President Barack Obama paused between party fundraisers and his close vacation today to deliver a statement on the shootdown of MH17. Russian proxies are the prime suspects, having used Russian missiles to blast the civilian airliner out of the sky.
The president noted that one American is believed to have died in the disaster. He described MH17’s demise as a “global disaster” because an Asian airliner carrying citizens of many countries was shot down over Ukraine. He also noted that over 100 of the flight’s passengers were flying to a conference on the fight against AIDS. Calling MH17 a “global disaster” tugs at the entire world outside Russia to be outraged, but America will still have to lead.
Obama called for a cease-fire in the war in Ukraine. He also called for the crash site to be left intact so that evidence is not tampered with.
The latter is already a dead letter. The site is already contaminated as far as its evidence value goes. The Russian proxies have controlled the crash site from the beginning and have reportedly already found the black boxes and sent them to Russia for investigation. The proxies have been combing through the wreckage, moving it and tampering with it. They are very likely combing the wreckage for any remains of the missile that brought the aircraft down. That evidence could be used to determine whether the missile was fired by the proxies or by the Russians themselves.
The former, a cease-fire in Ukraine, is probably the worst idea that President Obama could have proffered.
Russian President Vladimir Putin started the conflict in Ukraine. The “separatists” there are his minions, his proxies. Russia’s proxies, the so-called separatists, are commanded by current and former officers in Russian intelligence. They have carved off part of eastern Ukraine and are calling it the Donetsk Republic. They are using Russian weaponry. They are backed by Moscow.
Ukraine’s government is fighting to defeat them and reclaim its territory. A cease-fire would stop Ukraine from protecting its sovereignty when it is winning the war against Russia’s puppets. It would hand Russia de facto control of another chunk of Ukraine’s territory, to go along with the Crimean Peninsula which Russia seized by force months ago.
A cease-fire helps Putin. Calling for the crash site to be uncontaminated makes no sense.
At least Barack Obama strongly defended Israel’s right and duty to launch its military operations against Hamas. The world got that from the president’s statement, and it was needed and it was clear.
But we didn’t get much else.