Historic Documents of 2014
Publication Year: 2015
Historic Documents is renowned for the well written and informative background, history, and context it provides for each document. The 2014 volume will begin with an insightful essay that sets the year's events in context, and each document or group of documents is preceded by a comprehensive introduction that provides background information on the event. Full-source citations are provided. Readers have easy access to material through a detailed, thematic table of contents and a cumulative five-year index that directs them to related material in earlier volumes.
- Front Matter
- Subject Index
- State of the Union Address and Republican Response
- ISIL Captures Fallujah; U.S. Vows Support for Iraq
- United Nations-Brokered Syrian Peace Talks Conclude without Agreement
- Sochi Hosts the 2014 Winter Olympic Games
- United Nations Report on North Korea's Human Rights Abuses
- Venezuelan Government Cracks Down on Protests Amid U.S. Concern
- Supreme Court Rules on Whistleblower Protection
- Crimea Votes to Secede from Ukraine
- Disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight
- President Obama's National Security Agency Reform Proposal Released
- Supreme Court Rules on Campaign Contributions
- U.S., Palestinian, and Israeli Leaders Remark on Peace Process
- President Obama Signs Wage Gap Executive Order
- Supreme Court Rules on Affirmative Action in Higher Education
- First Affordable Care Act Deadline Passes
- Nigerian Government and African Union Respond to Kidnapping by Boko Haram
- Supreme Court Rules on Prayer in Council Meetings
- European Union Court Backs Right to Be Forgotten in Google Case
- Federal Communications Commission Proposes Net Neutrality Rules
- Secretary Kerry and Prime Minister Modi Remark on Historic Indian Election
- Thai Military Seizes Power in Coup
- Veterans Affairs Secretary Resigns Amid Scathing Report
- President Obama Remarks on Release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl
- U.S., United Nations, and Swedish Leaders on Installation of Palestinian Unity Government
- Egyptian President Sisi on His Inauguration
- United Nations and U.S. Respond to Increasing Violence in Mosul
- House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on General Motors Ignition Switch Recall
- Supreme Court Rules on Aereo Television Service
- Supreme Court Rules on Cell Phone Privacy
- Supreme Court Rules on Affordable Care Act Birth Control Mandate
- Supreme Court Rules on Union Contributions by Public Employees
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Details Growing Refugee Crisis in Iraq and Syria
- U.S. and Iraqi Officials on New Iraqi Leadership
- California Death Penalty Declared Unconstitutional
- Preliminary Report on Downing of Malaysian Flight Released
- Iranian, European Union, and U.S. Leaders Remark on Nuclear Talks
- Local Officials Respond to Officer-Involved Shootings
- President Obama Signs LGBT Employment Protection Executive Order
- European Court of Human Rights Rules on Poland's Involvement with CIA Secret Prisons
- International Leaders Announce Sanctions Against Russia
- International Leaders on Ebola Outbreak in West Africa
- Senator Feinstein and the White House Remark on CIA Hacking
- United Nations Accuses Hamas of War Crimes
- Massachusetts Passes Nation's Toughest Gun Law
- President Obama Authorizes Airstrikes Against ISIL Targets
- European Commission on Slow Growth and New Investment Plans
- Chinese Standing Committee Reviews Universal Suffrage in Hong Kong
- Census Bureau Reports on Poverty in the United States
- President Obama Launches Campaign to Curb Campus Sexual Assault
- Scotland Votes Against Independence
- Secret Service Remarks on White House Security Breaches
- Yemen's President and Rebel Groups Sign Peace Agreement
- Unemployment Rate Falls; Federal Reserve Ends Controversial Bond Buying Program
- Supreme Court Rejects Same-Sex Marriage Appeals
- President Obama and Speaker Boehner Respond to 2014 Midterm Elections
- Response to 2014 Ballot Initiatives
- African Leaders Address Unrest in Burkina Faso
- European Space Agency Successfully Lands Spacecraft on Comet
- United States and China Agree to Historic Climate Change Pact
- President Obama Announces Executive Action on Immigration
- OPEC Fails to Respond to Falling Oil Prices
- Federal Response to Racial Profiling
- Early Elections Called in Greece Ahead of Bailout
- Senate Committee Releases Report on CIA Detention and Interrogation Program
- Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Two Child Rights Activists
- Attack on Pakistani Military School
- President Obama on Restoring Diplomatic Relations with Cuba
- Russian President on the State of Russia's Economy
- FBI and North Korea Respond to Sony Hack
- U.S.-NATO Coalition Officially Ends Combat Mission in Afghanistan
About SAGE[Page ii]
SAGE was founded in 1965 by Sara Miller McCune to support the dissemination of usable knowledge by publishing innovative and high-quality research and teaching content. Today, we publish more than 750 journals, including those of more than 300 learned societies, more than 800 new books per year, and a growing range of library products including archives, data, case studies, reports, conference highlights, and video. SAGE remains majority-owned by our founder, and after Sara's lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures our continued independence.
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Cover images: AP Images.
“Award Ceremony Speech.” December 10, 2014. © The Nobel Foundation 2014. Used with permission.
“Center for Reproductive Rights Statements on 2014 Anti-Choice Ballot Initiative Results.” November 5, 2014. Center for Reproductive Rights. Used with permission.
“Joint Remarks with Prime Minister Najib Razak, Western Australia.” April 3, 2014. Licensed from the Commonwealth of Australia under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License. The Commonwealth of Australia does not necessarily endorse the content of this publication. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/
“Radical Pro-Abortion Lobby Continues Effort to Silence TN Voters.” Yes on 1. November 8, 2014. Used with permission.
