#MH17 Brought Down by Ukrainian Military Aircraft. The BBC Refutes its Own Lies?


Global Research

The BBC has announced the release of a documentary on the crash of Malaysian airlines MH17, which will be broadcast on May 3″:

“On 17 July 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed, killing 298 passengers in the worst air disaster for two decades.

Alarmingly, the devastating crash occurred just four months after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. Is this just a coincidence? The cause of the crash has been focus of a host of conspiracy theories, many of which involve Russia, Ukraine and the CIA.

The official investigation report into MH17 flight argues that only a powerful ground-to-air missile could be responsible. Yet, there are eyewitness accounts of other aircrafts seen flying next to MH17 close to impact. To further fuel the conspiracies, Russia and Ukraine blame each other but both countries are unable to provide all the critical radar data from that day.

Family members do not trust the official explanations and there is a long way to go to bring about justice for the victims. This programme tracks down eye witnesses, and speaks with secret intelligence sources to try to sort fact from fiction. Don’t miss this compelling Conspiracy Files unfold to see whether the mystery can be unravelled.” ( See BBC notice here),

In an unusual twist, the description of the BBC documentary not only goes against the official narrative, it also refutes the BBC’s own July 2014 coverage of the downing of MH17.

According to Australia News in a review of the forthcoming BBC production, the Kiev regime is identified as the culprit:

A CONTROVERSIAL new documentary will investigate claims that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a Ukraine fighter jet, instead of a Russian missile. In a new BBC documentary titled ‘The Conspiracy Files: Who Shot Down MH17?’, eyewitnesses will share their accounts of how they saw the aircraft being downed by a nearby fighter jet.

“There are eyewitness accounts of other aircraft seen flying next to MH17 close to impact,” a statement from the BBC said.

 

The report also suggests that:

“The documentary is also set to analyse the possibility that the downing of the jet was a CIA plot to pin the blame on Russia.”

 

The geopolitical implications of these statements are potentially dynamite.

They put Washington on the defensive.

What can we expect from the US State Department and John Kerry:

“Sorry, President Putin, we made a mistake, yeah it was Ukraine which brought down the aircraft and we blamed the Russians, sorry for the economic sanctions, we got our countries mixed up”

Highly unlikely.

Already Britain’s tabloids including the BBC are saying there are SEVERAL THEORIES. According to the Daily Mail, the allegation concerning the role of the CIA:

“was put forward by private investigator, Sergey Sokolov, who claimed that the CIA were helped by the Ukrainian secret service and Dutch security service, to place the bombs on the plane in Holland.”

He said: ‘This terrorist act was a pretext for firstly intensifying sanctions on Russia, secondly to show the world that Russia is a barbarian country and thirdly to strengthen the presence of Nato in Europe, particularly Ukraine.’

In all likelihood, Washington will either remain mum or casually dismiss the BBC documentary, while upholding its ongoing hostility towards Moscow.

While the BBC has announced that the documentary refutes the official story as contained in the latest Dutch safety board report (i.e to the effect that MH17 was brought down by a BUK surface to air missile), we will have to wait for the release on May 3, BBC TV Channel 2 to get the full story, including the innuendos. the conspiracy theories, etc.

It is worth noting that according to former UN human rights chief Navi Pillay in a July 2014 statement “the downing of the Malaysia Airines jet could constitute a war crime”.

Analysis

At Global Research, from the outset we have documented extensively the downing of MH17 by a military aircraft. It is important that the underlying record be fully assessed.

Our archive of 100+ Global Research articles and reports on the downing of MH17. confirms that Malaysian Airlines MH17 was not brought down by a BUK surface to air missile. It was brought down by a military aircraft. This was confirmed in our early reports shortly after the downing of MH17.

Read further…

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Support #MH17 Truth


Global Research

“Support MH17 Truth”: OSCE Monitors Identify “Shrapnel and Machine Gun-Like Holes” indicating Shelling. No Evidence of a Missile Attack. Shot Down by a Military Aircraft

The evidence presented in this article first published by GR on July 31, 2014 (updated in September 2014) contradicts the recently released report of the Dutch Safety Board.

The evidence confirms that MH17 was not brought down by a surface to air missile.

The West accuses Russia and the Donbass separatists of having brought down the plane with a surface to air missile. IT’S A LIE. 

The evidence available in September 2014 –including a BBC report which the BBC decided to suppress– refutes the official story.

As we recall, the alleged role of Russia in bringing down the plane was used as a justification to implement the economic sanctions regime against Moscow. 

Michel Chossudovsky, July 29, 2015, minor update October 18,  2015


According to the report of German pilot and airlines expert Peter Haisenko, the MH17 Boeing 777 was not brought down by a missile.

What he observed from the available photos were perforations of the cockpit: 

 The facts speak clear and loud and are beyond the realm of speculation: The cockpit shows traces of shelling! You can see the entry and exit holes. The edge of a portion of the holes is bent inwards. These are the smaller holes, round and clean, showing the entry points most likely that of a 30 millimeter caliber projectile. (Revelations of German Pilot: Shocking Analysis of the “Shooting Down” of Malaysian MH17. “Aircraft Was Not Hit by a Missile”Global Research, July 30, 2014)

mh17 shrapnels

Based on detailed analysis Peter Haisenko reached  the conclusion that the MH17 was not downed by a missile attack:

This aircraft was not hit by a missile in the central portion. The destruction is limited to the cockpit area. Now you have to factor in that this part is constructed of specially reinforced material

The OSCE Mission

It is worth noting that the initial statements by OSCE observers (July 31) broadly confirm the findings of Peter Haisenko:

Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe reported that shrapnel-like holes were found in two separate pieces of the fuselage of the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines aircraft that was believed to have been downed by a missile in eastern Ukraine.

Michael Bociurkiw of the OSCE group of monitors at his daily briefing described part of the plane’s fuselage dotted with “shrapnel-like, almost machine gun-like holes.” He said the damage was inspected by Malaysian aviation-security officials .(Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2014)

The monitoring OSCE team has not found evidence of a missile fired from the ground as conveyed by official White House statements. As we recall, the US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power stated –pointing a finger at Russia– that the Malaysian MH17 plane was “likely downed by a surface-to-air missile operated from a separatist-held location”:

The team of international investigators with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are uncertain if the missile used was fired from the ground as US military experts have previously suggested, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported. (Malay Mail online, emphasis added)

The initial OSCE findings tend to dispel the claim that a BUK missile system brought down the plane.

Evidently, inasmuch as the perforations are attributable to shelling, a shelling operation conducted from the ground could not have brought down an aircraft traveling above 30,000 feet.

