Mistrust and Contain Russia

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Filed Under Latest News on Jul 24 

Nearly 300 people are dead, their burnt and mangled remains spread out over Eastern Ukraine where someone launched a surface-to-air missile and brought down a passenger airliner. Vacationers, scientists on the way to an AIDS conference, people on a commercial flight. People who were going about their lives and trying to get back home or take a holiday, or do some work down under or in Asia. Intercepted calls seem to show pro-Russian separatists discussing the incident with a Russian official. They seem to show that the crazed separatist-terrorist who fired the missile thought the plane was a cargo plane disguised as a passenger liner, and carrying spies.

The problem isn’t just that separatists in the region are out of control. Russia is out of control. Putin is out of control. Putin and Russia are now enemies of the West. There is no way left to think of Russia as a partner anymore. Even assuming common interests in combating islamic extremism around the world. Russia is not just untrustworthy. Russia incites violence and constantly confronts the West. Reagan’s words to Gorbachev come back yet again to haunt and remind us. It is important to remember that “trust but verify” is a Russian proverb that Reagan used deliberately in the intense, intimate theatre of cold war negotiations between himself and Gorbachev. In fact it worked in the opposite direction. Verify in order to begin to trust was more like the process involved. Kerry’s pun of “verify and verify” is hardly even funny now if it ever was. There is no trust, arguably since Putin assumed office. And how can you verify if no one even claims to have shot the plane down? It is time now to mistrust and contain when it comes to Russia. The hope that ties of commerce and trade would bind us are no longer realistic. Whether Russia was involved directly with the shooting down of the Malaysian Airliner is unimportant. The violent chaos in Eastern Ukraine is Putin’s doing. The blood of this tragedy is on his hands.

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