Today, March 17, 2014, President Barack Obama signed an executive order expanding the scope of what he perceives as a "national emergency" declared in Executive Order 13660 of March 6, 2014. However, the only national emergency to the United States is what is being caused by the actions of such Executive Orders. The seizures affect 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials he feels were instrumental in the democratic elections held this past weekend to separate Crimea from Ukraine. The referendum passed with a 97% approving, allowing Crimea independence from Ukraine and is now looking to annex itself with Russia.
Barack Obama and some European countries do not like how the vote turned out which is the reason for the asset seizures which historically speaking, will not have the desired effect. Instead, libertarians are suggesting the opposite, go down the road of 'anti-sanctions'.
The seizures, or some call 'sanctions', will affect Russian presidential advisor Sergey Glazyev, Andrey Klishas, Valentina Matvienko, State Duma Yelena Mizulina, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, State Duma deputy Leonid Slutsky and Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov. There are also four Ukrainian officials affected by the executive order including Crimean officials Sergey Aksyonov and Vladimir Konstantinov, former Ukrainian presidential chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk and former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.
What has the American general public and libertarians scratching their heads is the hypocrisy of the United States' government publicly chastising the Russian government when the U.S. has done far worse. U.S. President Barack Obama said in a news release this morning, "I find that the actions and policies of the Government of the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine -- including the recent deployment of Russian Federation military forces in the Crimea region of Ukraine -- undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets, and thereby constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States." Such a statement is cause for wonder if Obama forgot we invaded Iraq under false pretenses, the 1983 Grenada invasion (again under false pretenses), the invasion of Panama, and the list goes on. The actions and rhetoric coming from Obama and Secretary of State Kerry put the nation in harms way rather than being a peaceful nation of free traders and non-interventionists.