“Radical Pro-Abortion Lobby Continues Effort to Silence TN Voters.” November 8, 2014. Used with permission.
“OPEC 166th meeting concludes.”Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. November 27, 2014. Used with permission.
“Speech on the occasion of Opening Ceremony—126th Session.” February 4, 2014. Used with permission from the International Olympic Committee. http://www.olympic.org
“Statement of Mayor Martin J. Walsh on Gun Safety Legislation.” August 1, 2014. City of Boston. Used with permission.
“Stinging Defeats for Radical Anti-Hunting and Gun Control Groups.” National Rifle Association. Institute for Legislative Action. November 5, 2014. Used with permission.
“Touchdown! Rosetta's Philae Probe Lands on Comet.” November 12, 2014. European Space Agency. Used with permission.
“Transcripts of remarks by CE at media session.” August 31, 2014. Hong Kong SAR Government.
“Voters Across Country Accelerate Unprecedented Momentum to Legalize Marijuana, End Drug War.” Drug Policy Alliance. November 5, 2014. Used with permission.
“Washington State Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Citizens’ Initiatives to Expand Background Checks to All Gun Sales.” Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. November 5, 2014. Used with permission.
AFL-CIO. “Working-Class Voters Put the Economy First.” November 5, 2014. Used with permission.
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List of Document Sources[Page xxiii]
- House Committee on Energy and Commerce. “Opening Statement of the Honorable Fred Upton, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Hearing on ‘The GM Ignition Switch Recall: Investigation Update.’” June 18, 2014. 259
- House Committee on Energy and Commerce. “Opening Statement of the Honorable Tim Murphy, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Hearing on ‘The GM Ignition Switch Recall: Investigation Update.’” June 18, 2014. 257
- House Committee on Energy and Commerce. “Testimony of Mary T. Barra Before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations House Committee on Energy and Commerce.” June 18, 2014. 260
- House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “Statement of Julia A. Pierson, Director, United States Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security.” September 30, 2014. 471
- House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Chairman Royce Statement on Establishment of New Palestinian Government.” June 2, 2014. 234
- Office of the Speaker of the House John Boehner. “Full Text: 2014 Republican Address to the Nation.” January 28, 2014. 17
- Office of the Speaker of the House John Boehner. “Statement by Speaker Boehner on Outlook for the 114th Congress.” November 4, 2014. 504
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein. “Feinstein Statement on CIA IG Report.” July 31, 2014. 395
- Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “Report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program.” December 9, 2014. 600
- EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS, AGENCIES, FEDERAL OFFICES, AND COMMISSIONS
- Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. “Press Release.” October 29, 2014. 489
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation News Release.” October 3, 2014. 488
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “CDC Telebriefing on the Update on Ebola outbreak in West Africa.” July 31, 2014. 384
- Embassy of the United States in Iraq. “Deputy Secretary William Burns Completes Visit to Iraq for Strategic Consultations.” January 28, 2014. 24
- Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Update on Sony Investigation.” December 19, 2014. 640
- Federal Communications Commission. “FCC Launches Broad Rulemaking on How Best to Protect and Promote the Open Internet.” May 18, 2014. 187 [Page xxiv]
- Federal Communications Commission. “Statement of Chairman Tom Wheeler Re: Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet, GN Docket No. 14-28.” May 18, 2014. 189
- Federal Communications Commission. “Statement of Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn Re: Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet, GN Docket No. 14-28.” May 18, 2014. 191
- U.S. Census Bureau. “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013.” September 16, 2014. 442
- U.S. Census Bureau. “Poverty Rate Declines, Number of Poor Unchanged, Based on Supplemental Measure of Poverty.” October 16, 2014. 447
- U.S. Department of Defense. “Coup Leads U.S. to Curtail Thai Military Engagements.” May 24, 2014. 204
- U.S. Department of Defense. “Statement by Secretary of Defense ChuckHagel on Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Freedom's Sentinel.” December 28, 2014. 649
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Health Insurance Marketplace: Summary Enrollment Report for the Initial Annual Open Enrollment Period.” May 1, 2014. 152
- U.S. Department of Justice. “Attorney General Eric Holder Delivers RemarksDuring the Interfaith Service and Community Forum at Ebenezer Baptist Church.” December 1, 2014. 582
- U.S. Department of Justice. Foreign Agents Registration Act. “Venezuela Rejects U.S. Ploy to Promote a Coup d’état.” February 16, 2014. 68
- U.S. Department of Justice. “Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Regarding the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity.” December 8, 2014. 587
- U.S. Department of State. “Al-Qaeda's Resurgence in Iraq: A Threat to U.S. Interests.” February 5, 2014. 24
- U.S. Department of State. “Coup in Thailand.” May 22, 2014. 204
- U.S. Department of State. “Extension of Iran Nuclear Talks.” July 18, 2014. 342
- U.S. Department of State. “Indian Elections and Formation of New Government.” May 20, 2014. 198
- U.S. Department of State. “Recent Violence in Venezuela.” February 15, 2014. 67
- U.S. Department of State. “Remarks on Humanitarian Cease-fire Announcement in Gaza.” August 1, 2014. 124
- U.S. Department of State. “Remarks with Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Before Their Meeting.” April 9, 2014. 122
- U.S. Department of State. “U.S. Condemns ISIL Assault on Mosul.” June 10, 2014. 251
- U.S. Department of State. “U.S. Congratulates Iraqis on the Election of a Parliamentary Speaker.” July 15, 2015. 318
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Department of Veterans Affairs Access Audit System-Wide Review of Access.” June 3, 2014. 220
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Remarks by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki.” May 30, 2014 213
- U.S. Secret Service. “U.S. Secret Service Statement Regarding Fence Jumper.” September 20, 2014. 470 [Page xxv]
- INTERNATIONAL GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
