July 18, 2014
Karatnycky: The Malaysia Airlines Disaster Is Vladimir Putin's Lockerbie Bombing
The catastrophic consequences of the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 go well beyond the 298 needlessly lost souls and the suffering inflicted on their families and friends. The plane’s downing is an international incident of no less consequence than the Lockerbie bombing ordered by Muammar Qaddafi in 1988, which transformed someone regarded as an eccentric despot into a lethally dangerous international pariah. While Russian President Vladimir Putin—unlike Qaddafi—did not order the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines plane, this tragedy drives home the dangers to international security posed by his reckless adventurism and his use of proxies in what has been labeled a hybrid war.
Since the conflict in eastern Ukraine began, Russian propaganda has sought to portray it as a civil war, an internecine Ukrainian conflict—a formulation that was a comfortable dissimulation for many European democracies that wanted to avoid disrupting their economic relations with Russia.