Coffee House

After the horrific tragedy of MH17, Europe must wake up to the threat posed by Vladimir Putin

19 July 2014

19 July 2014

How many more civilian planes need to be shot down over European airspace before Europe’s leaders get serious about the threat posed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia?

As the smoke clears from Thursday’s horrific downing of a Malaysian Airlines jet traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, many will try to deflect blame from landing squarely where it should: on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

‘Airliner tragedy in Ukraine shows US & EU erred by not pushing to keep Ukr[aine] as neutral buffer state, not potential EU/NATO member,’ tweeted Stephen Walt, a prominent voice of the ‘realist’ school of foreign policy and a leading apologist for the Russian government.

RT, Moscow’s 24-hour propaganda news network, has gone so far as to blame the Ukrainian government for shooting down the plane, on the grounds that they thought it was actually Putin’s personal jet.

Of course, Putin did not order his army to shoot down Flight MH17. He never wanted his little proxy war in Eastern Ukraine to spread beyond that country’s borders. The entire purpose of his months-long maskirovka, or war by means of military deception, was to keep the conflict and chaos contained so as to weaken the central government in Kiev and beleaguer it indefinitely as a failed state. A key element of maskirovka is the maintenance of plausible deniability, and as long as Putin didn’t send regular forces bearing Russian military insignia over the border, he was able to maintain the illusion that he was not waging warfare against another country.

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This was always a ruse, but most Western leaders bought into it. The cost of their obliviousness, of deliberately closing their eyes to Putin’s depredations at home and abroad in hopes that ignoring the trouble would make it all go away, can now be found in the rolling fields outside Donetsk, where, as I write this, the mangled corpses of EU citizens are being desecrated by the inebriated, Russian-backed separatists who most likely shot down the plane.

 

 

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The minute Putin decided that he would start a war in Ukraine over its rejection of Viktor Yanukovych and embrace of Europe, he set in motion a long chain of events leading to Thursday’s tragedy. Independent polls have consistently shown that Eastern Ukrainians want to remain citizens of a united Ukraine. Taking a cue from his Leninist forbears in the KGB, Putin set about equipping a fanatical armed minority to make mischief. If he couldn’t install another puppet in Kiev to replace the mafia boss who had been deposed, he would settle for the next best thing: an insurgency armed, funded and trained by his secret services aimed at destabilizing the Ukrainian government.

Throughout this crisis, Western leaders have consistently moved back the goalposts as to what would constitute an ‘unacceptable’ breach by Putin. The first armed annexation of territory on the European continent since World War II (justified under the same, ominous pretense of ethnic comradeship as Hitler’s land grabs) ought to have been met swiftly with serious, backbreaking sanctions. But the most Washington and Brussels could devise in response were individual visa bans and asset freezes on a handful of Putin cronies, and ready-to-eat meals for the under-equipped Ukrainian military. Having gotten away with the wholesale theft of another country’s land, why not try to establish breakaway ‘People’s Republics’ in Eastern Ukraine? Why not prevent Ukrainians from voting in their presidential election on May 25? Why not fire missiles, from Russian territory, at Ukrainian military convoys? Why not send tanks and anti-aircraft batteries to the separatists? And why not help operate these sophisticated weapons systems to shoot down Ukrainian military transport planes?

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Given the mealy-mouthed reply from Western leaders to these acts of aggression, it is not difficult to understand why Putin kept moving forward. And it is easy to see how it blew up, literally, in his face.

The start of the Putin era can be traced to another mass-murder of civilians, the Moscow apartment bombings of 1999, which many outside observers believe were orchestrated by Russia’s secret services to rally nationalistic sentiment behind the soon-to-be President-for-Life. Putin used the incident as a pretext for launching a devastating war in Chechnya, a crusade that had the added benefit of boosting his popularity among the Russian populace. One can only hope that Thursday’s act of mass murder will set in motion the end of the Putin era, as the world finally wakes up to the threat posed by the criminal in the Kremlin.

James Kirchick is a fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative and a correspondent for the Daily Beast


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Show comments
  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Remember the story line of “The Spy that Came in From the Cold”? Is Putin a John leCarre fan? Let western leaders and the MSM paint him black, then pull the rabbit out of the hat.

  • Dr. Heath

    The Realist School has been around for decades and first
    formulated its immensely sophisticated Weltanschauung when the democracies,
    enfeebled and exsanguinated by years of economic collapse, imagined that
    civilised men could deal with a triumphalist barbarian by speaking nicely to
    him, granting him unconditional favours in the fatuous belief that each would
    be repaid in kind. Such has been the case with Putin. Genuine realists
    appreciate that it is not always possible to reach any sort of modus vivendi with
    violent sociopaths through negotiation. Lines have to be drawn in the sand. The
    barbarian and the sociopath must have it proved that his opponents are one
    hundred percent prepared to meet any potential reckless and lunatic use of
    force with possibly even greater force the moment that line is crossed.

    For some impenetrable reason, ‘experts’ have been pontificating on Putin’s game
    plan. Russia’s Little Father, they say, merely wants to keep the turmoil going,
    punishing Ukraine’s runaways [former vassals who just won’t see sense and
    trudge back through the Gulag’s gates] with the chronic pain of insurgency, but
    not invading. How wrong can you be? There clearly was a game plan and it
    involved, Putin not being very original, the same dodges and dives as we’ve seen
    in his crusades against the Georgians and terrorism. Provoke your enemies into
    committing atrocities. Commit atrocities yourself and blame it on the godless
    bandits. Attack a block of flats in Moscow or in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
    Use these events as a pretext, in this situation, to invade and hive off a
    portion of Ukraine as a sort of second Crimea or a second South Ossetia. This
    is of course part of a much larger game plan. South Ossetia today. Crimea
    tomorrow. The Donetsk People’s Republic the day after tomorrow. The Baltics –
    or part of them – next week. Putin has sized up his enemies. He’s thoroughly
    convinced they’re all milquetoasts. Generally speaking, he’s been right.