- African Union. “The African Union welcomes the steps taken towards a civilian-led transition in Burkina Faso.” November 17, 2014. 539
- African Union. “Statement on the Kidnapping of the Nigerian School Girls from the Office of the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson's Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security.” May 8, 2014. 166
- Economic Community of West African States. “Communiqué Burkina Faso Crisis: Extraordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Authority.” November 5, 2015. 538
- European Commission. “August 2014: Economic Sentiment falls in the euro area and the EU.” August 28, 2014. 421
- European Commission. “Commissioner Moscovici's remarks at the second press conference of the Eurogroup.” December 8, 2014. 594
- European Commission. Court of Justice of the European Union. “An Internet search engine operator is responsible for the processing that it carries out of personal data which appear on web pages published by third parties.” May 13, 2014. 180
- European Commission. “Investing in Europe: speech by President Juncker in the European Parliament plenary session on the €315 billion Investment Plan.” November 26, 2014. 422
- European Commission. “Statement by Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, following the Greek parliament vote on the presidential candidate.” December 29, 2014. 595
- European Union Court of Human Rights. “Case of Al Nashiri v. Poland.” July 24, 2014. 365
- European Union. European External Action Service. “Joint Statement by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.” July 19, 2014. 344
- European Union. European Parliament. “The Peace and National Partnership Agreement.” September 21, 2014. 477
- Federal Republic of Nigeria. “Press Statement by the Hon. Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, on the Current Security Situation in the Country.” May 2, 2014. 164
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization. “NATO Secretary General's statement on a new chapter in Afghanistan.” December 28, 2014. 648
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization. “Statement of the NATO-Ukraine Commission.” April 1, 2014. 88
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “Refugee total hits 3 million as Syrians flee growing insecurity and worsening conditions.” August 29, 2014. 313
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “UNHCR head calls for urgent political solution to Iraq's deepening crisis.” July 18, 2014. 310
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “UNHCR in major air, land and sea humanitarian push into northern Iraq.” August 19, 2014. 311
- United Nations High Commission for Refugees. “UNHCR warns of dramatic consequences if funding gaps for Syrian refugees continue.” July 2, 2014. 309
- United Nations. News Centre. “Press statement of the Joint Special Representative Mr Lakhdar Brahimi on the conclusion of the first round of intra-Syrian talks—Geneva.” January 31, 2014. 34 [Page xxvi]
- United Nations. News Centre. “UN–Arab League envoy apologizes to Syrian people over stalemate in peace talks.” February 15, 2014. 36
- United Nations. News Centre. “UN chief welcomes formation of Palestinian unity government.” June 3, 2014. 234
- United Nations. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid. “Iraq: Mass displacements prompt urgent plea.” June 24, 2014. 252
- United Nations. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. “Pillay condemns continuing attacks on civilians in Gaza.” July 31, 2014. 401
- United Nations. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. “Report of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.” 52
- United Nations. “Statement Attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Iraq.” June 10, 2014. 251
- United Nations. “With Spread of Ebola Outpacing Response, Security Council Adopts Resolution 2177 (2014) Urging Immediate Action, End to Isolation of Affected States.” September 18, 2014. 388
- INTERNATIONAL NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
- European Space Agency. “Touchdown! Rosetta's Philae Probe Lands on Comet.” November 12, 2014. 544
- International Olympic Committee. “Speech on the occasion of Opening Ceremony Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.” February 4, 2014. 47
- The Nobel Foundation. “Award Ceremony Speech.” December 10, 2014. 610
- Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. “OPEC 166th meeting concludes.” November 27, 2014. 574
- World Health Organization. “WHO Director-General, west African presidents to launch intensified Ebola outbreak response plan.” July 31, 2014. 383
- Xinhua News Agency. “Full text of NPC decision on universal suffrage for HK Chief Executive selection.” August 31, 2014. 431
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Jones v. Chappell. Case No. CV-09-02158-CJC. 324
- U.S. Supreme Court. American Broadcast Cos. v. Aereo. 573 U.S.__(2014). 265
- U.S. Supreme Court. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. 573 U.S.__(2014). 290
- U.S. Supreme Court. Harris v. Quinn. 573 U.S.__(2014). 299
- U.S. Supreme Court. Lawson v. FMR LLC. 571 U.S.__(2014). 76
- U.S. Supreme Court. McCutcheon v. FEC. 572 U.S.__(2014). 110
- U.S. Supreme Court. Riley v. California. 573 U.S.__(2014). 275
- U.S. Supreme Court. Schuette v. BAMN. 572 U.S.__(2014). 140
- U.S. Supreme Court. Town of Greece v. Galloway. 572 U.S.__(2014). 170 [Page xxvii]
- NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
- AFL-CIO. “Working-Class Voters Put the Economy First.” November 5, 2014. 530
- Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “Washington State Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Citizens’ Initiatives to Expand Background Checks to All Gun Sales.” November 5, 2014. 526
- Center for Reproductive Rights. “Center for Reproductive Rights Statements on 2014 Anti-Choice Ballot Initiative Results.” November 5, 2014. 531
- Drug Policy Alliance. “Voters Across Country Accelerate Unprecedented Momentum to Legalize Marijuana, End Drug War.” November 5, 2014. 528
- National Rifle Association. Institute for Legislative Action. “StingingDefeats for Radical Anti-Hunting and Gun Control Groups.” November 5, 2014. 527
- Yes on 1. “Radical Pro-Abortion Lobby Continues Effort to Silence TN Voters.” November 8, 2014. 533
- NON-U.S. GOVERNMENTS
- Benjamin Netanyahu Official Website. “Prime Minister Netanyahu made the following remarks today at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting 6.4.14.” April 6, 2014. 121
- Dutch Safety Board. “Preliminary report involving Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 flight MH17.” September 9, 2014. 337
