Friday, July 18, 2014 at 5:49 AM

MH17: Another Malaysian Flight Falls from the Sky

Posted by Anthony L. Hall


Despite his denials, Russian President Vladimir Putin has clearly been inciting and supporting (pro-Russian) Ukrainian separatists pursuant to his agenda to reclaim Russia’s “sphere of influence.”

I asserted from the outset that his strategy is fraught with geopolitical peril. Nothing demonstrates this quite like yesterday’s breaking news implicating those separatists in the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, killing nearly 300 innocent men, women, and children. Not to mention that Ukrainian separatists using Russian missiles to down this airplane (even if from mistaken identity – as seems to have been the case) must now be seen as a foreshadowing of countries like Iran and Cuba using even deadlier Russian weapons to cause far greater damage … and casualties.

Which is why one has to wonder if this will finally compel Europeans to stand more firmly with the United States in imposing far more punitive sanctions against Russia. I fear, however, that their desire to continue appeasing and doing business with Russia will make a mockery of all of their expressions of sympathy and outrage. Hence the question I posed at the end of “Europeans’ Penny-Wise, Pound-Foolish Appeasement of Putin” on May 3, 2014:

Won’t they ever learn…?

In a similar vein, this incident should give pause to developing countries, especially Brazil, India, China, India, and South Africa (the so-called BRICS), about forming any type of alliance with Russia to counter America’s global influence. Lest the blood on Russia’s hands — from this and other incidents to come — be transferred to them too.

140507-putin-mn-1215_71b047d32510bb24aecc4406b7dd1a0aIt should also give pause to Western neo-cons who have been hailing (the headstrong) Putin as a more admirable world leader than (the strong) Obama.

For it’s bad enough that Putin enabled his pro-Russian ruffians to shoot down this airplane. But that he’s now helping them cover up their reckless deed, by trying to shift blame for this tragedy on the democratically elected government of Ukraine, betrays the fact that he’s nothing more than a ruthless, resentful little ruffian himself. The self-defeating contradiction — of seeking respect as a first-world leader while behaving like a third-world despot — seem completely lost on him.

But here, in part, is why Putin has a vested interest in stoking rabid nationalism – not only across the border in Ukraine, but also at home, making him a hostage to fortune in more ways than one:

He must’ve been a little unnerved yesterday when even pro-Russian Ukrainians were calling for Yanukovych’s head after they got a glimpse of the obscenely opulent, Louis-XVI lifestyle he was living at their expense. Just imagine, for example, what Putin’s peasant supporters in Russia would want to do to him if they were suddenly presented with clear and convincing evidence that he lives a lifestyle that’s a thousand times more extravagant, having amassed billions in ill-gotten gains over the years as a KGB officer turn politician…

After eight years in power, Putin has secretly accumulated a fortune of more than $40bn. The sum would make him Russia’s (and Europe’s) richest man. – London Guardian, December 21, 2007.

Which of course is why Putin is so anxious to stoke the combustible geopolitical crisis in Ukraine to deflect the international media from drawing unavoidable parallels between Yanukovych’s illegal accumulation of wealth and his. Far better, for example, to get Russians drunk with pan-Russian pride than to have them pose sober questions about the billions he and his cronies embezzled from the $50-billion price tag for the Sochi Olympics.

(“Ukraine’s (Peaceful) Orange Revolution Turns Red … with Blood,” The iPINIONS Journal, February 25, 2014)

Anyway, more, clarifying details will be forthcoming. But this much is clear: given the tragic (and still unsolved) disappearance of its Flight MH370 just months ago, Malaysian Airlines seems cursed. Granted, I suppose there’s something to be said for being able to at least locate and investigate debris to determine exactly what happened in this case….

In the meantime, the only sensible thing left to say is my thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones of all who perished in this latest tragedy.

Related commentaries:
Malaysian jet disappears
Europeans penny-wise
Ukraine’s … revolution

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