    It has gone thoroughly wrong for Putin. Poroshenko appears willing to endure
    far more than Putin expected he would in terms of loss of men and materiel.
    Within the space of a few days, editorialists across the world are abandoning
    the Realist School stance and are smelling, as they say, the coffee. They’re
    reading all the things Putin has said and that his ideologues, members of the
    Alexander Dugin Tendency, are saying; Ukrainians are just Russians. Russia
    needs to ‘do something’ about its near abroad. Putin’s been called a mass
    murderer. “About time”, is the only thing any alert and sensible
    non-Realist can say to this encouraging re-connection with actual events.

  • Halou

    There are 5 simple reasons why nothing is going to be done to stop Putin.

    M. O. N. E. Y.

    London as a financial center makes billions of dollars in tax revenue cycling Russian business and doesn’t want to sacrifice their wealth for the sake of the people’s principles. The Netherlands, despite losing so many in the crash, is one of Russia’s biggest trade partners and will literally collapse their own economy if they pull away. Hundreds of thousands of German jobs depend on doing business with, and continued gas imports from Russia. Not even mentioning the shameful degree to which former soviet states continue to be dependent on their former occupiers.

    The people who can do the most to stop Putin’s regime are the ones who have Putin’s noose tied around their genitals.

    • Gwangi

      Yep, this is the reason why the French – who do loads of business with the Arabs – were cowards and did not take part in any fight to rid Iraq of Saddam either time. Guess who got the contracts to rebuild in Iraq eh?
      The pain should be shared across the EU. Britain should and will this time take strict sanctions against Russia – but we need compensation from the EU, because financial services is a huge industry in the UK and employed 11% of Brits.
      Maybe we can scrap the Common Agricultural Policy which pays lazy fat French farmers to do nothing inefficiently, and use that money eh? I wonder if the frogs would agree…

  • Jacques Strap

    Two words and three letters:

    Tony Blair WMD

  • ClausewitzTheMunificent

    Hahahahahaha. You mention the “suspicious” Moscow apartment bombings. Do you really want to open the can of worms that is 9/11? Unproven accusation for unproven accusation…..

  • McRobbie

    I have just listened to another russian apologist, the labour ex minister claire short spouting off about how it was all the fault of the west that the war started, disregarding the fact it was, in Putin’s own words, Russian troops that invaded the Crimea. After listening to Putin’s Bart Simpson defense about who shot down the airplane “it wasn’t me”, blaming it on the Ukraine, and then to hear short’s support for that russian stance I am even more sure there is a fundamental break down in wisdom in labour politicians.

  • Smithersjones2013

    What amazes me is that so many seem so surprised that Russia is behaving like this? Russia does not share our tender western liberal attitudes. Call them all the names under the sun They don’t really care. All they care about is their own best interests and that is keeping the EU, NATO and the US well out of their sphere of influence. At best the current cacophony of squawked and squealed outrage from Western politicians (Hammond and Cameron’s latest effort were particularly pathetic) and media will only irritate them. It will not force them to change their goals. All this is doing is playing into Russia’s hands.

    Why are so many intent (as Cameron and Obama seem to be) on restarting the Cold War and doing exactly what Russia wants? Once relations between Russia and the West break down completely what is to stop Russia doing in all the other Republics on its Western borders exactly what it is doing in the Ukraine?

    Merkel is right the West needs to stop with the hysteria and get real starting with recognising they can’t push Russia around in its own back yard!

    • Gwangi

      Yep, spot on. Russia is in no way a normal European country and will never behave like one. It will always want a strong and brutal leader, and it’s a place pickled in nationalism, violence and spiritualism too.
      I discovered this when, as an 11 year old on a trip to Russia (before Glasnost, this), I was confronted by 2 stone-faced Red Army soldiers demanding something in Russian (didn’t understand a word) who held their guns up in my face. You see, would that happen anywhere else in Europe – Western Europe, that is? Holding a gun to an 11 year old’s face? (the reason they did this was to search my pocket for a camera which at the time were banned when going to see that old waxwork Lenin – I took out my woollen gloves to show them). Still the same of Russia now., The end of Communism changed nothing really. Now they just worship money and vulgar showing off as they once worshipped commie heroes and industry.
      The old leftie commie USSR supporters in the UK did not realise that; the post-commie capitalists didn’t either. All fugwits. Wilfully blind and pumped up on their own pomposity and arrogance.
      Time to stand up to Russia. Massive sanctions now. No matter if it hurts our economies. We are not THAT dependent on Russia!
      OK this is hypocritical because we refuse to stand up to the Chinese fascist state. But then, they will soon be in real financial trouble anyway, so we can stand back and watch them implode without doing a thing.

      • Mary Christine

        I totally agree. The Chinese aren’t saints, but at least they are content in staying on their lang, dealing with their people and leaving everyone else alone. The Chinese have their ways and we can’t exactly order them around to modify their ways.
        Russia will never be content with what it can gain. It will always demand more, more and more and they will never be sated.

  • jazz606
  • http://twitter.com/WinstonCDN WinstonCDN

    Europe waking up? Europe is dead.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Doesn’t this remind you of 9/11?

    • swatnan

      This was a tragic accident; the passenger airliner was mistaken for a military target. Accidents sometimes happen, but not often. I believe we’ve even shot down our own personnel in ‘friendly fire’ blue on blue incidents.

