Representatives from the EU met in Brussels yesterday to discuss possible economic sanctions against Russia for the downing of Malaysian Airline flight 17. The commercial airliner was allegedly shot down by a Russian made surface to air missile fired by Russian backed separatist rebels. Russia has denied the claims.
Attendees at the summit said that they had reached agreement on some course of action. However details will not be released “for a couple of days” ostensibly to allow investigators, who only recently were granted access to the crash scene, time to determine their findings without fear of reprisal from the rebels.
The European reaction to the downing of Malaysian Airline flight 17 has been disconcertingly quiet given the magnitude of the event. Aside from the Brits who have joined the US is voicing their outrage, the remaining EU members have been quiet as church mice. Italy has gone into hiding. Germany, the strongest of the EU economies, has gone out of its way to maintain its cozy relationship with Putin. And the French announced that the would go forward with their lucrative contract to supply Russia with amphibious missile systems. For what better way to express your outrage at the taking down of a commercial airliner by a surface to air missile than to sell more of them to the very guy who supplied the missile in question.
We understand that the EU is dependent upon Russia for its energy needs. We understand that a significant percentage of European jobs are vested in products and services exported to Russian shores. Yet it is hard to comprehend how the EU can allow the murder of 290 of its citizens to pass with little more than a shrug.
So how does the administration convince the EU members to set aside their individual needs and join the US in condemning this atrocity? One way would be to release the classified information that the US claims to prove unequivocally that the Russian backed separatists fired the missile that brought down the Malaysian airliner. Perhaps if the Europeans could see the proof first hand perhaps they would be emboldened to act.
Yesterday, the administration summoned the media to the White House where they promised to unveil this previously classified information. Instead they showed reporters the same videos and photos that have been on social media since the plane crashed.
If the administration has concrete proof that the separatists downed the plane then they need to release it immediately. Let the world see firsthand what actually happened. Then call on the world to act by demanding that Russia bring an end to the violence in Ukraine by withdrawing its troops and ceasing its support of the rebels. Impose the strictest possible sanctions on the Russian leaders and the Russian economy as a whole until the withdrawal is complete and a formal ceasefire is signed. Demand that the individuals who fired on the plane be brought to justice in an international forum.
Atrocities like this cannot be allowed to go unpunished. Unfortunately is it once again up to the US to lead the world to a just and peaceful solution. Step number one is convincing Europe to get on board.