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article imageOp-Ed: West may face charge of hypocrisy in blaming Russia for Flight 17

By Calvin Wolf     Jul 18, 2014 in Politics
The U.S. is suggesting that Russia bears some responsibility for the alleged Ukrainian separatist missile strike that downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. But when it comes to debates over who provided which weapons to whom, hypocrisy abounds...
The West is outraged with Russia again over its interventionism in Ukraine, this time after pro-Russia separatists in the Ukraine allegedly shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 with a missile strike. CNN reports that international investigators are claiming limited access to the crash site, with only 75 minutes to access a 200-meter strip while being watched by "armed men in uniform." Many observers believe that the alleged missile-firing separatists were equipped and trained by the Russian government.
Critics of Russia and its aggressive president, Vladimir Putin, are blaming Russia for the tragedy. Though Russian forces did not pull the trigger, they claim, they are guilty of supplying those who did and actively encouraging them to pull the trigger. Since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, detractors of Putin have claimed that Russia is definitely the power behind the throne of the Ukrainian separatists.
The West will want to use the downing of Flight 17 as the Lusitania event to force Putin to back off and agree to non-intervention.
Pundits must be aware, however, that Russia will likely fight back by pointing to the West's controversial arming of violent rebel forces in Libya and Syria. Rebels in Syria have been particularly notorious. ISIS insurgents in Iraq, fighting the government installed by the United States, are alleged to be in league with the same Syrian rebels whom the United States supported in their war against dictator Bashar Al-Assad. In addition, much U.S. military equipment and training has been funneled to extremists and insurgents in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan as "U.S.-approved" soldiers switched sides or abandoned the equipment.
The U.S. and its allies have not had stellar records when it comes to making sure equipment and training is not abused to harm civilians or other allies. In creating a unified diplomatic front against Russia, the West must publicly assert that it has recognized its own errors and pledge to halt its arming and training of controversial rebel and government groups. Only when we stop providing the weapons and training that extremists and radicals can use to harm civilians can we demand that other nations do the same.
The tragedy of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 should be used as an opportunity by all nations to stop the spread of death that comes from arms exports and the proliferation of lethal military training.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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