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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

America is suffering from a lack of leadership

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave a concise summary of recent international events: “To put it mildly, the world is a mess.” The ongoing conflicts between Israel and Palestine and in Syria, and the diminishing relationship between Russia and the U.S., have many, including me, worried that we are entering a dark period for international affairs.

To sum things up, Russian President Vladimir Putin has gone too far, and his recent actions are simply intolerable. As Putin and his administration continue to downplay the Malaysia Airlines disaster, which killed all 298 people on board, the facts surrounding the tragedy remain uncontroverted: A Russian weapons system provided by the Russian government was used by separatist rebel fighters to shoot down and kill hundreds of innocent people.

Things only got worse when those same Russian separatists denied investigators access to the crash site. For days Putin and his administration claimed that they were dedicated to political dialogue and peace talks, but continued to provide weapons to pro-Russian fighters in Ukraine and continued to disrespect the international community by tampering with evidence at the crash site.

Putin must know that the U.S. is no longer going to sit idle and watch him wage an undeclared war on innocent airline passengers and Ukraine. That’s why the sanctions proposed by President Obama and the European Union were long overdue.

On July 30, Obama and the European Union unleashed a new round of financial sanctions on Russia. These measures include an arms embargo and a ban on the sale of dual-use and sensitive technologies, such as advanced energy equipment utilized in deep-sea and Arctic oil drilling.

In addition, Russian state-owned banks will also be banned from selling bonds or equities with a maturity of over 90 days in European capital markets. The European Union extended asset freezes and travel bans on eight Russians who have ties to Putin. The EU also put three more Russian entities on a list of companies and organizations that are subject to EU sanctions because of their alleged actions against Ukraine’s sovereignty.

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