WASHINGTON, July 24 (RIA Novosti) - Certain US decision makers are using the Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine to stoke Americans’ fear of Russia and increase US military power, rather than forge an understanding of the disaster, House Armed Services Committee member Hank Johnson told RIA Novosti.
“It’s good to have someone to stoke fear in the minds of decision makers so they will then go back and invest in more hardware to match the purported threat,” Johnson said of the heated American rhetoric against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Johnson, a two-term Democrat from Georgia, said the Malaysian airline disaster “will give folks who want to live in the doomsday scenario fodder to stoke the fears of people,” regarding the threat of Russia.
“I think the first thing we should do is try to understand what could be going through Putin’s mind, what actually happened in this catastrophe that occurred, how does Ukraine fit into the overall security environment within which Russia sits,” he said.
“What are we doing to foster those suspicions, or in some way to help diffuse those?” he asked.
Up until July 22, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry made strong allegations accusing Russia of complicity in the crash of Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight in east Ukraine last week, killing 298 people. On Tuesday, however, US officials said they were not “100 percent sure of a nationality” of those behind the downing, which they said was likely “a mistake.”
Congressman Johnson agreed that the MH17 incident is “probably just a mistake of war, an accident of war with catastrophic consequences.” He cited other such incidents including the US downing of Iranian Air flight 655 in 1988, which killed 290 civilians, and the Soviet downing of Korean Airlines flight 007 in 1983.
“Those things have happened in the past,” Johnson said.
Johnson warned, however, that the US should avoid the tendency to construe the facts of the incident through its own eyes.
“If we do that, we will continue to just go tit for tat in an arms race, which we know will lead to the bankruptcy of one of both countries,” he said.
Ukrainian government and militia have been trading blame for the alleged downing of the airliner ever since reports suggested foul play, with independence supporters saying they have no required technology to shoot a target at the given altitude.