Ukraine Su-25 military aircraft within proximity of MH17

SU25

Peter Haisenko’s study is corroborated by the Russian Ministry of Defense which pointed to a Ukrainian Su-25 jet in the flight corridor of the MH17, within proximity of the plane.

Ironically, the presence of a military aircraft is also confirmed by a BBC  report conducted at the crash site on July 23.

All the eyewitnesses  interviewed by the BBC confirmed the presence of a Ukrainian military aircraft flying within proximity of Malaysian Airlines MH17 at the time that it was shot down: 

Eyewitness #1: There were two explosions in the air. And this is how it broke apart. And [the fragments] blew apart like this, to the sides. And when …

Eyewitness #2: … And there was another aircraft, a military one, beside it. Everybody saw it.

Eyewitness #1: Yes, yes. It was flying under it, because it could be seen. It was proceeding underneath, below the civilian one.

Eyewitness #3: There were sounds of an explosion. But they were in the sky. They came from the sky. Then this plane made a sharp turn-around like this. It changed its trajectory and headed in that direction [indicating the direction with her hands].

The original BBC Video Report published by BBC Russian Service on July 23, 2014 has since been removed from the BBC archive.

In a bitter irony, The BBC is censoring its own news productions.

This is the BBC Report, still available on Youtube

Media Spin

The media has reported that a surface to air missile was indeed fired and exploded before reaching its target.  It was not the missile that brought down the plane, it was the shrapnel resulting from the missile explosion (prior to reaching the plane) which punctured the plane and then led to a loss of pressure.

According to Ukraine’s National security spokesman Andriy Lysenko in a contradictory statement, the MH17 aircraft “suffered massive explosive decompression after being hit by a shrapnel missile.”  (See IBT, Australia)

In an utterly absurd report, the BBC quoting the official Ukraine statement  says that:

The downed Malaysia Airlines jet in eastern Ukraine suffered an explosive loss of pressure after it was punctured by shrapnel from a missile.

They say the information came from the plane’s flight data recorders, which are being analysed by British experts.

However, it remains unclear who fired a missile, with pro-Russia rebels and Ukraine blaming each other.

Many of the 298 people killed on board flight MH17 were from the Netherlands.

Dutch investigators leading the inquiry into the crash have refused to comment on the Ukrainian claims.

“Machine Gun Like Holes”

machine gun holes

The shrapnel marks should be distinguished from the small entry and exit holes “most likely that of a 30 millimeter caliber projectile” fired from a military aircraft. These holes could not have been caused by a missile explosion as hinted by the MSM.

While the MSN is saying that the “shrapnel like holes” can be caused by a missile (see BBC report above), the OSCE has confirmed the existence of what it describes as “machine gun like holes”, without however acknowledging that these cannot be caused by a missile.

In this regard, the GSh-302 firing gun operated by an Su-25 is able to fire 3000 rpm which explains the numerous entry and exit holes.

According to the findings of Peter Haisenko:

If we now consider the armament of a typical SU 25 we learn this: It is equipped with a double-barreled 30-mm gun, type GSh-302 / AO-17A, equipped with: a 250 round magazine of anti-tank incendiary shells and splinter-explosive shells (dum-dum), arranged in alternating order. The cockpit of the MH 017 has evidently been fired at from both sides: the entry and exit holes are found on the same fragment of it’s cockpit segment (op cit)

The accusations directed against Russia including the sanctions regime imposed by Washington are based on a lie.

The evidence does not support the official US narrative to the effect that the MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile system operated by the DPR militia.

What next? More media disinformation, more lies?

See:

Revelations of German Pilot: Shocking Analysis of the “Shooting Down” of Malaysian MH17. “Aircraft Was Not Hit by a Missile” By Peter Haisenko, July 30, 2014

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The #MH17 Pilot’s Corpse: More on the Cover-Up


Even His Family Was Blocked from It. Here’s Why.


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It might be the decisive piece of evidence proving who and what and how and why the MH17 Malaysian airliner over the conflict zone in Ukraine on 17 July 2014 was shot down, but the pilot’s corpse has been hidden even from the people who have the most right to see it.

MH17The corpse of the pilot of the MH17 Malaysian airliner might contain in it bullets, or bullet-residues, that can prove a Ukrainian military jet intentionally fired into the pilot; or else it might contain only missile-shrapnel, which would be consistent only with the plane’s having been erroneously shot down by a ground-based missile such as the Ukrainian government says it was; but the Malaysian government has prohibited anyone to see it — not even his relatives, who are still trying to find out how and who murdered their loved-one and the 297 other people who were aboard that tragic plane on July 17th of 2014.

Until recently, the Malaysian government itself had had no access to the coroner’s report on the corpse: it was done by a Dutch coroner, in Holland.

The corpse has been hidden from everyone, and the Malaysian Government isn’t even being permitted, by the other four nations on the official investigatory commission, to say anything to anyone outside the commission — not even to the pilot’s family. The coroner’s report on the pilot’s body exists, but has been seen by no one outside of the now 5-nation investigatory commission. (The commission was originally just Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, and Ukraine, but Malaysia was recently added. The Dutch government heads the commission. The Dutch government had helped to install the current Ukrainian government, whose Air Force is a suspect in having possibly shot down the MH17 airliner. Netherlands, along with the U.S., and also along with George Soros’s International Renaissance Foundation, had funded Hromadske TV, which propagandized heavily for forcing the democratically elected Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, to leave his Presidency before the next election would be held, and which then propagandized Ukrainians heavily for the ethnic cleansing operation to get rid of the residents in Ukraine’s Donbass, the only area of Ukraine that had voted 90%+ for Yanukovych. So: the Dutch government had actually helped to install the current Ukrainian government — which might have shot down the MH17, and yet which is a member of the official ‘investigation.’)

This cover-up of what might be the decisive evidence in the MH17 case was revealed when Russian Television sent reporters last month to interview the pilot’s family.

See the brief Russian documentary interviewing the pilot’s wife here:

The pilot’s wife says, at 5:42 on the video, “We were not allowed to open” the coffin. Q: “Not allowed by who?” A: “Not allowed by the [Malaysian] government.” The existing four-nation team had required the Malaysian government to sign onto their secret 8 August 2014 agreement, in order for Malaysia to be allowed to join. This agreement says that Ukraine will have a veto-power over any report that the commission produces — and this veto-power is the reason why the ‘investigation’ continues dragging on. The now-five nation commission can’t yet produce a report that the Ukrainian government will sign onto.