      • Gwangi

        No – it was NOT an accident. Putin the pig armed the thugs in Eastern Ukraine to let them wage his war against Ukraine to try and demolish and hurt that country.
        It was ‘an accident waiting to happen’ – but if I bought someone several vodkas in a pub then lent them a car with which they killed innocent people, would that really be an accident?
        I am sure if Britain gave similar surface to air missiles to terrorists who then shot down planes from your country, you wouldn’t have the same attitude.

        • swatnan

          Just as likely that the SAMs were nicked off the Ukranians a few months back. Putin may be a pig but he’s not an idiot to give SAMs to rebels.

    • NotYouNotSure

      No, the USSR and USA both shot down a passenger plane, it was not a 9/11 then.

  • swatnan

    Then Ukraine and the Baltics need tom pull out of NATO and stay neutral; neither must they threaten Russia by allowing US bases in their countries pointing missles at Moscow. Its an absolute disgrace that the US threatens the security of Europe by its aggressive military policies. Russia will feel more comfortable if the missiles are also removed from Turkey.

    • pointlesswasteoftime

      Yeah, neutrality will protect them. (Ukraine is neither in NATO nor EU by the way).

    • Gwangi

      You are an Arab so you support Russia because they support you. Non?
      Why don’t you blame the Jews for Hitler while you’re at it or for Islamic attacks. Oh wait, you already do.
      Blame all women who are rayped and murdered for that to then, why doncha? All their fault that they are murdered.
      Blame the criminal NOT the victim. The Criminal is RUSSIA – and that dog Putin, End of.

      • NotYouNotSure

        Hah, nice try with your narrative, Arabs are evil and support Russia, Israel is good and supports the EU. Back in the real world, in a little reported story, it was Israel that refused to condemn the Russia Crimea moves, much to the dislike from America.

        • Gwangi

          Nope – I never use the word evil.
          But Russia – communist or now – always supported Arabs and is always against Israel and Jews.

          The British hypocrite useful idiot left has a long history of supporting anything the USSR told them to, and that means being anti-Israel and pro-Arab. That stench still fills the air.

          Israel IS a democracy which has a free press and independent legal system – there are many people who live there of all types: Arabs, gays, Christians, atheists – and all are tolerated and accepted by many, and have equal rights. Show me ONE Arab country that is not a vile and corrupt state.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            The Saudis despise the Russians, and the Saudi gangsters haven’t transmogrified into eskimos, last time I checked.

            Shut up about the arabs, lad. This is all diabolical enough, without you injecting your brand of stupidity.

    • serguei_p

      swatnan, you don’t know what you talking about, do you?
      Ukraine is NOT a member of NATO. This is why it became a subject of Russian aggression. If Ukraine was in NATO Putin would think twice before invading it.
      As for Baltic states the reason they were so keen on joining NATO was the fear of been occupied again.

  • Lady Magdalene

    Downing the aircraft may well be the fault of the Ukrainian rebels (and Putin) but the situation in Ukraine is the fault of both the EU and Russia.

    The EU deliberately provoked Russia by proposing an Association Treaty with Ukraine which was about a great deal more than trade – offering a route into EU and NATO membership. The EU encouraged the revolution, overthrowing a democratically elected President in favour of pro-western rebels who had no mandate. The EU then immediately recognised a self-appointed pro-western rebel government. The Ukraine is Russia’s backyard and of course Putin was going to react to this provocation.

    As usual, the EU has talked loudly but has no stick to back it up and no consensus on the action to be taken – because national interests come first . Putin talks softly, carries a stick and isn’t afraid to use it to defend Russia’s interests.

    I’m not excusing Putin or the rebels for downing the aircraft – that is almost certainly their fault. But the war underway in Ukraine was not provoked by Putin – it was the stupidity and arrogance of the EU.

    • jjjj

      But Putin is behaving as if it had nothing to do with him and he is talking so ‘softly’ as you say that he isn’t even apologetic. Anyway, the people of Ukraine wanted to be closer to the west than authoritarian Russia. And who can blame them? Do you support Russia’s brutal annexation of the Crimea?

      • Lady Magdalene

        I don’t support Russia’s actions at all. But they were entirely predictable.
        I don’t believe the people leading the EU are stupid so they must have known what the reaction would be to their proposed Association Treaty.
        But then we are dealing with a thug in Russia and an arrogant EU whose “President” recently announced that whether the people of Europe wanted the EU to expand was irrelevant – they were going to do it anyway.

        • ButcombeMan

          “I don’t believe the people leading the EU are stupid”.

          Hmm. I saw nothing in Ashton’s background that made me want her, in her current job.

          And it is not just about levels of stupidity, Blair was not completely stupid, far from it, but as he showed over Iraq, it is becoming fixated on a particular strategy that causes the long term problems. Clever people can, like both Blair & Brown, lack wisdom and basic common sense.

          As you say, the EU is fixated on expansion, even though, in many respects, it does not work for many of its people. It is deeply flawed as an institution , which is why I want out.

          Russia is a more feeble Bear than it was but it is STILL a Bear. Poking it, especially with someone like Putin in charge, was never wise.

      • Makroon

        I think Putin is probably in conclave with his advisers on the best way to proceed regarding the Malaysian airliner tragedy.
        I would expect a conciliatory statement, (with condolences to the victims), and some offers of support for the investigation.
        Putin is neither mad nor “evil”. He is a pretty unscrupulous politician – like most of the rest.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        I don’t think you speak for the people of Ukraine, and their wants.

        Russia did not do a “brutal annexation of the Crimea”.

        • Mary Christine

          You cannot be serious. You mean that voting that the people did, with Russian guns breathing on their neck was a peaceful way of taking Ukraine?
          Those videos that were recorded, with people laughing and being happy to reunite with Mother Russia, were clearly forced and false.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Yes, I can be serious.