- Egyptian State Information Service. “Statement by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi at the ceremony marking his inauguration at Qasr el-Qubba Palace.” June 8, 2014. 241
- Government of Hong Kong. “Transcripts of remarks by CE at media session.” August 31, 2014. 435
- Government of Netherlands. “Statement by Prime Minister Mark Rutte in response to the Ukraine air disaster.” July 17, 2014. 333
- Government of Sweden. “Address at The Cairo Conference on Palestine—Reconstructing Gaza.” October 12, 2014. 235
- Government of Ukraine. “Press-briefing of Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenuyk on MH17 attack.” July 21, 2014. 333
- House of Commons. “Oral Answers to Questions.” November 27, 2014. 464
- Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Statement by MOFA.” April 9, 2014. 29
- Korean Central News Agency. “KCNA Commentary Slams Artifice by Political Swindlers.” April 22, 2014. 62
- Korean Central News Agency. “U.S. Urged to Honestly Apologize to Mankind for Its Evil Doing before Groundlessly Pulling up Others.” December 21, 2014. 641
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Kingdom of Thailand. “Unofficial translation National Broadcast by General Prayut Chan-o-cha Head of the National Council for Peace and Order 6 June 2014.” June 6, 2014. 205
- Ministry of Information. State of Palestine. “Khalefa: Lieberman's Profanity stinking blemish.” April 17, 2014. 123 [Page xxviii]
- The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China. “Top legislator hails HK election method decision.” August 31, 2014. 435
- Office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. “PM Najib Razak's Press Statement on MH370.” March 24, 2014. 96
- Office of the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. “Political Leadership Vows Indiscriminate Action Against Terrorists.” December 17, 2014. 617
- Office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. “Prime Minister's Statement on Flight MH370.” March 15, 2014. 93
- Official Website of the President of Ukraine. “Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov makes a statement to Ukrainian people regarding the situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.” March 6, 2014. 86
- Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Terrorist Attack in Peshawar.” December 16, 2014. 617
- President of Russia. “Ceremony signing the laws on admitting Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation.” March 21, 2014. 87
- President of Russia. “News conference of Vladimir Putin.” December 18, 2014. 630
- President of Russia. “Opening of International Olympic Committee Session in Sochi.” February 4, 2014. 45
- Prime Minister of Australia. “Joint Remarks with Prime Minister Najib Razak, Western Australia.” April 3, 2014. 97
- Prime Minister of Australia. “Statement to the House of Representatives Regarding Flight MH370.” March 24, 2014. 95
- Prime Minister of India. “Narendra Modi shares press release stating the new Ministry Formation as a step towards Smart Governance.” May 26, 2014. 199
- Prime Minister of India. “Shri Narendra Modi assumes office as 15th Prime Minister of India.” May 27, 2014. 200
- Prime Minister's Office. Scotland Office. “Scottish Independence Referendum: statement by the Prime Minister.” September 19, 2014. 461
- The Scottish Government. “First Minister on Referendum Outcome.” September 19, 2014. 463
- U.S. STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
- City of Boston. “Statement of Mayor Martin J. Walsh on Gun Safety Legislation.” August 1, 2014. 410
- City of New York. “Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Holds Media Availability With Police Commissioner Bratton on the Death of Eric Garner.” July 18, 2014. 349
- Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services. “Changes to the Laws Concerning Firearms Licensing and Gun Sales in Massachusetts.” August 13, 2014. 410
- Office of the Governor of Missouri. “A message from Gov. Jay Nixon about the situation in Ferguson.” August 19, 2014. 353
- Office of Utah Governor Gary Herbert. “Gov. Herbert statement on Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriage.” October 6, 2014. 495 [Page xxix]
- Office of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “Governor McAuliffe Signs Executive Order Directing State Agencies to Comply with Same-Sex Marriage Ruling.” October 7, 2014. 496
- State of Indiana. Office of Governor Mike Pence. “Governor Pence Issues Statement Regarding U.S. Supreme Court's Decision Regarding Same-sex Marriage in Indiana.” October 6, 2014. 495
- WHITE HOUSE AND THE PRESIDENT
- Executive Office of the President. “Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the State of the Union.” January 28, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00050 (January 28, 2014). 6
- Executive Office of the President. “Address to the Nation on Immigration Reform.” November 20, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00877 (November 20, 2014). 561
- Executive Office of the President. “Address to the Nation on United States Policy Toward Cuba.” December 17, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00937 (December 17, 2014). 622
- Executive Office of the President. “Executive Order 13665—Non-Retaliation for Disclosure of Compensation Information.” April 8, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00250 (April 8, 2014). 130
- Executive Office of the President. “Executive Order 13672—Further Amendments to Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government, and Executive Order 11246, Equal Employment Opportunity.” July 21, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00553 (July 21, 2014). 358
- Executive Office of the President. “Executive Order 13684—Establishment of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.” December 18, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00943 (December 18, 2014). 588
- Executive Office of the President. “Memorandum on Creating Welcoming Communities and Fully Integrating Immigrants and Refugees.” November 21, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00882 (November 21, 2014). 567
- Executive Office of the President. “Memorandum on Modernizing and Streamlining the United States Immigrant Visa System for the 21st Century.” November 21, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00881 (November 21, 2014). 565
- Executive Office of the President. “Remarks Announcing the ‘It's On Us’ Campaign to Prevent Sexual Assault on College Campuses.” September 19, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00680 (September 19, 2014). 453
