The disaster puts the Netherlands in a position that goes against its instincts, but one that it cannot avoid. The Dutch are not warmongers. They are consensus-builders, methodical, averse to impulsiveness. The Netherlands has long hosted many international institutions. The city of The Hague is synonymous with international justice. Dutch cells hold war criminals on behalf of the international community, and courtrooms in the Netherlands are the scene of legal dramas over historic misdeeds.
Surely, the Dutch Prime Minister would feel more comfortable following someone else's lead, voting along with other countries in some international body to condemn someone "in the strongest terms."
But strong words and front page headlines are not enough when Protected content are killed in a passenger plane.
This time, the Netherlands stands at the center of an affront against the civilized world. This time, the people of the Netherlands are demanding that their country stand up and acknowledge its role to fulfill. This time, the Netherlands has to lead -- and the rest of the world should urge it to set a course of firm action.