Late last week in Washington, Sen. John McCain said he'd withhold judgment on who was responsible for downing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 and killing all 298 on board, many of them Dutch citizens.
Once the weekend hit, most American media aired nonstop reports that directly or indirectly laid the blame for the downed Boeing 777 at the feet of Russia or the separatists loyal to it.
But did Russia or those separatists really shoot down the airliner?
Or is it possible that Ukraine's central government, based in Kiev, may have shot down the plane—in order to frame Russia?
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 was reportedly flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur July 17th when it was apparently hit by a "Buk" ground-launched missile. But that claim was according to Anton Gerashenko, who's the adviser to Ukraine's interior minister.
The plane was said to be flying at 33,000 feet when it was shot down over Eastern Ukraine, a known war zone that commercial aircraft would typically avoid in the first place.
McCain has accused President Obama of failing to sufficiently support Ukraine's government. However, as we reported months ago, the story behind the political revolution which installed that government is not totally clear.
Former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted late last winter in a so-called "popular uprising." He was pro-Russian in a largely Russian-speaking nation. Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula has long been home to Russia's Black-Sea naval fleet.
This map outlines NATO's evolution from 1990 to 2009, showing NATO's absorption of several former Russian-satellite nations. Ukraine is shown in lighter blue as an "aspiring NATO member."
Also recall that Crimea and Eastern Ukraine both voted to distance themselves from Ukraine's central government.
Furthermore, current Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko is seen by some as the real aggressor—attacking East Ukrainians for their political rebellion.
Given this background, former assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts just wrote that the current Ukraine regime conceivably could have shot down the airliner to frame Russia.
If Russia was framed, the U.S. and other anti-Russian Western governments would benefit by breaking Europe's reluctance to sanction Russia because Russia supplies most of Europe's natural gas.
Framing Russia also could be payback for the Russian Army occupying the Crimean Peninsula. However, Russia has never fired a shot since it entered Crimea in response to the overthrow of Yanukovych.
And while many in Congress assume Putin's Russia is guilty, former Congressman Ron Paul rejects the notion that Putin would shoot down a commercial airliner.
For the record, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, "In the area of northwestern . . . Donetsk, divisions of the 156th anti-aircraft missile regiment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are deployed with 27 Buk- M1 complexes."
The Russian statement continued: "These complexes . . . are capable of detecting air targets at distances of up to 160 kilometers and striking them at all altitudes at a range of over 30 kilometers."
The Russian Ministry added: "Statements from official Kiev saying that those complexes [or possibly Ukraine's military aircraft] did not open fire on air targets raise serious doubts. In such a short period of time, making such unequivocal conclusions under the conditions of fierce fighting in the area is impossible."
Some may believe Russia, and some may not. But with most Western media and officials rushing to judgment that the Cold War has returned, perhaps getting more facts, and letting cooler heads prevail, is the best foreign policy toward Russia.
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