Then, the interviewer in the documentary says that she had taken her camera-crew to the crash site two months after the plane’s downing, and says that they saw there, still in the field of grass, the pilot’s chair. This video at 6:21 shows it — its bare frame, because the padding had blown off. Here is the pilot’s chair:

pilot's chair

Those 30 mm round holes through it are bullet holes; they’re definitely not shrapnel holes, which are larger and very irregular (not at all round). Furthermore, the bullet-holes through the side-panel of the chair’s backrest are fairly head-on instead of at any steep angle; and, so, might have been from stray bullets among the gunner’s fusillade into the left cockpit-side that was focused around the pilot’s belly-area. This chair backrest is thus yet further evidence suggesting that the pilot’s corpse had bullets, or bullet-residues, in it.

For more background on the pilot’s corpse’s evidentiary importance to solving this crucial mass-murder case, see this. For my reconstruction of the evidence, and of where it points to regarding guilt and motive, see this.

RUSSIA’S GAME ON THIS:

On July 29th, Russia vetoed at the United Nations an attempt by the U.S. and its allies to transfer the MH17 investigation to a rigged UN commission that would be set up in order to enable the guilt for the cover-up to be transferred away from Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, and Ukraine, the four nations that set up the existing official corrupt ‘investigation,’ whose ‘findings,’ at this late stage, would be believed only by outright suckers in the West — and that number of people might not be enough now to protect the actual guilty parties in the case. Russia wants the guilty parties to bear the blame not merely for the mass-murder itself, but for the subsequent and ongoing cover-ups. If the official ‘investigation’ finds Russia and/or the people of Donbass to have perpetrated it, then Russia will presumably make public, evidence, which it has thus far withheld just in case America and its allies turn out to be that brazen. So, Russia might even be eager for that to happen. The official ‘investigation’ has already announced that its conclusions will be made public in October. Until then, the commission is doing everything they can to forestall, if not prevent, a scandal-squared, from resulting. (For example: if anything, Richard Nixon’s Watergate cover-up doomed him even more than the Watergate-crime itself did.)

Here are some of the typical ways the Western press have reported on Russia’s veto:

Russia threatens UN veto on Julie Bishop’s MH17 tribunal

Why Russia Vetoed the MH17 Tribunal

Alternative solution needed for investigating loss of MH17: Russia’s Security Council veto means other means may be used to find those responsible

For some unexplained (though accepted-without-question by the Western press) reason, the Western powers aren’t satisfied for the official ‘investigating’ commission (though itself entirely Western until the recent addition of Malaysia to the commission)  to be blamed for producing the official ‘findings.’ Western leaders had wanted the UN to be blamed instead. Russia voted no on the Western proposal (which was fronted by Malaysia, on behalf of the West); China abstained (perhaps in the hope that the West won’t go after them, too).

The result is heightened fear within the official ‘investigating’ commission. On 3 August 2015, Russian Television headlined “Dutch Safety Board asks for RT’s assistance in MH17 probe after documentary,”and reported that:

The Dutch agency heading the international probe into Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine has contacted RT over the footage used in our recent documentary on the tragedy. RT’s documentary discovered fragments of the plane still in Donetsk.

The RT Documentary film, titled “MH17: A year without truth,” showed fragments of the crashed Boeing and pieces of luggage still scattered in the area at the time of filming. The RTD crew collected the parts of the plane’s exterior they spotted, bringing them to the administration of the nearby town of Petropavlovsk.

“With great interest we watched your documentary, ‘MH17: A year without truth,’” Dutch Safety Board spokesperson Sara Vernooij wrote to RT. “In this film, RT shows parts of the cockpit roof which were found near Petropavlivka. We would like to gather those pieces and bring them over to the Netherlands so the Dutch Safety Board can use them for the investigation and the reconstruction.”

On 17 July 2015, Rupert Murdoch’s Australian Courier-Mail published behind a paywall, and his The Australian republished open on their website, the complete transcript, plus video excerpts, of 17 minutes of video footage that had been taken by the independence fighters in Donbass at the wreckage site while the fires were still aflame on the fateful day, 17 July 2014; and this remarkable footage, never before made public, and published by a lifelong anti-Russian, shows the rebels’ “Commander,” trying to understand what he was seeing, and saying that there are two planes destroyed in the area, one a Malaysian airliner, and the other a Sukhoi fighter-jet, the latter from which had parachuted out five (or else two) people. Someone off-camera in the background is saying, “They decided to do it this way, to look like we have brought down the plane.” In other words: these people speculated immediately that the presence of the downed fighter-jet indicated that the Ukrainian authorities were trying to pin onto the rebels the blame for shooting down the airliner. Here is that link, and the relevant passages in the transcript itself:

http://www.news.com.au/national/full-transcript-russian-backed-rebels-ransack-the-wreckage-of-mh17-in-shocking-17-minute-video/story-e6frfkp9-1227444629703

“Full transcript: Russian-backed rebels ransack the wreckage of MH17 in shocking 17-minute video”

• JULY 17, 2015 12:01AM

• Video [just an excerpt, but the transcript is complete, only excerpts from which are reproduced here:]

Cmdr: Yes, there’s 2 planes taken down. We need the second.

Background: The second one is a civilian too?

Background: The fighter jet brought down this one, and our people brought down the fighter.

Background: They decided to do it this way, to look like we have brought down the plane. …

Cmdr: Let the firefighters extinguish the flames.

(Phone ringing)

Yes Kalyian. I understood you, but we’re already at the crash site. A passenger plane was brought down. They brought down the passenger plane and we brought down the fighter. …

Cmdr: The parachute jumpers are there.

Background: But there are two planes, from my understanding.

Background: And what’s the other one? A Sukhoi?

Cmdr: A Sukhoi.

The Sukhoi brought down the plane and we brought down the Sukhoi. …

I mean … the two pilots landed on parachutes.

(Phone ringing)

Cmdr: Yes, speak. I’m here, I’m in Grabovo. Right at the place. I’m not at the bird site, I’m in the field. I didn’t get there yet.

Cmdr: Five parachutes jumped off this plane. Five people jumped off this plane. … 

Of course, at that chaotic moment, everything was new, and so the assertions by those people (for example, as regards whether there were five parachutists, or only two) were uncertain. One early reader of this article, who looked at that video, made the following insightful observation: “Ironically, the Dutch wanted the piece of cockpit roof of the plane. That piece showed no bullet or shrapnel impacts – which in essence excludes a Buk missile. Buk missiles engage the target from above.” That’s entirely correct. So: Might the Dutch Safety Board actually have been trying to nail down a case so strong against Ukraine, as to now be negotiating with Ukraine Ukraine’s capitulation – the degree of guilt that Ukraine must sign onto in the final report? (Sort of like in a plea-bargain.) How could Obama (whose power stands above all of the nations on the commission) deal with such a situation?

