On July 17, 2014, MH-17 was shot down by pro-Russian separatists. 298 people were killed. This was the third aircraft shot down after the separatists acquired a Sa-11 surface to air missile (SAM) launcher. This particular launcher fires BUK surface yo air missiles.
The incident is horrible, not only that, but it is a travesty; however, it is not a carbon copy of Korean Air flight 007. I do not believe the rebels knew they were shooting down a civilian aircraft. In 1983, the Soviet Union knew flight 007 was a civilian aircraft. I am not understating the actions by the rebels. It is a travesty that warrants retaliation.
The United States (along with the rest of NATO) has failed to respond to President Putin’s actions in the Ukraine. A response must be planned in multiple phases.
First we need to assess America’s ability to supply Europe with natural gas and oil if Putin does turn the tap off on Europe. At bare minimum America needs to be able to supply the European countries with enough gas to keep their militaries running. If America is capable of this, we need to move on to a second phase.
Then America needs to decide if we are going to back a fascist coup in Kiev or if we will back communism in Moscow. There is no good option in this scenario. Putin’s faults are widely reported, but on the other hand, the Kiev forces have destroyed WW2 monuments and have glorified Nazi figures instead. This is definitely a bad thing, but we need to retaliate swiftly and forcefully to avenge this horrible act. The only way to retaliate against the separatists that destroyed MH-17 is to side with Kiev.
After siding with the Kiev coup, we will need to act swiftly and take a true hardline approach. By a hardline approach I mean put troops, SAMs, aircraft, and artillery (both anti-ground and anti-air) right on the Russian border. I believe this proposal is safe for a simple reason: Putin has done this much because he is not afraid of an American or NATO response. America and the EU can also press Putin with true sanctions. It will hurt Europe, but it will destroy the Russian economy. Russia relies almost entirely on oil sales. This is the best combination to get Putin to pull out of the Ukraine. The key to the plan is to agree with Russia that only when Putin pulls out of Ukraine and stays out for a year will the United States and the rest of NATO pull back the military forces and ease up on sanctions.
What if things go wrong with the hardline approach? I highly doubt things will go extraordinarily wrong. I know there will not be a full out war with Russia. At worst there will be the occasional run-in with the separatists. Why am I so sure of this? Simple: Putin doesn’t want a war with the United States. He knows he cannot defeat the full power of the United States military. Despite the development of the Sukhoi PAK FA and the increase of the rest of the Russian military, I am not concerned. The PAK FA is an aircraft that has been in development only, and the Russian army is inferior to American ground forces (let alone the Navy).
NATO needs to take action now BEFORE another incident like MH-17 occurs. If NATO fails to act, President Putin will stop at nothing to take all of Ukraine, which as long as the U.S. doesn’t get involved Putin is capable of doing. Putin is a strong and decisive leader. The world is counting on America to step up to the plate and show Putin who is in charge. If America fails to do take this kind of action I fear we will see a second Soviet Union in Eastern Europe.
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