At some point during this past March- as the demonstrations against, as well as the violence mostly (but not entirely) carried out on behalf of, the eventually ousted regime of one-time Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich in the Maidan in Kiev were already beginning to fade from memory, while a majority of Crimeans were still engaged in that rather strange "dance" with Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation that would soon lead to its being annexed by the latter- Nina Khrushcheva, granddaughter of the late one-time Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and, nowadays, an International Affairs professor at New School University in New York City (as well as a Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute) was among a handful of "talking heads" being interviewed about the 'Ukraine Crisis' on one American cable news outlet or other.
Ms. Khrushcheva was asked, by the moderator/anchor of this particular program, about Putin (on behalf of Russia as a whole) attempting to "grab" the more pro-Russian parts of eastern Ukraine, considering how relatively easy it was then seeming to so annex Crimea: her response was to the effect that (and I do not remember her exact words, nor do I have a transcript of same in front of me, thus I am- admittedly- paraphrasing here), should Putin try to do in eastern Ukraine what he was already- by then- successfully doing in Crimea, 'he will have bitten off far more than he can chew'.
Now, some four months later, we can so clearly see that Ms. Khrushcheva's prognostication has proven all too accurate: for, with the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 by a surface-to-air missile fired from an area in the far eastern portions of Ukraine so clearly in the control of pro-Russian separatists (separatists supported, with sophisticated weapons [such as just such surface-to-air missiles] as well as Russian military [where not also intelligence] advisors), Vladimir Putin has- indeed- not only 'bitten off far more than he can chew', he has also seemingly lost much (if not complete) control of a situation (a proxy war intended, by Russia, to destabilize a potentially pro-EU, where not also pro-NATO, Ukraine) he himself has most engendered.
Even if no Russians- whether in the military or in intelligence (if not both)- were at all directly involved in the decision-making process (assuming there even was such a process!) leading to the firing of the surface-to-air missile(s) that downed that civilian airliner (with the resultant deaths of nearly 300 innocent [by their having no direct connection to the current conflict between the separatists and the de jure Ukrainian government in Kiev] men, women and children); even if the downing of the airliner were 'only' an "accident" (in the sense that those firing the missile[s] did not know, until they saw both debris and bodies falling from the sky, that they had shot down such a non-military target), it is Vladimir Putin's government that has the blood of said innocents on its hands!
With great trepidation, I have purposely referred- in the headline of this piece- to this horrific event as- nonetheless- a 'gift' (albeit an altogether grisly one born of what is, without any doubt, the very definition of an Act of Terror) for the 'Emperor': said 'Emperor' being one Barack Hussein Obama, 44th President of the United States of America, thereby leader of the so-called "Free World" and, in addition, the principal Head of State, as well as Head of Government, among the group of all those also holding such offices within those countries making up that 'constellation' which can fairly be defined as the "3rd American Empire" (hence the term 'Emperor' for Barack Obama is not all that much of a stretch!).
Allow me, gentle reader, to explain just why I have referred to this tragic event as a 'gift' (that is: only in the sense of its being the quintessential "Blessing in [admittedly, much] Disguise"):
Back on 6 March of this year, I wrote that what will likely have to happen... is that "Emperor" Barack will have to "step up" in service of the 'Empire' and take the lead (as well as the "hit") in relation to imposing [harsher] sanctions on Russia (with or without Europe). Only a couple days before the crash of Flight MH17, President Obama did just that: having the United States impose sanctions on Russia harsher than those its European allies and partners were themselves willing to impose, let alone stomach.
But then came this horrific act: one that Europeans, in particular, and their governments will find most hard to ignore (the Netherlands [both an EU and NATO Member-State] alone lost- in the downing of Flight MH17- just about the same proportion of their own citizens to that country's total population as were the deaths of Americans on 9/11 to the total population of the United States!)
If nothing before brought the civil war in Ukraine (for that is what it now is!) home to Europe before, the tragedy of Flight MH17 certainly should!
Flight MH17 is- despite the terrible loss of life of so many people: persons of many nationalities, from soccer fans and vacationers to some of the most brilliant scientists tackling the scourge of HIV/AIDS and even infants whose last few moments of their all too short lives were spent unceremoniously ripped from the arms of a loving parent also doomed to perish- an opportunity for the entire World outside of Russia- a World largely appalled and revulsed by what has lately happened- to now put the utmost pressure on the Russian Federation (and its leader, Mr. Putin) to, wherever practicable, bring these separatists to heal. Putin's government (despite his own lame attempts to lay the blame for the tragedy on the Ukrainian government in Kiev) is the entity that very much put the chain of events leading to this tragedy in motion; it is the responsibility of Putin and his government and military to try their best to stop this chain (that is: if it now even can be stopped!).
I'm not here suggesting that those who live in the eastern parts of Ukraine don't necessarily have legitimate political and economic, social and cultural grievances against being governed as part of a Unitary state with distant Kiev as its capital; perhaps, then, a Federal Ukraine might well be a much better method of keeping the country together: but rather anarchic governance by armed militia units, answering only to those claiming to be running some self-proclaimed "People's Republic"s (where not also, however directly or indirectly, answering to the Kremlin itself) is certainly no way to so well, not to also mention permanently, address such grievances!
Yet nothing- even that which might prove to be far more beneficial to those living within eastern Ukraine- will be at all implemented until Russia ceases to meddle in, as well as destabilize, the Ukrainian state, whether it be Unitary or Federal!
Thus, that which has been so crudely illustrated, all too sadly, by the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 is a possible "turning point" potentially allowing for a proverbial "sea change" in the conduct of this ongoing 'Ukraine Crisis'--- but only if we (that is: the West as a whole [not just the United States and Canada, but Europe as well]) truly want that "sea" to so "change".
Yes, the tide has now come in: soon enough, however, it will go back out again and then it will be too late-- after which, the "sea" will merely remain as it was (until the next "turn of the tide" which, unlike the tides of nature, cannot be either so predictably timed or, for that matter, so timely predicted).