CONCLUSION:

It’s like the way the West handled the 2008 economic crash: extend-and-pretend. While Western leaders transferred their aristocracy’s investment losses onto future taxpayers and pretended that the enormous governmental debts that resulted from these ‘bailouts’ to the aristocracy won’t destroy the economic future for the public, no one can yet say with certainty that they were lying about that. As ridiculous as extend-and-pretend seems to be, no appropriate historical precedent exists to show with any near certainty that no way will be found for it to ‘succeed.’ Russia has apparently placed its bet that it won’t succeed, in regards to the MH17 case.

Russia’s game seems to be: In the short term, we’ll suffer contempt from the West’s suckers while Western leaders keep on doing this; but, the longer the West’s leaders do that, the worse the outcome will be for those leaders.

So: will that game on Russia’s part work? The precedents don’t look favorable:

After George W. Bush kept lying about “Saddam’s WMD,” and became exposed simply by none being found, did his extend-and-pretend on the truth there hurt his Republican Party? They extended the lie so far that even today most Republicans still think that WMD did exist there in 2002 and 2003, and they even think that WMD were subsequently found there — though none of that was at all true. Even in 2015, 51% of Republicans agree with the statement, “American Forces Found an Active Weapons of Mass Destruction Program In Iraq.” (32% of Democrats do. 46% of Independents do.) (40% of Republicans said it was “Definitely not true” or “Probably not true,” but yet even they continued  to label themselves as “Republican,” even after their own Party had deceived them for so long on such a crucial matter, which had produced America’s invasion of Iraq.) Despite such brazen lying, the Republican Party still has as many suckers as before. (And, in the Democratic Party, Barack Obama is still overwhelmingly supported, despite being now exposed, to all open-minded people, to be the best asset the Republican Party has hadwithin recent decades.)

Extend-and-pretend can work for a very long time, indeed. Russia’s game could fail. But it might nonetheless be their best chance to win.

If the West’s game succeeds, then the entire world will fail as a result. If some power-group — here, the West’s aristocrats — can get away with lying, no matter how long they persist in it, they might as well own the entire world: the public are then just their slaves. The public might as well have no minds at all. Anyone who accepts a politician who has lied is either an aristocrat or an idiot. There are only a few thousand aristocrats in the world, but there are, it is clear, plenty of idiots — perhaps the majority of people — so that everyone else, the decent people, suffer constantly the many idiots who believe the few aristocrats. That combination is toxic to democracy.

The MH17 case started before the event itself, as Barack Obama’s desperate attempt to get the EU to agree to hiking the economic sanctions against Russia. It succeeded. Now the world is waiting to see what Obama’s long game is, and whether Putin’s long game (which is the only game he’s got) will beat it. Whatever the outcome, it’ll be interesting.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Kiev warning leaves trail of questions over Flight #MH17 for Dutch PM


IrishTimes

Dutch unwillingness to set out details of warning has led to growing suspicion

conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theories: the West says the killers were Russian-backed separatists while Moscow claims the missile was fired by Ukrainian air force. Photograph: Koen Van Weel/EPA

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Who knew what and when? The answers to those questions have turned many a chain of what seemed at first to be chaotic events into that worst nightmare of governments: an incipient conspiracy theory. Such is the danger with the downing of Flight MH17.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was blown out of the sky over eastern Ukraine on July 17th last with the loss of all 298 passengers and crew, en route to Kuala Lumpur. It was an unspeakable tragedy that nobody, bar the culprits, could have seen coming – or prevented.

But just how true is that? There will always be conspiracy theories that feed off catastrophes. In this case there has been no shortage of geopolitical controversy. The West says the killers were Russian- backed separatists. Moscow claims a Ukrainian air force jet fired the fatal missile.

Even the international investigation being led by the Dutch safety board has been called into question, specifically on the length of time it is taking and the fact that its preliminary report – inexplicably, in the view of many angry relatives – apportioned no blame.

Typically though, the problem for Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has come from another quarter – and the apparent confusion and a patent unwillingness to put all the information on the table have done nothing to dampen an ominous trickle of smoke.

Cargo aircraft shot down

It all began last month when it emerged that three days before the shooting down of Flight MH17 the authorities in Kiev summoned diplomats from a range of “friendly countries” to warn them a Ukrainian air force Antonov An-26 cargo aircraft had been shot down by separatists in eastern Ukraine .

This was significant for three reasons: because it was the first time that air traffic over Ukraine had been targeted; because the jet was flying at 21,325 feet; and because it was hit by a missile “more powerful” than a shoulder-launched missile – all of which rang alarm bells.

On the day of the An-26 crash, one western analyst on the ground in Ukraine described the attack as “potentially a game-changer”. Until then it had been understood the rebels did not have missiles capable of hitting a high-flying jet. That being so, the Kiev briefing was clearly important. A Dutch diplomat duly attended, and his assessment of the information shared there was sent immediately through the normal diplomatic channels to various government ministries in The Hague.

What happened then? The answer, to the understandable dismay of the MH17 relatives, appears to be “not much” – perhaps even nothing.

Risk warning

Asked if the government had warned the appropriate airlines about the increased risk of using Ukrainian airspace after the An-26 attack, foreign minister Bert Koenders and justice minister Ivo Opstelten replied it had not.

Their reasoning, they told deputies in a written statement, had been that in their view the purpose of the Kiev briefing was to alert the international community to Russian “meddling” in Ukraine – rather than to warn specifically about the increased danger in Ukrainian air space.

“The bringing down of a Ukrainian aircraft earlier in the day was mentioned by the Ukrainian minister of foreign affairs only as an example of an escalation in the conflict, and Russia’s role in it,” they said.

Asked if he would publish the diplomat’s report of the Kiev briefing, Koenders said it had not been an actual report, as such, more “diplomatic traffic”. Publishing it would set a damaging precedent.

Scenting blood, the opposition then switched their attention to the prime minister, formally requesting him to publish the diplomat’s report or assessment, in whatever form it was made. In a decision certain to fuel the conspiracy theories, Rutte has refused.

It won’t end there, of course. Already, Christian Democrat deputy Pieter Omtzigt has complained that all the explanations so far have been insufficient – and in the absence of the diplomat’s report, he is indisputably correct.

“It is clear that multiple ministries were aware of the security situation,” he told parliament. “I want to know exactly what information was shared – and with whom.”

Having got nowhere with the politicians, for the time being, the focus has switched now to the security services – whose regulator has waded in, saying he wants clarity on what they knew, if anything; who they told, if anyone; and what transpired, if anything.

