helped found the gay GOP activist group, and,...

Do or Dybul Was Bush’s AIDS czar a pragmatic dissenter, a tool of the religious right, or both? On January 9, Ambassador Mark Dybul circulated a memo to his staff informing them that President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition team had asked him to stay on, at least temporarily, as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, a position to which he...

Pravda on the Potomac Russian propaganda descends on Washington. Ramzan Kadyrov, one would assume, is hardly the sort of man the Russian government would want to show off to a group of foreign dignitaries. The Moscow-appointed president of Chechnya has been accused of deploying his several-thousand-man-strong personal militia–since absorbed into the Chechen government–to torture and murder his opponents, and...

Devil's Advocates Despots and the lobbyists who love them. Joe Szlavik remembers the moment when he began to suspect that his work on behalf of the Kingdom of Swaziland was an enormous waste of time. It was 2006, and Szlavik–a lobbyist who had represented foreign governments ranging from Burundi to Gabon to Uganda, as well as the...

Street Cred? Who does the new Israel lobby really represent? Consider the plight of the American Jewish peacenik. With Hamas in control of Gaza, Ehud Olmert under investigation, and the West Bank government of Mahmoud Abbas shaky as ever, a negotiated deal between Israelis and Palestinians doesn’t exactly appear imminent. Meanwhile, closer to home, the likely Democratic...

How Tyranny Came to Zimbabwe Jimmy Carter still has a lot to answer for. In April 1979, 64 percent of the black citizens of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) lined up at the polls to vote in the first democratic election in the history of that southern African nation. Two-thirds of them supported Abel Muzorewa, a bishop in the United Methodist Church....