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.
President Obama claims, as Bill Kristol noted in his editorial in the latest issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, that no country in the world has expressed opposition to his deal with Iran, with the exception of Israel. But that's not accurate. Canada, the United States' biggest trading partner—and, traditionally, its closest ally—has made it clear it wants no part of an agreement normalizing relations between Iran and the West.
Susan Rice, President Obama's national security advisor, said on CNN that at least some money that Iran will receive from the nuclear deal will be used by the regime to support terrorism.
"We should expect that some portion of that money would go to the Iranian military and could potentially be used for the kinds of bad behavior that we have seen in the region up until now," Rice admitted on CNN.
Even the Obama administration acknowledges that Iran is up to a lot of mischief in the Middle East. Tehran is engaged in a sectarian conflict from Lebanon to Syria and Iraq that has recently come to include Yemen as another active front. However, the White House continues to insist, against all evidence, that the clerical regime’s aggression won’t increase when it gets a huge cash infusion from sanctions relief and an immediate $30 to $50 billion bonus, when (or if) it signs the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, aka the nuclear deal.
In a preview of Barack Obama's interview with Vice, the president of the United States says he's "embarassed" Republicans sent a letter to Iran:
"I’m embarrassed for them," says Obama in the preview. "For them to address a letter to the Ayatollah — who they claim is our mortal enemy — and their basic argument to them is, 'don’t deal with our president because you can’t trust him to follow through on an agreement.' It's close to unprecedented."
Last week, the Obama administration succeeded in pressuring Democrats to insist there not be a vote on the Senate floor in support of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015 until after the March 24 deadline for negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear weapons program. Lacking the votes in the Senate to impose cloture, Republicans had little choice but to go along. But the delay is unfortunate.
In John Kerry's statement on President Obama's Cuba policy changes, the secretary of state doesn't simply suggest the policies in place for five and a half decades are outdated. He seems to be suggesting they were a failure from the start. And in doing so, he apparently misstates his own age at the time President Kennedy made one of the most well known presidential addresses in our nation's history, and certainly the most notable regarding Cuba.