It would be ironic indeed if the “spooks” were to emerge as the champions of Dutch transparency.

pray for mh370

 

home

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The cabal pressing for war


RT

Le Pen says Washington attempting to start ‘war in Europe’

Le Pen

Marine Le Pen (Reuters / Charles Platiau)

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The leader of France’s rightwing Front National (FN), Marine Le Pen, has called Brussels “American lackeys” regarding the Ukraine policy. She further accused Washington of attempting to start a “war in Europe” and expand NATO towards Russia’s borders.

Crisis in Ukraine is ‘all EU’s fault’ – France’s Marine Le Pen

“European capitals do not have the wisdom to refuse to be dependent on US positions on Ukraine,” Le Pen told French journalists on Sunday.

“Regarding Ukraine, we behave like American lackeys,” she said, before warning that “the aim of the Americans is to start a war in Europe to push NATO to the Russian border.”

She went on to accuse European leaders of turning a blind eye to the Ukrainian government’s “bombing of civilians,” adding that both those in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine believed the country should be federalized.

Le Pen has regularly criticized the EU for its policy on Ukraine and its alleged lack of independence from Washington.

In September, she told Le Monde that the ongoing crisis in Ukraine is “all the European Union’s fault,” saying Brussels had “blackmailed the country to choose between Europe and Russia.”

In June, she similarly told RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze that there were “no independent states left in Europe,” saying many of their foreign policy mistakes in recent times had been made “under Washington’s influence.”

EU lost its foreign policy sovereignty to US – Marine Le Pen to RT

Her words echoed statements by former French Prime minister Francois Fillon, who told the public broadcaster France 5 on Sunday that the United States was attempting to “unleash a war in Europe, which would end in catastrophe.” He added that once a war broke out, the US would attempt to distance itself from it.

“Total war caused [by the] Ukrainian conflict is absolutely unacceptable. And really there is no reason for it,” he said.

Fillon accused the US of suffering from “blindness” and an oversimplified approach to reality, which saw them constantly attempting to “solve all problems by force.”

He further said Washington was always attempting to force others to join its camp, a mistaken approach given that a country like Ukraine has ties to both Europe and Russia.

Fillon

Francois Fillon (Reuters / Philippe Wojazer)

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“The Americans have made one mistake after another and today they have simply been discredited,” said Fillon.

He added that attempting to punish Russia with sanctions was like trying to intimidate a bear with a pin prick. He further commended recent efforts by French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to open a dialogue with Moscow.

“The West is trying to imagine today Russia as a threat to the whole world, while deliberately forgetting that Russia is a large and truly a great country, not to mention a nuclear power,” he said.

“Humiliating Russia is simply unacceptable.”

Also on Saturday, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that Europe was part of “a common civilization with Russia,” saying they needed to avoid conflict on the continent.

“The interests of the Americans with the Russians are not the interests of Europe and Russia,” he said, adding that “we do not want the revival of a Cold War between Europe and Russia.”

Sarkozy: Crimea cannot be blamed for joining Russia

Related:

Lavrov : European security undermined by US and its allies.
US escalated Ukraine crisis at every stage & blamed Russia

http://rt.com/news/230219-lavrov-munich-speech-ukraine/

If You are Slaves of London and Wall Street, You Will Have Global War!

https://socioecohistory.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/if-you-are-slaves-of-london-and-wall-street-you-will-have-global-war/

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Hollande: If lasting Ukraine peace not found ‘scenario is war’


RT

Hollande

French President Francois Hollande said the peace initiative he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have come up with is probably the last ditch attempt to end the war in Ukraine.

“I think this is one of the last chances, that’s why we took this initiative,” Hollande said, as cited by Reuters.

“If we don’t find not just a compromise but a lasting peace agreement, we know perfectly well what the scenario will be. It has a name, it’s called war,” he added.

Hollande was speaking to journalists in the city of Tulle in central France.

Earlier on Saturday, Angela Merkel said at the Munich Security Conference she believed the “Ukrainian crisis cannot be resolved militarily.”

Merkel is sure the Franco-German initiative was worth undertaking even if so far its results are unclear.

READ MORE: Hopes for breakthrough: Moscow talks on Ukraine ‘constructive,’ joint document ‘possible’

“After the talks yesterday in Moscow that the French president and I had, it is uncertain if it will succeed,” she said as cited by Reuters. “But it is in my view and the French president’s view definitely worth trying. We owe it to the people affected in Ukraine, at the very least.”

Merkel has urged the conference participants to focus on finding a peaceful solution to the crisis.

“I understand the debate [on weapons supplies] but I believe that more weapons will not lead to the progress Ukraine needs. I really doubt that,” she said, according to Reuters.

Related:

Lavrov: US escalated Ukraine crisis at every stage & blamed Russia

 

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Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault


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…an interesting read, but bear in mind this analysis/diagnosis [anti-thesis] is from the purview of the CFR which the crisis [thesis] in most probabilities originated from and initiated. Thus the solution offered herein could well be the next move [synthesis] in the Hegelian process [Dialectic]?

The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin

By John J. Mearsheimer

Ukraine

A man takes a picture as he stands on a Soviet-style star re-touched with blue paint so that it resembles the Ukrainian flag, Moscow, August 20, 2014. (Maxim Shemetov / Courtesy Reuters)

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According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe. In this view, the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 merely provided a pretext for Putin’s decision to order Russian forces to seize part of Ukraine.

But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West. At the same time, the EU’s expansion eastward and the West’s backing of the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine — beginning with the Orange Revolution in 2004 — were critical elements, too. Since the mid-1990s, Russian leaders have adamantly opposed NATO enlargement, and in recent years, they have made it clear that they would not stand by while their strategically important neighbor turned into a Western bastion. For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president — which he rightly labeled a “coup” — was the final straw. He responded by taking Crimea, a peninsula he feared would host a NATO naval base, and working to destabilize Ukraine until it abandoned its efforts to join the West.

Putin’s pushback should have come as no surprise. After all, the West had been moving into Russia’s backyard and threatening its core strategic interests, a point Putin made emphatically and repeatedly. Elites in the United States and Europe have been blindsided by events only because they subscribe to a flawed view of international politics. They tend to believe that the logic of realism holds little relevance in the twenty-first century and that Europe can be kept whole and free on the basis of such liberal principles as the rule of law, economic interdependence, and democracy.

But this grand scheme went awry in Ukraine. The crisis there shows that realpolitik remains relevant — and states that ignore it do so at their own peril. U.S. and European leaders blundered in attempting to turn Ukraine into a Western stronghold on Russia’s border. Now that the consequences have been laid bare, it would be an even greater mistake to continue this misbegotten policy.