- Executive Office of the President. “Remarks Following a Meeting With Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq in New York City.” September 24, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00700 (September 24, 2014). 318
- Executive Office of the President. “Remarks on the Resignation of Eric K. Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Appointment of Sloan D. Gibson as Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs and an Exchange With Reporters.” May 30, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00408 (May 30, 2014). 214 [Page xxx]
- Executive Office of the President. “Remarks on Signing an Executive Order on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Employment Discrimination.” July 21, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00552 (July 21, 2014). 359
- Executive Office of the President. “Remarks on Signing an Executive Order on Non-Retaliation for Disclosure of Compensation Information and a Memorandum on Advancing Pay Equality Through Compensation Data Collection.” Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00249 (April 8, 2014). 132
- Executive Office of the President. “Remarks on the Release of Sergeant Bowe R. Bergdahl, USA, From Captivity by Taliban Forces in Afghanistan.” May 31, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00420 (May 31, 2014). 227
- Executive Office of the President. “Remarks on the Situation in Iraq.” August 7, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00602 (August 7, 2014). 414
- Executive Office of the President. “Remarks on the United States Response to the Ebola Epidemic in West Africa and an Exchange With Reporters.” October 28, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00798 (October 28, 2014). 390
- Executive Office of the President. “Statement on International Sanctions Against Russia.” September 11, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00656 (September 11, 2014). 379
- Executive Office of the President. “Statement on the National Security Agency's Section 215 Bulk Telephony Metadata Program.” March 27, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00213 (March 27, 2014). 102
- Executive Office of the President. “Statement on the Release of Sergeant Bowe R. Bergdahl, USA, From Captivity by Taliban Forces in Afghanistan.” May 31, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00419 (May 31, 2014). 226
- Executive Office of the President. “The President's News Conference.” November 5, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00820 (November 5, 2014). 505
- Executive Office of the President. “The President's News Conference With President Xi Jinping of China in Beijing, China.” November 12, 2014. Compilation of Presidential Documents 2014, no. 00848 (November 12, 2014). 552
- The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. “G-7 Leaders Statement on Ukraine.” July 31, 2014. 378
- The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. “Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest, 7/31/2014.” July 31, 2014. 395
- The White House. “U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change.” November 9, 2014. 550
President Barack Obama's executive orders on immigration, the wage gap, and LGBT employment protections amidst continued congressional gridlock and midterm elections, landmark Supreme Court rulings on campaign contributions and the Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate, the Supreme Court's rejection of same-sex marriage appeals, historic movement on climate change initiatives, reports on human rights violations across the globe, the momentous election of a new Indian prime minister while the military seizes power in Thailand, debate regarding Internet neutrality and the right to be forgotten in Google searches, an Ebola outbreak that caused international alarm, continued tensions in the Middle East and the compounded refugee crisis as the civil war in Syria marches on, the growing threat from terrorist groups ISIL and Boko Haram, and the secession of Crimea from Ukraine and subsequent sanctions against Russia by the United States and European Union are just a few of the topics of national and international significance chosen for discussion in Historic Documents of 2014. This edition marks the forty-third volume of a CQ Press project that began with Historic Documents of 1972. This series allows students, librarians, journalists, scholars, and others to research and understand the most important domestic and foreign issues and events of the year through primary source documents. To aid research, many of the lengthy documents written for specialized audiences have been excerpted to highlight the most important sections. The official statements, news conferences, speeches, special studies, and court decisions presented here should be of lasting public and academic interest.
Historic Documents of 2014 opens with an “Overview of 2014,” a sweeping narrative of the key events and issues of the year, which provides context for the documents that follow. The balance of the book is organized chronologically, with each article comprising an introduction titled “Document in Context” and one or more related documents on a specific event, issue, or topic. Often an event is not limited to a particular day. Consequently, readers will find that some events include multiple documents that may span several months. Their placement in the book corresponds to the date of the first document included for that event. The event introductions provide context and an account of further developments during the year. A thematic table of contents (page xvii) and a list of documents organized by source (page xxiii) follow the standard table of contents and assist readers in locating events and documents.
As events, issues, and consequences become more complex and far-reaching, these introductions and documents yield important information and deepen understanding about the world's increasing interconnectedness. As memories of current events fade, these selections will continue to further understanding of the events and issues that have shaped the lives of people around the world.[Page xxxii]
How to Use This Book[Page xxxiii]
Each of the seventy entries in this edition consists of two parts: a comprehensive introduction followed by one or more primary source documents. The articles are arranged in chronological order by month. Articles with multiple documents are placed according to the date of the first document. There are several ways to find events and documents of interest:
- By date: If the approximate date of an event or document is known, browse through the titles for that month in the table of contents. Alternatively, browse the tables of contents that appear at the beginning of each month's articles.
