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Obama Continues to Gut American Energy as Russia Plays for the Win

President Obama is in Europe, where he says Russia will "pay a price" for taking Crimea from Ukraine and annexing it.

But then Obama made sure that our economy and other western economies pay a price for his fixation on ridding the world of coal.

The leaders also announced that the Netherlands was joining the U.S. and other countries in an effort to stop the international funding of new coal-fired power plants by development banks.

“We’re pleased that the Netherlands has joined our initiative that will virtually end all public financing for coal-fired plants abroad,” Obama said. “It’s concrete action like this that can keep making progress on reducing emissions while we develop new global agreements on climate change.”

US coal exports have hit record highs in 2011 and 2012, with each million exported tons contributing about 1,320 jobs to our economy according to the National Mining Association. Europe is US coal's number one export destination; environmentalists aren't happy about that. The United States ships much of its exported coal to Europe through Dutch ports. Obama is making environmental agreements that threaten to cut US coal exports out of Europe -- our biggest customer. As geopolitical strategy, Obama is sending Putin a message: The United States will continue to cut itself off from the world and hurt its own economy no matter what you do or who you threaten.

Russia is the world's sixth-largest coal producing nation, but the United States is the second-largest. Our economy will pay a price for Obama's campaign to do away with coal as a fuel source. That price may even dwarf the price that Russia ends up paying for Crimea, which so far amounts to a hit on its stock market in exchange for taking over a peninsula that comes with significant strategic and economic advantages. Crimea has major ports and energy production fields on and off shore.

Back to Obama's statement on Russia and the "price" that it will pay:

“In all my discussions with European leaders, my message will be that Russia needs to understand the economic and political consequences of its actions in Ukraine,” Obama told the paper, according to a translation by McClatchy. “We simply cannot have countries violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other nations. We cannot have countries purporting to annex parts of independent nations. The international law and principles at the heart of our international system have to mean something.”

NATO is hollowed out militarily, and the United States under Obama is set to reduce itself to its smallest military in 70 years. The international law that Obama cites needs someone around who is willing to and capable of enforcing it. Without a strong United States and NATO, who will that be?

More and more, it looks like Russia will be allowed to act with a free hand far beyond Ukraine. While the United States retreats from the world, Russia is building up its military in our back yard.

Russia’s defense minister says the country is planning bases in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, and just last week, Putin’s national security team met to discuss increasing military ties in the region.

“They’re on the march,” Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) said at a Senate hearing earlier this month. “They’re working the scenes where we can’t work. And they’re doing a pretty good job.”

Gen. James Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command said there has been a “noticeable uptick in Russian power projection and security force personnel” in Latin America.

“It has been over three decades since we last saw this type of high-profile Russian military presence,” Kelly said at the March 13 hearing.

The U.S. military says it has been forced to cut back on its engagement with military and government officials in Latin America due to budget cuts. Kelly said the U.S. military had to cancel more than 200 effective engagement activities and multi-lateral exercises in Latin America last year.

With the American presence waning, officials say rivals such as Russia, China and Iran are quickly filling the void.

Obama's handling of all this -- gutting our military and strangling our energy production and exports for the sake of his ideology -- is either born of incredible incompetence or of active malice.