U.S. and European leaders blundered in attempting to turn Ukraine into a Western stronghold on Russia’s border.

THE WESTERN AFFRONT

As the Cold War came to a close, Soviet leaders preferred that U.S. forces remain in Europe and NATO stay intact, an arrangement they thought would keep a reunified Germany pacified. But they and their Russian successors did not want NATO to grow any larger and assumed that Western diplomats understood their concerns. The Clinton administration evidently thought otherwise, and in the mid-1990s, it began pushing for NATO to expand.

The first round of enlargement took place in 1999 and brought in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. The second occurred in 2004; it included Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Moscow complained bitterly from the start. During NATO’s 1995 bombing campaign against the Bosnian Serbs, for example, Russian President Boris Yeltsin said, “This is the first sign of what could happen when NATO comes right up to the Russian Federation’s borders. … The flame of war could burst out across the whole of Europe.” But the Russians were too weak at the time to derail NATO’s eastward movement — which, at any rate, did not look so threatening, since none of the new members shared a border with Russia, save for the tiny Baltic countries.

Then NATO began looking further east. At its April 2008 summit in Bucharest, the alliance considered admitting Georgia and Ukraine. The George W. Bush administration supported doing so, but France and Germany opposed the move for fear that it would unduly antagonize Russia. In the end, NATO’s members reached a compromise: the alliance did not begin the formal process leading to membership, but it issued a statement endorsing the aspirations of Georgia and Ukraine and boldly declaring, “These countries will become members of NATO.”

Moscow, however, did not see the outcome as much of a compromise. Alexander Grushko, then Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said, “Georgia’s and Ukraine’s membership in the alliance is a huge strategic mistake which would have most serious consequences for pan-European security.” Putin maintained that admitting those two countries to NATO would represent a “direct threat” to Russia. One Russian newspaper reported that Putin, while speaking with Bush, “very transparently hinted that if Ukraine was accepted into NATO, it would cease to exist.”

Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August 2008 should have dispelled any remaining doubts about Putin’s determination to prevent Georgia and Ukraine from joining NATO. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who was deeply committed to bringing his country into NATO, had decided in the summer of 2008 to reincorporate two separatist regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But Putin sought to keep Georgia weak and divided — and out of NATO. After fighting broke out between the Georgian government and South Ossetian separatists, Russian forces took control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Moscow had made its point. Yet despite this clear warning, NATO never publicly abandoned its goal of bringing Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance. And NATO expansion continued marching forward, with Albania and Croatia becoming members in 2009.

The EU, too, has been marching eastward. In May 2008, it unveiled its Eastern Partnership initiative, a program to foster prosperity in such countries as Ukraine and integrate them into the EU economy. Not surprisingly, Russian leaders view the plan as hostile to their country’s interests. This past February, before Yanukovych was forced from office, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the EU of trying to create a “sphere of influence” in eastern Europe. In the eyes of Russian leaders, EU expansion is a stalking horse for NATO expansion.

The West’s final tool for peeling Kiev away from Moscow has been its efforts to spread Western values and promote democracy in Ukraine and other post-Soviet states, a plan that often entails funding pro-Western individuals and organizations. Victoria Nuland, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, estimated in December 2013 that the United States had invested more than $5 billion since 1991 to help Ukraine achieve “the future it deserves.” As part of that effort, the U.S. government has bankrolled the National Endowment for Democracy. The nonprofit foundation has funded more than 60 projects aimed at promoting civil society in Ukraine, and the NED’s president, Carl Gershman, has called that country “the biggest prize.” After Yanukovych won Ukraine’s presidential election in February 2010, the NED decided he was undermining its goals, and so it stepped up its efforts to support the opposition and strengthen the country’s democratic institutions.

When Russian leaders look at Western social engineering in Ukraine, they worry that their country might be next. And such fears are hardly groundless. In September 2013, Gershman wrote in The Washington Post, “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents.” He added: “Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

CREATING A CRISIS

Imagine the American outrage if China built an impressive military alliance and tried to include Canada and Mexico.

The West’s triple package of policies — NATO enlargement, EU expansion, and democracy promotion — added fuel to a fire waiting to ignite. The spark came in November 2013, when Yanukovych rejected a major economic deal he had been negotiating with the EU and decided to accept a $15 billion Russian counteroffer instead. That decision gave rise to antigovernment demonstrations that escalated over the following three months and that by mid-February had led to the deaths of some one hundred protesters. Western emissaries hurriedly flew to Kiev to resolve the crisis. On February 21, the government and the opposition struck a deal that allowed Yanukovych to stay in power until new elections were held. But it immediately fell apart, and Yanukovych fled to Russia the next day. The new government in Kiev was pro-Western and anti-Russian to the core, and it contained four high-ranking members who could legitimately be labeled neofascists.

Although the full extent of U.S. involvement has not yet come to light, it is clear that Washington backed the coup. Nuland and Republican Senator John McCain participated in antigovernment demonstrations, and Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, proclaimed after Yanukovych’s toppling that it was “a day for the history books.” As a leaked telephone recording revealed, Nuland had advocated regime change and wanted the Ukrainian politician Arseniy Yatsenyuk to become prime minister in the new government, which he did. No wonder Russians of all persuasions think the West played a role in Yanukovych’s ouster.

For Putin, the time to act against Ukraine and the West had arrived. Shortly after February 22, he ordered Russian forces to take Crimea from Ukraine, and soon after that, he incorporated it into Russia. The task proved relatively easy, thanks to the thousands of Russian troops already stationed at a naval base in the Crimean port of Sevastopol. Crimea also made for an easy target since ethnic Russians compose roughly 60 percent of its population. Most of them wanted out of Ukraine.

Next, Putin put massive pressure on the new government in Kiev to discourage it from siding with the West against Moscow, making it clear that he would wreck Ukraine as a functioning state before he would allow it to become a Western stronghold on Russia’s doorstep. Toward that end, he has provided advisers, arms, and diplomatic support to the Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, who are pushing the country toward civil war. He has massed a large army on the Ukrainian border, threatening to invade if the government cracks down on the rebels. And he has sharply raised the price of the natural gas Russia sells to Ukraine and demanded payment for past exports. Putin is playing hardball.

THE DIAGNOSIS

Putin’s actions should be easy to comprehend. A huge expanse of flat land that Napoleonic France, imperial Germany, and Nazi Germany all crossed to strike at Russia itself, Ukraine serves as a buffer state of enormous strategic importance to Russia. No Russian leader would tolerate a military alliance that was Moscow’s mortal enemy until recently moving into Ukraine. Nor would any Russian leader stand idly by while the West helped install a government there that was determined to integrate Ukraine into the West.