            I can’t be serious about you and your massive conspiracy notions, and faked videos and gunpoint voting, mind you. That’s a joke.

            • Mary Christine

              See, that’s the thing you don’t get.

              We don’t need elections held at gunpoint voting. That’s why those small nations in Europe exist after all. Those ones dumb people call ‘smaller (insert bigger neighbouring mother nation name here)’. The ones that against bad odds manage to coexist with their bigger counterparts. Poorer, yes, but independent. Take a European map and see how many there are. Andorra, Malta, Moldova, and many others.

              Want independance? Take it, and let’s see how much you can hold your own. Some groups of people can’t handle it. If Crimean people wanted independence, they could’ve asked for a referendum in Ukraine.
              A legal, normal one. Without Russia interfering. And then they could unite with Russia, no longer anyone else’s concern what they do. That’s what civilised people do.

              I am 95% sure Ukraine can live on its own without ‘big bro Russia’ taking care its regions. The recent events have nothing legal in them. What’s next? The Russian Baltic minority of 20% will ask for assistance too? And it will go downhill from there, pretty fast.
              I personally don’t want Russia as a neighbour. Never will.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Sorry, but I stopped reading after you repeated your “gunpoint voting” conspiracies.

    • Jelger

      >> The EU encouraged the revolution, overthrowing a democratically elected President in favour of pro-western rebels who had no mandate.

      A democraticaly elected president who robbed the nation ino bankruptcy. Maybe you should wonder why people get upset at their government, and start from there….
      Maybe ask yourself the question if you were having such a government in your country. Would u expect everybody to sit at home, doing nothing? Yes, that’s whete we have gotten in the west (assuming u are from europe or usa/canada). People just gotten cynical and vent their frustration with their government on the internet rather then go out on the streets…

      At the same time, the EU did not sign the deal before a new President was elected democratically and a new government formed.

      • Lady Magdalene

        If a democratically elected President is behaving in a manner which the electorate of his country disapprove, they have an opportunity to remove him at the next election.

        That is how democracy works.

        In the UK we also had a democratically elected Government (Blair/Brown) which forced our country to the point of bankruptcy. Did the EU encourage a revolution here? Of course not. WE removed the Government at the next General Election.

        Instead in Ukraine, when the democratically elected President looked likely to turn down the EU’s offer and instead take the one being offered by Putin, the EU actively encouraged a rebellion, once again demonstrating that it is not a democratic institution and doesn’t support democracy when the outcome doesn’t suit it.

        The Ukrainian rebels overthrew a democratically elected government and imposed one that had no democratic mandate.

        • Jelger

          “That is how democracy works.”
          That’s right. In a corrupted or weak ” democracy” this is not always how it works or will work. That is the practice on the ground since mankind. People taking their future in their hands. Most often we, the decent democratic people, even applauded for that.
          The revolution in Ukraine did not take place because the EU pushed some button, it is because Ukraine’s people took to the streets.
          Yanukovich actively negotiated with the EU for years (mind you!!) about the AA and free trade agreeement, and preparing all the necessary things domestically to suit in the framework,while not turning the back when the EU year after year critized the Ukrainians for their dealings with Timosjenko (another state robber).
          In other words, the Yanukovich government held office all those years actively pursuing the agreements with the EU himself (!!).
          He finally turned it down in the last month before signing it, as result of the Kremlin’s persistent agressive policy to get the Ukraine in their vault (economic blockade) and finally could convince Yanukovich by offering the direct cash flow that Ukraine needed , that Europe did not want to offer (Ukraine needed that because this oh so democratic government corrupted the Ukraine state funds).

          I do agreee the EU has underestimated the dynamics this Eastern Partnership program process would create. At the same time, the people of Ukraine voted for closer ties with the EU, and it is their choice, not that of the Kremlin to make.

          If a government is acting against its own people and its interests, it is not always wise [for the people] to wait until the next ballot box, esecially in this region. The next ballot box may prove to not comingor being rigged. It wouldn’t be thefirst time that an elected government killed democracy. It has happened a couple of times in the post-soviet nations.

          and is the current government in Ukraine un/anti-democratic, it does not have an electoral mandate? No. The president fled and a new one has been elected within just a few months (in many countries it takes years!!), who clearly is supported in all of the regions where voting was not restricted by local militias.

          As with many revolutions, it all started with simple protests, which turned ugly after a few months ONLY when Yanukovich signed anti-democratic laws in effect (in a way to curtail public dissent with his choice to suddenly ally with Russia).

          let’s not forget that. That action of Yanukovich (“democratically” mandating anti-democratic laws) was the final match in the haystack.

          You can pretent it was the EU fomenting a revolution… it is typical as it is, an autocratic cleptocrat who is taking anti-democratic measures to silence his people was the actual match.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            In fact Putin’s approval rating in Russia is at an all-time high.

            • serguei_p

              Exactly like an approval rating of Hitler in 1938 in Germany.

          • Smithersjones2013

            From what I can see what you are saying is that it is alright for those in Western Ukraine to rebel but not for those in Eastern Ukraine to do so and its alright for the EU to back the western Ukrainians but not for Russia to back the Eastern (Russian) Ukrainians.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            You took hundreds of words to apologize for a group of street thugs who overthrow an elected government.

          • Lady Magdalene

            Negotiations can continue for decades … until the Treaty is signed, it signifies nothing except a willingness to negotiate.
            A revolution which overthrew the elected President and Government was actively encouraged by the EU and USA.
            What you are arguing is “the ends justify the means” which is the usual excuse for people who have resorted to violence.

        • Makroon

          Well said Magdalene.
          But unfortunately, the professed haters of the October revolution, feel perfectly free to do the same, if they consider it is in their interests.

