Needless to say, Alexander Lukashenko is a despot and a contemptible thug, and he, and the rest of the Belarussian government beneath him, both richly deserves the criticism they get from European Union officials.
Be that as it may, there is no question who the villain is in this ghastly diplomatic game. And the villain is not in Minsk, however villainous they may be in other respects. There is nothing wrong with encouraging Iraqis or Syrians or Afghans to pass through and travel towards Poland. There is something wrong with using brutal, coordinated force to stop them crossing. Of course Iraqis and Syrians and Afghans ought to be able to cross freely and peacefully into Poland, and indeed into anywhere else in Europe that they care to freely travel. They have a human right to move freely without being hassled, without being threatened, without being rounded up and held captive or expelled by the Polish government’s border guards, the Polish government’s police, or any other paramilitary or military force patrolling the unconscionable razor-wired walls of Fortress Europe. Every migrant assaulted or beaten, every migrant suffering from hunger or freezing cold, every migrant left at risk of exposure and disease, is entirely the fault of the European authorities trying to seal the borders. There is an easy, and obvious solution to this horrible
border crisis: the only crisis is the border. All you need to do to solve it is to stand down, let people come in and leave them alone.