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Ukraine conflict goes global

Published on Jul 30, 2014 12:42 PM

It was unavoidable that the shoot-down of the Malaysia Airlines plane has been conflated with the Ukraine civil war. What is less clear is the effect the interplay of events would have on relations between Russia and the United States, already strained over the meddling in Georgia and Ukraine that happened well before the air tragedy. These ex-Soviet republics form part of Russia's buffer line, but also happen to be America's new limits of spreading influence.

The outcome of the contest will shape international cooperation on issues ranging from arms control and trade to counter-terrorism and climate warming.

The world would be better off if these two former Cold War adversaries - with large land masses and a demonstrable scope for foreign interventions good and bad - preserved a level of collaboration, even if greater trust among pioneering nuclear states is an unlikely prospect.

But the recriminations that have been flowing back and forth between Washington and Moscow over the missile strike at MH17 and the fomenting of Ukrainian instability suggest that both sides are going for broke. This could be dangerous.

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