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Overview of 2014[Page xxxv]
In the United States, 2014 was a battleground of contentious November midterm election campaigns. President Barack Obama, frustrated by the lack of action in Congress, took a number of executive actions on issues ranging from protections from discrimination in the workplace based on gender identity or sexual orientation, to deferring the deportation of some of the eleven million illegal immigrants currently in the United States. Republicans seized the opportunity to paint the president as overstepping his authority. Both parties worked to prove that they could help grow the middle class, which suffered the greatest losses during the recession and has struggled to regain a foothold. After the November election, Republicans kept control of the House of Representatives and took control of the Senate. The party also won a majority of the governorships and state legislatures that were up for election. Overall, the federal and state victories were some of the largest ever for the party.
Internationally, the year was dominated by ongoing turmoil in the Middle East and tension between Russia and Ukraine. In the Middle East, Syria's civil war entered its fourth year, and despite months of negotiations, the rebels were unable to reach a meaningful peace agreement with the government of President Bashar al Assad. The ongoing fighting in the nation has displaced millions and led to the deaths of tens of thousands. The weakened Syrian state also gave rise to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a militant group that claimed land in Syria and Iraq throughout 2014 with the intent of imposing strict seventh century Islamic Sharia law. The international community struggled with how best to thwart the group's rise. Israel and Palestine intended to work toward a peace agreement with each other, but with the April announcement that the Hamas and Fatah factions had formed a unity government in Palestine, Israel ended the talks indefinitely before any agreement could be reached. Tensions between Russia and Ukraine ignited in March when the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea voted to become part of Russia. Russian president Vladimir Putin's government annexed the territory, which led to sanctions from the United States and European Union. Violence escalated along the border toward the end of the year as Russia funneled more troops into Ukraine, in support of new separatist movements that had sprung up in Eastern Ukraine. The continued isolation of Russia on the world stage had a significant impact on its economy, which was already struggling after the steep decline in oil prices in the second half of 2014.Domestic Issues
April marked the first enrollment deadline for the president's landmark piece of healthcare legislation, known as the Affordable Care Act. In total, more than eight million Americans were able to sign up for health insurance through the federal exchange or one of thirteen state-based exchanges. Republicans in Congress have fought since the law's inception to [Page xxxvi]repeal it or roll back some of its provisions, and Republican control of the House and Senate beginning in 2015 will likely mean new attempts to repeal many parts of the law.
After months of gridlock and inaction in Congress, President Obama undertook a number of executive actions throughout the year. In April, in an attempt to close the wage gap between men and women, the president signed an executive order and presidential memorandum to enable employees of federal contractors to discuss their wages with colleagues and required employers to be more transparent about their compensation structure. In July, the president signed a pair of executive orders extending workplace and hiring protections with regard to gender identity and sexual orientation to federal employees and the employees of federal contractors. In the fall, the president undertook his most controversial executive actions that sought to address the approximately eleven million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. The president's actions included improved border security and enforcement, as well as a program that would defer deportations for a specific portion of undocumented immigrants. Republicans accused the president of offering amnesty to all illegal immigrants currently in the country.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) came under fire in April when a whistleblower brought to light secret waiting lists at the Phoenix VA hospital, which had left hundreds of veterans without much-needed medical assistance and ultimately led to at least eighteen deaths. VA secretary Eric Shinseki ordered an internal audit of all VA facilities, which revealed widespread delays in care. Ultimately, on May 30, Shinseki resigned amid pressure from both parties in Congress for his failure to amend the shortcomings highlighted by the report. His interim successor, Sloan Gibson, told Congress that fixing the current problems at the VA will require hiring 1,500 new doctors and 8,500 new nurses and clinicians and would cost approximately $17.6 billion.
In May, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sparked a major debate when it released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for network neutrality, the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should not block or slow access to certain websites or content. The notice sought to gather public opinion on how best to protect an open Internet. Over the course of four months, the FCC received largely critical reaction, some of which came from telecommunications providers who argued that reclassifying ISPs as a utility would lead to burdensome and unnecessary regulations that would ultimately hurt the service provided to customers. The FCC received around four million comments in response to its proposed regulations.
The shooting of two unarmed black men by white police officers, in separate incidents in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, brought race relations to the forefront. In both instances, the grand juries opted not to bring charges against the police officers involved in the shootings. This sparked protests across the country and calls for greater accountability for police departments. President Obama called on Attorney General Eric Holder to formulate a plan to open the lines of communication between the police and communities of color. The Department of Justice in December released revised regulations that prohibit officers from using racial profiling in certain federal law enforcement activities.
Following an admission by the CIA in July that it had hacked into Senate Select Committee on Intelligence computers, in December portions of the committee's report on CIA interrogation techniques were released. The report alleged that CIA officials had misled Congress and the White House about the effectiveness of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” such as waterboarding, rectal feeding, and long-term isolation, which were being used to gain information from captured terrorists. According to the report, some of [Page xxxvii]these potentially illegal techniques had not been approved or were being used outside the bounds of their original intent, and many failed to produce useful information. The CIA defended its programs, noting that the Senate report did not paint a complete picture.
