Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Quick response to Russian incursion

The United States and Europe did right by moving quickly Monday to condemn Russia's incursion into Ukraine. The sanctions imposed by the West are an appropriate first response to the move by the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea to secede from Ukraine and align with Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to see the United States and European Union continue speaking in a strong, united voice against this aggressive behavior. The West should impose broader sanctions if Putin moves further this week to annex the breakaway republic.

Monday's announcement came only hours after the results of Sunday's referendum in Crimea showed near-universal support for breaking away from Ukraine and joining Russia. That outcome, of course, was never in doubt, given Crimea's historical ties to Russia and the presence of up to 20,000 Russian security forces in the region. This was not an exercise in democracy but an example of political cover under the barrel of a gun. The United States and Europe should continue to refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the vote. Even China abandoned its usual ally over the weekend by refusing to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution that declared the referendum illegal — leaving Russia to cast the sole vote against in a true measure of its international isolation.

The order President Barack Obama signed Monday freezes assets and bans visas for seven Russian government officials, including one of Putin's closest advisers. It also targets Ukraine's ousted, pro-Russian president, his chief of staff and two Crimea-based separatist leaders. The White House said it was serving notice to Russia that interfering with Ukraine's sovereign affairs would carry a cost, and it left the door open to further sanctions. The move followed a similar ban earlier Monday by the European Union, which imposed sanctions against 21 Russian and Crimean separatist leaders. The United States and the Europeans should continue to coordinate their responses. A united front and the willingness to go after Russian leaders and their proxies offers a chance to create a diplomatic opening to resolve the crisis.

Putin is expected to outline a course for Crimea in a speech to the Russian Parliament today. It remains to be seen how Moscow can afford to annex the region, or how far it is willing to risk a new Cold War through the buildup of Russian forces in Crimea. The Western powers should continue to insist that this is a Ukrainian territorial and constitutional matter. And they should provide political and material support to the central government in Kiev to further isolate Russia within the international community.

The United States and Europe should also be prepared to move fast with tougher sanctions. While Putin may appreciate military power first and foremost, the West has formidable influence on Russia's economy and decisionmaking through banks and other international institutions. Putting the heat on Putin is the first step in obtaining leverage in this crisis.

Comments
Editorial: A good first step in restoring the right to vote

Editorial: A good first step in restoring the right to vote

Allowing felons a meaningful chance to reclaim their right to vote and rejoin civic life is edging closer to reality in Florida. On Tuesday the state announced that a yearslong petition drive to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot h...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Editorial: Look hard into Tampa Bay and Pinellas CareerSource CEO, and get to the bottom of the numbers and the money

Editorial: Look hard into Tampa Bay and Pinellas CareerSource CEO, and get to the bottom of the numbers and the money

Something is seriously amiss at Tampa Bay’s two CareerSource agencies, which receive millions in federal and state money to match unemployed workers with local employers. First, the agencies appear to be taking credit — and money — for job placements...
Published: 01/22/18

A Chicago Tribune editorial: Shut down this shutdown habit

"Shutting down the government of the United States of America should never ever be a bargaining chip for any issue. Period. It should be to governing as chemical warfare is to real warfare. It should be banned."— Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., addressing ...
Published: 01/22/18
Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Ignoring all available evidence that screen time and social media exposure can be harmful to kids, Facebook recently unveiled a new messaging app targeting children under 13. It’s yet another battlefront for parents who have to constantly combat the ...
Published: 01/21/18
Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

The good news on the transportation front is that Tampa Bay’s government and business leaders are working together like never before to connect the region’s largest cities, attractions and employment centers with a more robust mass transit system. Th...
Published: 01/20/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18