Washington may not like Moscow’s position, but it should understand the logic behind it. This is Geopolitics 101: great powers are always sensitive to potential threats near their home territory. After all, the United States does not tolerate distant great powers deploying military forces anywhere in the Western Hemisphere, much less on its borders. Imagine the outrage in Washington if China built an impressive military alliance and tried to include Canada and Mexico in it. Logic aside, Russian leaders have told their Western counterparts on many occasions that they consider NATO expansion into Georgia and Ukraine unacceptable, along with any effort to turn those countries against Russia — a message that the 2008 Russian-Georgian war also made crystal clear.

Officials from the United States and its European allies contend that they tried hard to assuage Russian fears and that Moscow should understand that NATO has no designs on Russia. In addition to continually denying that its expansion was aimed at containing Russia, the alliance has never permanently deployed military forces in its new member states. In 2002, it even created a body called the NATO-Russia Council in an effort to foster cooperation. To further mollify Russia, the United States announced in 2009 that it would deploy its new missile defense system on warships in European waters, at least initially, rather than on Czech or Polish territory. But none of these measures worked; the Russians remained steadfastly opposed to NATO enlargement, especially into Georgia and Ukraine. And it is the Russians, not the West, who ultimately get to decide what counts as a threat to them.

To understand why the West, especially the United States, failed to understand that its Ukraine policy was laying the groundwork for a major clash with Russia, one must go back to the mid-1990s, when the Clinton administration began advocating NATO expansion. Pundits advanced a variety of arguments for and against enlargement, but there was no consensus on what to do. Most eastern European émigrés in the United States and their relatives, for example, strongly supported expansion, because they wanted NATO to protect such countries as Hungary and Poland. A few realists also favored the policy because they thought Russia still needed to be contained.

But most realists opposed expansion, in the belief that a declining great power with an aging population and a one-dimensional economy did not in fact need to be contained. And they feared that enlargement would only give Moscow an incentive to cause trouble in eastern Europe. The U.S. diplomat George Kennan articulated this perspective in a 1998 interview, shortly after the U.S. Senate approved the first round of NATO expansion. “I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies,” he said. “I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anyone else.”

The United States and its allies should abandon their plan to westernize Ukraine and instead aim to make it a neutral buffer.

Most liberals, on the other hand, favored enlargement, including many key members of the Clinton administration. They believed that the end of the Cold War had fundamentally transformed international politics and that a new, postnational order had replaced the realist logic that used to govern Europe. The United States was not only the “indispensable nation,” as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright put it; it was also a benign hegemon and thus unlikely to be viewed as a threat in Moscow. The aim, in essence, was to make the entire continent look like western Europe.

And so the United States and its allies sought to promote democracy in the countries of eastern Europe, increase economic interdependence among them, and embed them in international institutions. Having won the debate in the United States, liberals had little difficulty convincing their European allies to support NATO enlargement. After all, given the EU’s past achievements, Europeans were even more wedded than Americans to the idea that geopolitics no longer mattered and that an all-inclusive liberal order could maintain peace in Europe.

So thoroughly did liberals come to dominate the discourse about European security during the first decade of this century that even as the alliance adopted an open-door policy of growth, NATO expansion faced little realist opposition. The liberal worldview is now accepted dogma among U.S. officials. In March, for example, President Barack Obama delivered a speech about Ukraine in which he talked repeatedly about “the ideals” that motivate Western policy and how those ideals “have often been threatened by an older, more traditional view of power.” Secretary of State John Kerry’s response to the Crimea crisis reflected this same perspective: “You just don’t in the twenty-first century behave in nineteenth-century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext.”

In essence, the two sides have been operating with different playbooks: Putin and his compatriots have been thinking and acting according to realist dictates, whereas their Western counterparts have been adhering to liberal ideas about international politics. The result is that the United States and its allies unknowingly provoked a major crisis over Ukraine.

BLAME GAME

In that same 1998 interview, Kennan predicted that NATO expansion would provoke a crisis, after which the proponents of expansion would “say that we always told you that is how the Russians are.” As if on cue, most Western officials have portrayed Putin as the real culprit in the Ukraine predicament. In March, according to The New York Times, German Chancellor Angela Merkel implied that Putin was irrational, telling Obama that he was “in another world.” Although Putin no doubt has autocratic tendencies, no evidence supports the charge that he is mentally unbalanced. On the contrary: he is a first-class strategist who should be feared and respected by anyone challenging him on foreign policy.

Other analysts allege, more plausibly, that Putin regrets the demise of the Soviet Union and is determined to reverse it by expanding Russia’s borders. According to this interpretation, Putin, having taken Crimea, is now testing the waters to see if the time is right to conquer Ukraine, or at least its eastern part, and he will eventually behave aggressively toward other countries in Russia’s neighborhood. For some in this camp, Putin represents a modern-day Adolf Hitler, and striking any kind of deal with him would repeat the mistake of Munich. Thus, NATO must admit Georgia and Ukraine to contain Russia before it dominates its neighbors and threatens western Europe.

This argument falls apart on close inspection. If Putin were committed to creating a greater Russia, signs of his intentions would almost certainly have arisen before February 22. But there is virtually no evidence that he was bent on taking Crimea, much less any other territory in Ukraine, before that date. Even Western leaders who supported NATO expansion were not doing so out of a fear that Russia was about to use military force. Putin’s actions in Crimea took them by complete surprise and appear to have been a spontaneous reaction to Yanukovych’s ouster. Right afterward, even Putin said he opposed Crimean secession, before quickly changing his mind.

Besides, even if it wanted to, Russia lacks the capability to easily conquer and annex eastern Ukraine, much less the entire country. Roughly 15 million people — one-third of Ukraine’s population — live between the Dnieper River, which bisects the country, and the Russian border. An overwhelming majority of those people want to remain part of Ukraine and would surely resist a Russian occupation. Furthermore, Russia’s mediocre army, which shows few signs of turning into a modern Wehrmacht, would have little chance of pacifying all of Ukraine. Moscow is also poorly positioned to pay for a costly occupation; its weak economy would suffer even more in the face of the resulting sanctions.

But even if Russia did boast a powerful military machine and an impressive economy, it would still probably prove unable to successfully occupy Ukraine. One need only consider the Soviet and U.S. experiences in Afghanistan, the U.S. experiences in Vietnam and Iraq, and the Russian experience in Chechnya to be reminded that military occupations usually end badly. Putin surely understands that trying to subdue Ukraine would be like swallowing a porcupine. His response to events there has been defensive, not offensive.

