We still don’t have publicly confirmed proof of the cause of the Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt this week. The West has leaked to the international media that intelligence services believe it was a bomb onboard that brought down the plane. The Russians and the Egyptians obviously have a dog in this fight. Egypt is scared to death that it’s tourist industry, slowly recovering since the Arab Spring and a reduced number of wealthy Russians making the trip, will take another body blow. Russia’s concerns are obvious.
The Kremlin has been deft at keeping the brunt of the Ukrainian war away from the majority of the public. The only people really aware of what is going on are the families of those soldiers killed in the conflict, and they have been sworn to secrecy with the threat of losing benefits. However, the loss of a Russian airliner with over two hundred souls on board cannot be disguised. The genie is out of the bottle.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a name for himself among the Russian public as a man of action, a man who stands up for Russians, no matter where they may be living. The Russian public will not stand by and let this crime by the Islamic State go unpunished. I predict further Russian, military action and lots of it.
Yes, it will be expensive and money is something the Russian Federation is short of at the moment. However, I don’t think that will matter. Putin will have no choice but to act. The Russian public is long used to suffering hardships for the good of the state and they will continue to do so.
The only question is, what will be the American response? Additional Russian forces in the region will make it all the more likely that President Obama will either have to stand up and lead or cede further ground to the Iranian, Syrian, Russian alliance that now dominates the Middle East. One thing is for sure, Putin’s response will not be predictable, nor will the White House be ready for it. As they say at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, why let a good crisis go to waste?