In December, President Obama announced that he would work with Cuban leader Raúl Castro to normalize relations between the two countries, which had been estranged since the late 1950s. The normalization will include removing sanctions on exports to Cuba, lifting a travel ban for American citizens, and establishing a diplomatic presence in Cuba. The agreement also included the immediate release of two Americans who were detained in Cuba, along with the remaining three members of the Cuban Five. Many Republicans in Congress lashed out at the president's decision, arguing that the agreement gave too much power to a dictatorial state.U.S. Midterm Elections
Ahead of the November midterm elections, Republicans and Democrats placed a heavy focus on which party could best help the middle class. In October 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released its monthly jobs report, which showed that the September unemployment rate hit 5.9 percent, the lowest level in six years. It declined even further by December to 5.6 percent. However, despite continued job growth, wages had stagnated and the benefits of a growing economy unequally impacted the various classes.
A major upset occurred during primary season, when House minority leader Eric Cantor of Virginia lost to David Brat, a professor at Randolph-Macon College, despite outspending Brat by nearly $2 million. Cantor ultimately resigned his seat before the midterm election. Even after the loss, heading into November, Republicans were expected to retain control of the House of Representatives and potentially gain control of the Senate. Republicans needed a net gain of six seats to take majority control from the Democrats. When the final congressional race was decided on December 6, the Republican Party held all its seats and won nine new ones, including the unseating of incumbent Democrats in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, and North Carolina.
Shortly after their victory, Congressional Republicans began outlining some of their strategies for the next Congress, which would begin in January 2015. According to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and soon-to-be majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. this included a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. Republican leadership also noted that they hoped to avoid some of the political brinksmanship that had plagued the past few Congresses and eroded public confidence.
The election, in which spending reached an all-time high of nearly $4 billion, also marked a major victory for the Republican Party in the states, where Republicans won a majority of the governorships and legislatures. Democrats suffered major losses in the historically Democratic states of Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts, where Republicans won the gubernatorial races.
Despite the gains made by largely conservative politicians, the electorate was decidedly more liberal in how it voted for the nearly 150 ballot initiatives that appeared in a number of states. These included votes to legalize recreational marijuana use in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., and a vote in Washington State to increase background checks on gun purchasers. There were a variety of conservative issues on the ballot as well, which passed primarily in Republican-leaning states. These included a measure in Tennessee to add language to the state constitution that would allow the legislature to make decisions on changing, repealing, or enacting laws on abortion.[Page xxxviii]U.S. Supreme Court Decisions
The Supreme Court heard a number of polarizing cases during its 2013–2014 term. Perhaps its most impactful case of the year, however, came when the Court decided not to rule on same-sex marriage appeals. This effectively legalized same-sex marriage in a number of states. For the first time, following the Court's inaction, same-sex couples were able to marry in a majority of states.
On April 22, the Supreme Court issued its second major ruling on affirmative action in university admissions in less than a year. In Schuette v. BAMN, the Court looked at the constitutionality of a voter-passed Michigan constitutional amendment that prohibited the use of race in school admissions. In four separate opinions, the Court ruled 6–2 that the Michigan law should be upheld in an effort to avoid disempowering voters.
In May, the Court ruled on prayer in city council meetings in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway. In its ruling, the Supreme Court looked specifically at the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and whether it had been violated when town board meetings were opened with Christian prayers. The divided 5–4 ruling, written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, said there was no violation of the Constitution, noting that prayer before government meetings was instilled in the history and tradition of the United States.
Fourth Amendment rights were challenged in the June ruling of Riley v. California in which the Court was challenged with addressing search and seizure protections in the digital age. The Court ruled unanimously that police must obtain a warrant before searching the cell phone of someone who has been arrested. The case was considered a huge victory for digital privacy rights.
The issue of union dues was before the Supreme Court in 2014, specifically, whether quasi-government employees in Illinois could be forced to pay union dues for a union of which they choose not to be a full-fledged member. In its June 30 decision in Harris v. Quinn, the Court ruled 5–4 that the home care workers in the case could not be forced to pay union dues. The Court did not go as far as to determine whether other groups of public employees could also be forced to pay union dues, but the case left the door open for future litigation.
In 2010, the Supreme Court issued a controversial ruling on campaign finance in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. That ruling gave corporations and labor unions the ability to spend infinite amounts of money in support of or opposition to candidates for elected office. In April 2014, the Court followed with its ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which eliminated a $123,000 cap on how much an individual can donate in total during one election cycle. The decision left intact the $5,200 limit on how much can be spent by an individual on any one candidate.
On the final day before its summer recess, the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. et al., its second major decision on the Affordable Care Act of 2010. In this case, Hobby Lobby argued that the requirement for employers to provide contraceptive services violated the religious freedoms of closely held corporations that object to such items on religious grounds. The Court ultimately ruled 5–4 in favor of Hobby Lobby. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said that the federal government could not force these corporations to provide coverage for methods of birth control that are in direct violation of the religious beliefs of the company's owner.[Page xxxix]Foreign AffairsMiddle East Turmoil
Internationally, the year began with a flurry of activity surrounding the ongoing civil war in Syria. Violence began with the Arab Spring uprising in 2011, and when President Assad refused to resign and instead began cracking down on protests, rebel groups formed and for the past three years have clashed with the state military. The violence has killed tens of thousands and driven millions from their homes. In January and February, the United Nations sponsored two rounds of peace talks aimed at securing a ceasefire between the rebels and supporters of Assad. Despite two weeks of meetings, the more than forty participating countries were unable to negotiate any peace deal. An agenda for a third round of negotiations was drafted, but the talks remain in doubt as rebels continue to demand a transitional government that Assad does not head, while the president refuses to acquiesce to those he deems “terrorists.”