A WAY OUT

Given that most Western leaders continue to deny that Putin’s behavior might be motivated by legitimate security concerns, it is unsurprising that they have tried to modify it by doubling down on their existing policies and have punished Russia to deter further aggression. Although Kerry has maintained that “all options are on the table,” neither the United States nor its NATO allies are prepared to use force to defend Ukraine. The West is relying instead on economic sanctions to coerce Russia into ending its support for the insurrection in eastern Ukraine. In July, the United States and the EU put in place their third round of limited sanctions, targeting mainly high-level individuals closely tied to the Russian government and some high-profile banks, energy companies, and defense firms. They also threatened to unleash another, tougher round of sanctions, aimed at whole sectors of the Russian economy.

Such measures will have little effect. Harsh sanctions are likely off the table anyway; western European countries, especially Germany, have resisted imposing them for fear that Russia might retaliate and cause serious economic damage within the EU. But even if the United States could convince its allies to enact tough measures, Putin would probably not alter his decision-making. History shows that countries will absorb enormous amounts of punishment in order to protect their core strategic interests. There is no reason to think Russia represents an exception to this rule.

Western leaders have also clung to the provocative policies that precipitated the crisis in the first place. In April, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden met with Ukrainian legislators and told them, “This is a second opportunity to make good on the original promise made by the Orange Revolution.” John Brennan, the director of the CIA, did not help things when, that same month, he visited Kiev on a trip the White House said was aimed at improving security cooperation with the Ukrainian government.

The EU, meanwhile, has continued to push its Eastern Partnership. In March, José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, summarized EU thinking on Ukraine, saying, “We have a debt, a duty of solidarity with that country, and we will work to have them as close as possible to us.” And sure enough, on June 27, the EU and Ukraine signed the economic agreement that Yanukovych had fatefully rejected seven months earlier. Also in June, at a meeting of NATO members’ foreign ministers, it was agreed that the alliance would remain open to new members, although the foreign ministers refrained from mentioning Ukraine by name. “No third country has a veto over NATO enlargement,” announced Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO’s secretary-general. The foreign ministers also agreed to support various measures to improve Ukraine’s military capabilities in such areas as command and control, logistics, and cyberdefense. Russian leaders have naturally recoiled at these actions; the West’s response to the crisis will only make a bad situation worse.

There is a solution to the crisis in Ukraine, however — although it would require the West to think about the country in a fundamentally new way. The United States and its allies should abandon their plan to westernize Ukraine and instead aim to make it a neutral buffer between NATO and Russia, akin to Austria’s position during the Cold War. Western leaders should acknowledge that Ukraine matters so much to Putin that they cannot support an anti-Russian regime there. This would not mean that a future Ukrainian government would have to be pro-Russian or anti-NATO. On the contrary, the goal should be a sovereign Ukraine that falls in neither the Russian nor the Western camp.

To achieve this end, the United States and its allies should publicly rule out NATO’s expansion into both Georgia and Ukraine. The West should also help fashion an economic rescue plan for Ukraine funded jointly by the EU, the International Monetary Fund, Russia, and the United States — a proposal that Moscow should welcome, given its interest in having a prosperous and stable Ukraine on its western flank. And the West should considerably limit its social-engineering efforts inside Ukraine. It is time to put an end to Western support for another Orange Revolution. Nevertheless, U.S. and European leaders should encourage Ukraine to respect minority rights, especially the language rights of its Russian speakers.

Some may argue that changing policy toward Ukraine at this late date would seriously damage U.S. credibility around the world. There would undoubtedly be certain costs, but the costs of continuing a misguided strategy would be much greater. Furthermore, other countries are likely to respect a state that learns from its mistakes and ultimately devises a policy that deals effectively with the problem at hand. That option is clearly open to the United States.

One also hears the claim that Ukraine has the right to determine whom it wants to ally with and the Russians have no right to prevent Kiev from joining the West. This is a dangerous way for Ukraine to think about its foreign policy choices. The sad truth is that might often makes right when great-power politics are at play. Abstract rights such as self-determination are largely meaningless when powerful states get into brawls with weaker states. Did Cuba have the right to form a military alliance with the Soviet Union during the Cold War? The United States certainly did not think so, and the Russians think the same way about Ukraine joining the West. It is in Ukraine’s interest to understand these facts of life and tread carefully when dealing with its more powerful neighbor.

Even if one rejects this analysis, however, and believes that Ukraine has the right to petition to join the EU and NATO, the fact remains that the United States and its European allies have the right to reject these requests. There is no reason that the West has to accommodate Ukraine if it is bent on pursuing a wrong-headed foreign policy, especially if its defense is not a vital interest. Indulging the dreams of some Ukrainians is not worth the animosity and strife it will cause, especially for the Ukrainian people.

Of course, some analysts might concede that NATO handled relations with Ukraine poorly and yet still maintain that Russia constitutes an enemy that will only grow more formidable over time — and that the West therefore has no choice but to continue its present policy. But this viewpoint is badly mistaken. Russia is a declining power, and it will only get weaker with time. Even if Russia were a rising power, moreover, it would still make no sense to incorporate Ukraine into NATO. The reason is simple: the United States and its European allies do not consider Ukraine to be a core strategic interest, as their unwillingness to use military force to come to its aid has proved. It would therefore be the height of folly to create a new NATO member that the other members have no intention of defending. NATO has expanded in the past because liberals assumed the alliance would never have to honor its new security guarantees, but Russia’s recent power play shows that granting Ukraine NATO membership could put Russia and the West on a collision course.

Sticking with the current policy would also complicate Western relations with Moscow on other issues. The United States needs Russia’s assistance to withdraw U.S. equipment from Afghanistan through Russian territory, reach a nuclear agreement with Iran, and stabilize the situation in Syria. In fact, Moscow has helped Washington on all three of these issues in the past; in the summer of 2013, it was Putin who pulled Obama’s chestnuts out of the fire by forging the deal under which Syria agreed to relinquish its chemical weapons, thereby avoiding the U.S. military strike that Obama had threatened. The United States will also someday need Russia’s help containing a rising China. Current U.S. policy, however, is only driving Moscow and Beijing closer together.

The United States and its European allies now face a choice on Ukraine. They can continue their current policy, which will exacerbate hostilities with Russia and devastate Ukraine in the process — a scenario in which everyone would come out a loser. Or they can switch gears and work to create a prosperous but neutral Ukraine, one that does not threaten Russia and allows the West to repair its relations with Moscow. With that approach, all sides would win.

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