    • serguei_p

      Lady Magdalene, are you saying that Ukraine has no right to decide what union to which it wants to belong? Should it always ask Putin for permission?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Apparently, you want them to ask street thugs, like those who overthrew the legitimately elected government there.

  • Radford_NG

    Last Tuesday,in the European Parliament,the UKIP member for Yorkshire condemned EU aggression in Ukraine against Russia and the EU policy of adding another country to its empire by a political blitzkrieg.He declared:UKIP doesn’t believe that war is a continuation of politics by other means.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAX0wV1Xgmk

    • Jelger

      Reportedly these parties (anong others with a similar political agenda) are actively being penetrated and/or funded by donations from the Kremlin (obviously through the typical backchannels).
      That may not be illegal as such (and simply a logical consequence of Russia’s geopolitical interests, something America or the EU would do as well), the question is, if it serves the benefit of European taxpayers.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        You got any proof of that claim?

  • Bonkim

    Is James Kirchick of Ukrainian origin? I have no problem with Putin – he is looking after his interests in the region – same as the US during the Cuban missile crisis.

    Furthermore EU Commissioners and US Ambassador in Kiev have been actively pushing their agenda in the region which backfired in terms of Crimea reverting back to Russia. If they had rudimentary political sense they would have called for a Ukraine wide referendum and formation of a federal structure following the illegal activity of the Kiev Mafia in toppling the previous democratically elected government whatever its record.

    Ukrainian politics has been dirty and Oligarchs corrupt since the end of the Soviet Union. The activity of the EU and US have contributed to the present situation, and whatever the cause of the downing of the Malaysian airline, they cannot escape their complicity. Most probably incompetence on the part of the Russian separatists – but Ukrainian air control should have closed the airspace given that some of their aircraft have been downed there in recent days.

    I am no apologist for Putin who is no angel and will adopt all means available to achieve his aims – and politics is a dirty game in the region – but EU/US are not blameless either.

  • Gwangi

    Nothing whatsoever unusual or new about Putin – he is just a typical Russian, like the autocratic Tsars, like the commie dictators. No different now.

    Russia is NOT a normal European country and never will be. Its culture is as brutal as its history, pickled in spiritualism and blood. And that makes it behave in quite vile ways. like China more than anywhere else. Amoral.

    Which is not to criticise individual Russians – who may kill you if you offend their Motherland (though many accept it’s a horrible mental corrupt place – why they move to Canada and UK) but who will always buy you a drink and get drunk with you (unlike most po-faced puritanical Americans).

    What to do? Well, just expose Putin for what he is: the man responsible for the deaths of all those people on that flight. He chose to arm the thugs and criminals of Donetsk (a city founded by a Brit actually – a Welshman – Wiki it!) He gave them Russian arms they were and are too thick, untrained and ill-disciplined to be able to use properly. He should disarm them now – he has the power. If he doesn’t, everyone in the West will cheer when Russia next gets bombed or perhaps when someone blows some of its planes out of the sky.

  • RichardLittlejohnsoldout

    The Americans organised the Glasgow bomb attacks and journalists like Richard Littlejohn who was one of those that received the Engage email osamabinladenrulesok@yahoo.co.uk the night before wishes to keep quiet over it? Perhaps his holidays to Florida might be cancelled if he was a naughty boy and told the truth.

  • Ted Cunterblast

    It’s not surprising that the Jewish Neocon homosexualist Kirchick [who was behind the recent Liz Wahl RT publicity stunt] would want to trash Putin.

    It should be obvious to all right-thinking people in the West that it is people like Kirchick–not Putin–who are the real threat to our civilisation.

    • jjjj

      Cunterblast, your history of posts show you to be a right old fascist.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Well, Kirchick is a Jewish neocon homosexualist, as the guy says. I’m not sure pointing that out makes anybody a fascist.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Lordy, your’re all coming out of the woodwork at the moment aren’t you.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Well, Kirchick is a Jewish neocon homosexualist, as the guy says. I’m not sure pointing that out makes anybody a fascist.

        • Damaris Tighe

          Didn’t call him a fascist – term to describe Italian corporatists very overused.

  • http://cosmostheinlost.com/ Artur Sebastian Rosman

    Putin needs distractions from the situation back home, so you can count on events like this one repeating themselves:

    http://cosmostheinlost.com/2014/03/07/cross-kremlin-orthodoxy-conservative-moments-near-catholiclandia/

  • Radford_NG

    What more can you do about Putin.You had already made him an international outcaste because he had done the one unforgivable thing:the same thing as Fidel Castro and Robert Magarbie.It did not matter the people they had killed;they went beyond the pail by disrespecting homosexuals.Putin had made it illegal to promote the gay agenda amongst school children.In response the western leaders refused to attend the opening or closing ceremonies at the winter olympics where they could have had secret talks with Putin.Instead Obama added insult to injury by sending homosexuals and lesbians to head the official delegation.

    (Kirchick refers to Chechnya.Yeltsin had abandoned Chechnya to the RoP.They responded by bursting out and doing the most appalling things to little girls in the Beslan school house.)

    I blame the entire situation in the Ukraine on Baroness Ashton and the EU for its empire building.

    • rtj1211

      On the contrary, what he did was stand up to the West trying to loot his country post Perestroika.

    • Maidmarrion

      “.Instead Obama added insult to injury by sending homosexuals and lesbians to head the official delegation”
      Hypocrisy thy name is USA and UK.
      There are several states in the USA which have discriminatory laws against homosexuality.
      The USA also hosts Guantanamo prisoners .
      It is in no position to preach to anyone.
      But if it can muddy the waters , create smoke and mirrors with the help of its best pal the UK ,it will.

