The latest salvo in a bizarre exchange of international sanctions has been fired. Russia has already taken its boycott of Western foodstuffs to theatrical extremes, bulldozing piles of cheese and destroying apples whose sole fault was their Polish origin. Now the government of Vladimir Putin seems to be turning on household cleansers as it tries to scour away the taint of Western business.
Russian state regulator Rospotrebnadzor had restricted the sale of laundry detergents, soaps, and cleaning products manufactured by American, European, and Ukrainian companies, citing unspecified safety concerns after conducting toxicity tests at various manufacturing facilities.
“Those products that do not meet the requirements are being removed from sale,” the regulator said, “Investigations into the household products and detergents of other manufacturers are continuing.”
“P&G’s Fairy Platinum dishwashing detergent, Werner & Mertz’s Emsal floor cleaner and Clorox’s Formula 409 cleaner. They also include Palmolive Naturals olive and moisturizing milk soap, made by Colgate-Palmolive.”
In addition, Russia curtailed the sale of several products manufactured by the German consumer-goods firm Henkel.
Meanwhile, both manufacturers and retailers have been left wondering how to respond to the announcement, which stopped short of forbidding retailers from selling the products.
Hopefully the issue can be resolved before Russian consumers are left confronting growing stacks of dirty dishes and piles of laundry without access to their preferred soap brands.
"Russia is a friendly, European country,” said President Vladimir Putin in a 2001 address to the Bundestag in Berlin. Putin told German lawmakers he applauded European integration, believed in the unity of European culture, and was convinced that no one had benefited from Europe’s divisions in the past. Then last November, speaking again to Germans in an interview for ARD, German national television—in sports coat and open collar—the Russian president lauded dialogue and diplomacy when it came to the crisis in Ukraine.
Traveling recently in what might be called “new frontline” states—Estonia, Ukraine, and Moldova—I was struck by the depth of concern I encountered about Russian propaganda. And not just propaganda aimed at the Russian population and neighboring countries. At a conference in Tallinn, a Politico reporter and experienced Russia hand who had just covered the parliamentary elections in Britain told me voters he’d interviewed in Wales and Scotland had brought up clearly identifiable pieces of propaganda spread by Russia’s state-owned global television and radio network, RT.
Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and a Republican candidate for president, will address the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, on Monday evening on her foreign policy outlook. In her speech, Fiorina will discuss how as president she would broker a "new deal" with Iran, call for expanding defense spending, and address China, whom she calls "our rising adversary."
You can watch her speech live at 9 pm ET here. Fiorina's remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Religious conservatives are fighting back against allegations of homophobia.
The World Congress of Families (WCF) is “an international network of pro-family organizations, scholars, leaders and people of goodwill from more than 80 countries that seek[s] to restore the natural family as the fundamental social unit and the ‘seedbed’ of civil society.”
Secretary of State John Kerry defended the Obama administration's decision to take the Iran deal to the United Nations before the U.S. Congress votes on it. Kerry made the remarks in an interview this morning on ABC News:
The ABC reporter, Jon Karl, asked, "But the bottom line, the UN is going to vote on this before Congress gets to vote on this?"
Earlier today, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing to consider whether President Obama's pick to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., should be advanced to the Senate for a confirmation vote.
At that hearing, Gen. Dunford informed the committee:
"My assessment today is that Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security"
A Kiev-based Ukrainian friend, after meeting a delegation of young Russians, emails me: "totally terrible, young Russian diplomats. Manipulation, propaganda, gloating over victory in Eastern Ukraine, this new generation even worse than before. We will have big trouble with Russia for a very long time."
Even as diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Russia remain decidedly chilly over the Ukrainian conflict, the State Department is reaching out to "up-and-coming" Russian journalists. A recent $150,000 grant offering from the U.S.
Vladimir Kara-Murza, a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin, collapsed in Moscow on Tuesday. A friend of Boris Nemtsov, the Russian dissident murdered in February, the 33-year-old showed no previous signs of illness.
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov told Bloomberg that the Russian reset was an "invention of Hillary Clinton" and the Obama administration.
"Well, if you take the original reset, it was not our invention, it was the invention of Hillary Clinton and Obama administrations because with their predecessors, George Bush Jr., Vladimir Putin had very good personal relations," said Lavrov.
Has NATO become a paper tiger, trying (and failing) to stand up to a resurgent Russian bear? A speech by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Wednesday addressed this issue, discussing both the challenges facing the 66-year-old alliance, and Stoltenberg’s vision for its future in what he termed a “changed” security environment.