Ukraine Crisis: Instability Spreads In Wake Of Downed Airliner

An already tense situation in Ukraine was made more volatile with news that a Malaysian passenger jet was shot down for no apparent reason. From the point the news broke, fingers were pointed in all directions. Russia blamed Ukraine and has denied all involvement on their part in the demise of the Malaysian airliner

Many world leaders remain skeptical and are calling for answers and applying pressure on Russia to solve the Ukrainian crisis.

And many are also left wondering what the ramifications could be if it is determined that Russia played a role.

K.T. McFarland lays out three possible explanations for the crash of the Malaysian airliner and the implications for Russia and Ukraine.

“If it turns out Russia has come out of the shadows, and did shoot down the Malaysian civilian aircraft, it is a game changer. The Russians will try to deny it, but no one will believe them. Even if it is Russia’s proxies in Eastern Ukraine who are responsible for this terrible act, Russia loses plausible deniability. It will be Putin’s biggest nightmare, because it could light a fire under European and American leaders to take immediate and severe action against Russia,” she writes on

Karen DeYoung echoes McFarland’s contention that a downed airliner is almost certain to further complicate relations between the West and Russia that are frayed by terse exchanges of words, threats, and sanctions.

The United States and its allies were hesitant to quickly assign blame, and there was no overt suggestion that a civilian aircraft had been intentionally targeted. But there was a clear undercurrent in the Western response that the separatists were believed to be responsible, DeYoung reports.

On seven occasions, military planes have shot down commercial airliners.

The US Through The Eyes Of The World
President Barack Obama remains popular in many foreign countries and certainly is liked more than his predecessor, but as Bruce Stokes, director of global economic attitudes at the Pew Research Center, notes, the bloom is off the rose.

“Still, although President Obama’s popularity has held up relatively well in much of the world over the past 12 months, there has been a considerable drop off since Obama took office in 2009 – his ratings have declined in 19 of 21 countries for which there is comparable data, including a 30 percentage point drop in Argentina, a 25 point fall off in Japan, a 23 point decline in Egypt and 22 point slides in Germany and Russia. Only in Israel has the public’s view of Obama improved significantly,” says Stokes, who adds that the decline is most apparent in the Middle East.

In the Middle East, only 13 percent of Palestinians, 17 percent of Jordanians and 19 percent of Egyptians have confidence in Obama’s leadership this year. This contrasts starkly with Israel, where almost three quarters of respondents give Obama a thumbs up, a 10 point rise over the past year.


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