  • Shenandoah

    Thanks for the article, Mr. Kirchick. I knew he was trouble from Day One, but unfortunately I do not sit in the White House.

    • pedestrianblogger

      Unfortunate, indeed.

  • Jonathan

    You know what!!! It was Lenin that said “Always look to see who benefits”. Now please, can anybody explain exactly what benefit Putin/Russia will gain from this dastardly deed. I think to establish the benefactors we are going to have to take a good look at the West and in particular the vile underhandedness of the USA.

    • rtj1211

      ‘Now I think I know what you tried to say to me,

      How you suffered for your sanity,

      How you tried to set them free.

      They would not listen, they’re not listening still.

      Perhaps they never will?’

    • foxoles

      EU official: Downing of the Malaysian plane provides ‘an opportunity’

      http://www.euractiv.com/sections/global-europe/eu-official-downing-malaysia-plane-provides-opportunity-303586

    • wudyermucuss

      Ol’ Vlad also said “beat them without mercy”.

      Maybe that’s why the intercepted radio transmission said “**** them”

    • Smithersjones2013

      1. By being seen as involved in such an atrocity Russia is sending a message to the EU, NATO and the US to get out of its backyard (probably its primary goal). The EU will think twice before it interferes in what Russia perceives as its sphere of influence.

      2. By promoting outrage in the West Putin and Russia will gain credibility with those who oppose the West.

      3. By forcing the West into action against Russia, Russia can then respond in kind worsening relations between itself and the West further. When relations breakdown sufficiently it can start undermining and destabilising the rest of the republics on its Eastern borders with a view to pushing EU expansionism back and out of Russia’s sphere of influence.

      Neither side has anything to boast about. This is typical low-life power-mongering by super-powers and supranations.

    • Makroon

      So, you don’t believe in fatal accidents in war-zones ?

    • Copyright101

      Absolutely right Jonathan. I’ve been posting this a lot over the last day:

      Why would Putin/Russia/rebels want a Malaysian airline shot down?

      Phase 1> Shoot down Malaysian Airliner.

      Phase 2> Vilification in the world’s media.

      Phase 3> ?

      Phase 4> Russian success!

      Would anyone care to explain what Phase 3 might be?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Putin hooks up with Silvio Berlusconi for a weekend of Bunga-Bunga fun and games?

    • mikewaller

      Are you as daft as you seem? A knuckled-headed bozo either sent in by Russia or just supported by them, thought he was about to score another bulls-eye by shooting down a Ukrainian military transport, this one flying very high because others had been shot down at lower altitudes. He/they just got it wrong.

      Key learning point for would-be commentators: cock-up is usually a better bet than conspiracy.

      • Jonathan

        Hmmm!!! Good opening Mike, thanks for the compliment. Obviously you are a one dimensional self opinionated individual with tunnel vision. Sometimes you have to think outside the box.

        • mikewaller

          But a lot more often you have to look at what’s right in front of your eyes. If you really try, it ain’t that hard.

  • Chingford Man

    No mention here of the EU sparking this situation in the first place. Funny that. When Farage said the EU had blood on its hands, he didn’t realise the half of it.

    • Jelger

      another apologist. what’s up with these euro-fascists defending the crimes of the Kremlin?

      • jjjj

        Because they are really Putin bots. There has been enough research to show that Russians are being paid to come on these sites inc. the Guardian with fake monikers. But yes, there are the home grown fascists too.

        • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

          Making you EU-bots (pronounced U-boat) presumably?

          • jjjj

            Actually U-boat is the name of a luxury watch brand. The type probably adorning your fascist hero’s wrist.

            • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

              Yes, a sick joker would say the Flight Deck or Thousands of Feet version

              • jjjj

                Ok, truce. I’m sure we are in agreement on other things.

                • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                  Yes, we are.

      • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

        I (and I am sure many) agree with Chingford Man; we are not apologists at all, nor fascist. In fact if you are keen on the EU and it’s overt and publically admitted goals YOU are the fascist.

        P.S. Crimes of the Kremlin? Please inform the powers that be, they still don’t know what happened.

        • jjjj

          Oh, everyone knows the truth – that it was Russian soldiers. But your job is to try and distract people and deflect. Your master’s ill gotten wealth depends on it,

          • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

            the distraction is coming from you, and I repeat: have you and Jelger informed the authorities?

        • Jelger

          U may agree or disagree with EU’s agenda in regard to Ukraine’s self determined orientation (and wanting ties with the EU on the trade / economic level)
          [no one is forcing Ukraine to have ties with EU, see Armenia, EU is not sanctioning Armenia for not wanting an AA/DCFTA agreement] – it is Russia and Russia only who is proven to be fanning these regions into anarchy, banditism and lawlessnes,

          Maybe you should open a history book for once, and check the Kremlins modus operandi since the late 90s when it comes to its periphery (North-Caucasus, Georgia, Moldova, and most recently Ukraine) not to mention Russia’s stake in facilitating Armenia in keeping the Ngorno Karabakh occupied and keep this conflict unresolved.

          What you (and similar) are doing like jjjj states is distraction and deflection. You are one sentence short of saying that this plane crash is Europe’s fault. I hope thats not what u have in mind.

          What people like Farage do is defending Russia’s policies of destabilizing its neighbourhood (and landgrabbing) by supporting proxy banditism for the sole political gain at home.

          Crimes of the Kremlin you ask me, you seriously want me to explain you how landgrabbing like Crimea and booting out people is a crime? Oh dear.

          • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

            The only crime I was referring to is the downing of this plane. Deflection/ distraction or was I responding to “another apologist. what’s up with these euro-fascists defending the crimes of the Kremlin?”.

