The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 may diminish Russian President Vladimir Putin's ability to resort to military force to expand his dominion, global security expert Ilan Berman told Newsmax TV
"This has really reshuffled the deck in terms of his strategic calculus," Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.
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Before the jetliner went down Thursday in eastern Ukraine, near the site of clashes with separatists armed by Moscow, Putin — as a major supplier of Europe's oil and gas — could disregard a "hesitant" West that so far had leveled only criticism and limited economic sanctions at Russia, said Berman.
With the possibility looming that separatists
shot down a passenger plane carrying innocent civilians, outrage is growing
, and the result may be "a redoubled, unified Western effort to apply pressure to Russia," said Berman.
Nor can Russia count on support from China, as it often does when relations with the West sour.
"The real question is, what does Beijing think?" said Berman. "Because China is itself going through sort of a period of regional instability. It may not want to be shackled so closely to a country that's so clearly an unconstructive player and frankly, could become a liability."
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