The day after Malaysian flight M17 was shot down over the Ukraine by somebody using a Russian missile system, a U.S. spy plane was intercepted by a Russian fighter plane and chased from the territory. The U.S. plane breached other nations' sovereign airspace as it sought safe territory. That could easily have been a calamity because the American spy planes are a version of the ancient Boeing 707 that are classed as KC135s and retrofitted for electronic spying. They can fly at nearly 50,000 feet. So can MIG29s and MIG31s.
Led by President Vladimir Putin, Russian foreign policy has it on a mission to reclaim some territory that is occupied by a large population of ethnic Russians, but for which the land boundaries belong to other sovereign nations. He scooped up Crimea with little effort, but has bogged down on the edge of the Ukraine. The misstep from having been involved in the downing of a civilian airliner threw a monkey wrench in the plan, apparently.
The intent to violate international law makes Russia a rogue nation. Its propensity for arming state-sponsored terrorist nations and other rogue nations puts it clearly into the free world enemy category. The only thing that prevents more aggressive jettisoning of Russia is its economic entanglement whereby Europeans desperate for oil engaged in dependent trading agreements. That was a smart move by Russians and a very risky move by members of the EU.
Now, the EU has stepped up sanctions against Russian along with the U.S. The presence of Russian military along the Ukraine border and the vulnerability of a newly forming Ukraine government pose more risk and danger. The only thing preventing the situation from breaking into hot conflict are the following:
- Russian patience to achieve what it wants over the long haul.
- Europeans and the U.S. slow pace to transform from petroleum to renewable energy.
- Instability and weakness among some nation states that are targets for Russia, principally the Ukraine.
- U.S. being too busy to become engaged in more global conflict and fighting terrorism.
Still, the diplomatic relationship thermometer between the U.S. and Russians is showing very warm where warm doesn’t mean friendly.
"Russia Has 15,000 Crack Troops on the Ukrainian Border
And Putin’s itching for a fight."