            Re EU, so far IMHO they are as much to blame as Russia. When more facts come to light that opinion may change but the situation in Ukraine was fomented by the EU (indisputable) and that situation has led to the this tragedy.

            • Jelger

              So you are saying that the EU is to be held accountable for this airplane disaster.
              This anarchy in Eastern Ukraine (and as such all violent actions in the region) is the result of Russia’s foreign policy and doctrine. Not of EU’s policy to embrace improved economic relations to enhance prosperity.

              • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                ” So you are saying that the EU is to be held accountable for this airplane disaster”

                Can you read?

                “…EU’s policy to embrace improved economic relations to enhance prosperity.”

                LOL.

                • Jelger

                  you just wrote :”[….] the situation in Ukraine was fomented by the EU (indisputable) and that situation has led to the this tragedy.”

                  In other words, you directly link EU’s involvement / relations / dealings with Ukraine to ‘fomenting [the current situation]’ and this airplane disaster. There is no other way how to read these words.
                  Let me rephrase my previous comment : do you think the EU, as result of your reasoning, should be held accountable of (possibly) shooting down a plane above Ukraine?

                • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                  Good rephrasing: no, they should not be held accountable for the act itself but certainly for their part in the build up to that act.

                • Baron

                  Nope, Jelger, the EU didn’t pull the trigger, but the EU apparatchiks, the kissing Baroness, others are responsible for creating the conditions that led to the tragedy. Who gave these unelected bureaucrats the right to meddle in other countries affairs. Was it debated in the EU Parliament, in the House, anywhere?

                • global city

                  they bought the matches and invited people to work out how to use them…..which they did.

                  They did not cause the fire that burnt down the palace and singed the bear, but their involvement started a trajectory.

                • Baron

                  Quite, global city, and nicely put, too.

              • Baron

                It’s the EU aim to enlarge the undemocratic monstrosity from the Atlantic to the Urals, or you reckon the paper got the name wrong, it should have been Putin?

                http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/01/eu-extend-soviet-union-david-cameron

              • global city

                Are you a complete idiot?

            • White Rose

              If Russia is as much to blame for this crisis as the EU (your own words) then how come you never condemn anything Putin, Russia, or the separatists do? All you ever post is attacks on the EU and the West and an endless series of excuse, after excuse, after excuse for the obvious aggressors in the Kremlin.

              • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                If Russia is as much to blame for this crisis as the EU (your own words)

                Unfortunately for you that’s not true but I know what you mean.

                Also I am looking at this from all angles but as here the articles are very anti Putin and Russia (with zero evidence) I am merely countering it and throwing a few snippets to help debate along (i.e. sudden silence and ‘we didn’t see a thing from US Intelligence). Also see above where I take issue with others being called apologists and Fascist (oh the irony!). The separatists are the Pandora’s box opened by intrusions into Ukrainian internal politics; I can openly condemn any atrocities they may commit but I don’t see why we should try to pretend we don’t know what caused them to be in the situation.

                • First L

                  What do you mean zero evidence?

                  There’s tonnes of goddamn evidence. You’re just choosing to ignore it.

                • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                  Tons of wreckage; not evidence of who did it. If you know then the authorities would like a word with you because they don’t know. …there’s a little bit coming out now and the black box has been found: other than that the available evidence doesn’t indicate who did it as there are at least 4 possibilities and a dozen conspiracy theories. I suspect it’s you who is ignoring it or only seeing a smidgen of it.

                • First L

                  Er – there were no Ukrainian anti aircraft units within a hundred miles of the crash. You know why? Because the separatists don’t have any aircraft. While the separatists have shot down four Ukranian military aircraft in the past month.

                  Are you capable of understanding logic or do I need to take you through the process step by step?

                  That’s without counting the intercepted phone calls.

                • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                  Depends what Ukrainian units you’re talking about, of course; take me through the groups step by step, your logic so far is primary school but hey, I’m sure you’ll prove me wrong.

          • Baron

            Ask your MEP, Jelger, what did the EU spend almost 400mn euros for in the two years before the Sloboda party’s thugs made the deputies running for their lives last February, will you?

            • Makroon

              Jelger and his Polish (?) revanchist friends, seem to imagine that membership of the EU and NATO, implies that western Europe should involve itself in their ancient feud with Russia.

        • littlegreyrabbit

          People think the separatists have little command and control structure, but they forget that the Ukrainian government is almost as confused.
          My understanding is the normal Ukrainian army has not taken a lead role in the fighting in the east, rather it is the National Guard, a recently formed militia staffed largely by the extreme Ukrainian nationalists.
          Technically, it is not certain that a stand alone Buk SAM can operate successfully far in advance of its radar stations – ie. the normal scenario is the plane crosses into national airspace where it is first tracked by radar air defence and then brought down by the Buk. Doing this far in advance of your own borders is not so easy.

          • jazz606

            I understand that the Buk has it’s own radar system and will shoot down anything that you point it at.

        • First L

          No fan of the EU, but I’d take it over Putin any day of the week. As would the vast majority of Ukranians.

          • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

            Vast majority?

            • First L

              Yes – as in 99%.

              • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                Yep, wasn’t that what Saddam used to get? You need to read a bit more.

      • Chingford Man

        It’s not “Euro fascism” to point out that the EU Reich caused this crisis by interfering in Russia’s back yard. The former Soviet republics are in Russia’s sphere of influence. Nothing will change that, unlike you would like to have a world war over it.

        • East London

          You are absolutely right, Chingford Man. And given their collaboration with the German Nazis during the war it’s not surprising the Russians and ethnic Russians got worried

      • Smithersjones2013

        Do you know that people who live in the Rocky Mountains in the good ole US of A tell their kids not to go near Grizzly Bears because they are dangerous and rather indiscriminating in who they hurt.

        Its a pity that someone didn’t tell the EU and Obama the same thing about Russian Bears.

        If you poke the Russian bear or go snuffling around in its back yard prepared to get bitten!

        That’s not defending anyone. That’s just facing reality!

        • First L

          Russia is not a Mama grizzly defending her children. It’s a neo fascist expansionist state run by a murderous dictator who has constantly and consistently lied to his people and his (former) allies to the point where Putin is close to quoting Hitler in some of his remarks about Russians in Ukraine (We need breathing room etc).

          Unless you are actually Russian and so have the excuse of being brainwashed by the one note media, there is no excuse for defending Putin the evil mad man.

        • McRobbie

          What a load of Russian apologist tosh ! The mad bare chested Putin has got more than Russian bears heads on his trophy wall now, he has a civilian airplane and hundreds of innocent civilians to join the others from Crimea and Chechnya and elsewhere. Russia under the emperor Putin the mad is going nowhere but back into the cold war economy they have just managed to come from..the world will survive without Russian gas and hot air…Russia will exist without the west..but a very boring and poverty stricken existance….again.

    • M P Jones

      Sickening propaganda for US/NATO expansionism and aggression, pushing the catastrophic policies of crazy men like Brzezinski and Cheney.

    • First L

      Possibly because the EU didn’t.

    • mikewaller

      I am staggered at the power of your self-delusion. A very nasty man who acknowledges Stalin as a role-model is following in his master’s footsteps by fascilitaing the kinds of denial in respect of MH17 the great monster pumped out in respect of Katyn Wood. As for his credentials as a supporter of self-determination, consider his brutal crushing of the Chechens for the sin of wishing to leave the Russian Federation.

      Where I think contributions like yours are valuable is in enabling us to understanding the Munich agreement for more clearly than has been achieved by over half a century of academic study. Soon you will be speaking of “a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing”.

      • Chingford Man

        Well said, you. Shall we now declare war on Russia?

        • mikewaller

          Currently, I favour somewhere in the middle ground between that and folks running around in craven circles saying “We’re all equally guilty” of “We have no idea what really happened”. These are precisely the types Lenin described as “useful idiots”.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            You’re the type of useful idiot that sent troops to fight Lenin, immediately following the Great War. You lost and you emboldened the Sovs then, and you appear ready to do likewise today. History always repeats itself.

            • mikewaller

              We all have our own opinion but I think the closer political parallel is between folks like you and those clowns who gave comfort to Hitler, first when he marched into the Saar-land and next when he gobbled up a third of Czechoslovakia.

              The problem with the Russian Civil War was that the sheer bloody savagery of the Soviets coupled with the breathtaking duplicity of “war communism” made them more than a match for Western powers whose people had understandably lost their appetite for conflict. Since there is no greater appetite for that now, the one hope is to use economic sanctions to make Putin toe the line before his megalomania gets such a hold that war or craven appeasement become the only choices.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                As I say, history always repeats itself. Useful idiots like you will always appear, and make it so.

                • mikewaller

                  I note the quality of your contributions has yet to make it off first base.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …right back at ya’, laddie.

  • LG63

    It is indeed in Putin’s interest to fuel war and political instability on the Western borders of Russia, putting trade and economic routes in havoc, causing hundreds of refugees to flee into Russia and support anti-Russian propaganda in Ukraine.

    Very, very clever strategy indeed, in Russia’s best interests.

    It is only a coincidence that US is now aggressively lobbying its shale gas to the EU, just became to biggest oil producer in the world, assigned American Vice President’s son to the board of main Ukraine gas company.

    Nothing have changed from ancient times: cui prodest scelus is fecit.

  • pearlsandoysters

    This article is as far from truth as it can possibly be. The same stuff as conspiracy theories about CIA involvement with Trade Towers. Utter trash.

  • pearlsandoysters

    Fabulous! This article is straight from the conspiracy theories books! What’s really sad is that there are so many mere opinions poising as “journalism” nowadays that public deliberation can be easily called null and void. There’s no public sphere or fourth estate, just gossip & sheer ideology.

  • ButcombeMan

    Yes. Putin deliberately destabilized the region and Russians will reap the consequences, as will we. The EU has arguably helped the process.

    Bush and Blair destabilized Iraq, We and Iraq, reap the consequences.

    Several nations cooperated to destabilize Libya, we encouraged destabilization in Egypt, some people wanted to help the process along in Syria.

    The consistent lesson surely is, that once the process of destabilization has started, no one at all can predict the outcome.

    That includes a highly intelligent and well trained KGB Officer. Probably most of all, such a person.

    • pearlsandoysters

      I assume we deal with modernization at whatever cost in case of There’s an excellent book by Michael Mann on the subject.

    • Kitty MLB

      I also believe Putin has potentially threatened Obama of
      the possibility of another Cold War..not sure about the truth
      of that.

      • Chris Morriss

        Russia is a much weaker state now than in the days when it was a great empire in the cold war. It could only lose if it was foolish enough to start another one in a fit of pique. The “west” should be more forceful in telling Putin that he has already gone too far.

        • Kitty MLB

          Thank you. We just need someone now to stand up to Putin
          and won’t be Obama or Merkel, the west generally needs to
          be more forceful also. We appear to have lost our teeth, metaphorically speaking.

          • Lady Magdalene

            Highly relieved to hear Philip Hammond say on Marr that the UK will not be getting involved militarily.

            • Kitty MLB

              Indeed. he’s known for not making too many fireworks. Quiet
              and level- headed, they say.

          • pointlesswasteoftime

            We appear to have lost our energy supplles. This realpolitik in action.

    • McRobbie

      Not very well written..seems as though you have had a Russian education in writing English?

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