In Egypt, another Middle Eastern nation that saw its government thrown into upheaval during Arab Spring, military chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi won the May presidential election with 97 percent of the vote. His election came on the heels of the approval of a new Egyptian draft constitution. Sisi has consolidated power in the executive and pushed back indefinitely parliamentary elections that were scheduled for March 2015. Sisi's election has been questioned by international observers who note that his opponents have been arrested and prevented from casting a vote. To garner support within Egypt, Sisi has used the media to create a cult of personality that has allowed him to push through unpopular initiatives, including the slashing of oil subsidies.
The long-running tension between Israel and Palestine dragged on into 2014 as the two nations continued peace talks brokered by the United States. Israel criticized Palestine's decision to seek entrance into a variety of international organizations, including the International Criminal Court, as a clear indication of their unwillingness to compromise. Israel ultimately canceled the talks after Hamas and Fatah announced the formation of a Palestinian unity government in April. In June, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank by a Hamas operative in what the UN classified as a war crime. In response, the Israeli military launched a seven-week assault, which led to rocket attacks by militants. In August, Egyptian mediators were able to secure a permanent ceasefire, but prospects for renewed negotiations on a final peace agreement between Israel and Palestine remain dim.
The nuclear talks between China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, United States, and Iran continued into 2014 beginning with a three-day meeting in Vienna. The group set a July deadline for a final agreement to be reached with Iran that would limit its nuclear capabilities to only nonmilitary production, likely in exchange for a reduction in sanctions. Negotiators made some progress, but because of the ongoing disagreement between the two sides, the deadline was initially extended into November, and then again to June 30, 2015.Human Rights Violations in North Korea
In February, the United Nations (UN) released an extensive report on “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations” occurring in North Korea. The report, which was written with the assistance of confidential interviews with victims, details [Page xl]the crimes against humanity committed by the secretive state including “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons, and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.” The report recommended that the UN Security Council refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court. The government of Kim Jong Un rejected the report's findings, calling it an attempt by the United States to further undermine and isolate the regime. North Korea released its own human rights report, noting the many freedoms instilled in the nation's constitution, and denying allegations in the UN report. When it appeared in October that the United Nations might take action related to the report, North Korea somewhat softened its stance, reopened high-level talks with South Korea, gave a rare briefing before the United Nations, released three American detainees, and opened the possibility of the UN's special rapporteur on human rights visiting North Korea and conducting a new investigation.Terrorism in Africa
In April, the terrorist organization Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 teenage girls from a school in northeastern Nigeria. The Islamic jihadist group's rise has displaced more than one million Nigerians and resulted in thousands of deaths. Citizens around the world called on the government of Goodluck Jonathan to act aggressively to secure the release of the schoolgirls. By the close of 2014, the girls had not been released, despite an agreement reached between the Nigerian army and Boko Haram. In December, the Taliban staged its own school attack when it entered a school for children of Pakistani military members and indiscriminately killed 132 students. This marked the worst attack carried out by the Taliban in Pakistan.Political, Economic Challenges in Europe
In September, Scottish citizens went to the polls to vote on a referendum to make Scotland independent of the United Kingdom. Supporters of the measure argued that such a move would be financially beneficial for Scotland because it would be able to retain all the revenue from its offshore oil reserves. Opponents said devolution would hurt the country because oil revenue was steadily declining and it would need to seek entry into a variety of international organizations, such as the European Union. Ultimately, voters decided to remain a part of the United Kingdom, but Scottish leaders did secure some additional powers for Scotland, such as taxation and borrowing.
The European economy continued to struggle throughout 2014, and economic indicators released for the second quarter of the year showed slower than expected growth, some of which was caused by the ongoing tension along the Russia-Ukraine border in response to Crimea's decision to break away from Ukraine. The International Monetary Fund encouraged eurozone nations to take a new approach to recovery and focus on growth-promoting investments rather than austerity policies. Much of the debate over improving finances revolved around heavily indebted Greece, where the standing government lost a vote of confidence in December, which led to new elections.[Page xli]Global Issues
Countries around the world came together to fight the Ebola virus as it spread across West Africa and ultimately into other nations including the United States and Spain. The outbreak that began in December 2013 was considered the deadliest since the virus was first discovered. The virus heavily impacted Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and resulted in an estimated 10,000 deaths by early 2015. One person died from the disease in the United States after traveling from Liberia; two nurses also became infected but recovered.
The U.S.-led coalition combat mission in Afghanistan quietly came to an end in December 2014. Thousands of troops, many of them American, will remain in the country through 2016 as part of the Bilateral Security Agreement signed by U.S. and Afghan leaders. These troops will be responsible for training Afghan troops and assisting in counterintelligence measures.
Economically, one of the largest issues of 2014 was falling oil prices. The price of oil had hovered around $100 per barrel since 2010, but rapidly declined through the second half of 2014, down to $60 per barrel by December. The drop in prices was largely due to decreased demand following the global economic recession and greater attempts to reduce oil consumption in favor of more environmentally friendly fuels in a number of nations. Increased oil exploration in North America also contributed to the global oversupply. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) failed to take action to raise prices, largely because Saudi Arabia, a leading oil producer, feared that if it cut back production it would lose market share and struggle once the market picked up. Falling prices positively impacted consumers, but for oil producing giants such as Iran, Russia, and Venezuela declining revenue strained budgets.Tension Rises Between Russia and Ukraine
In late 2013, under heavy pressure from Russia, Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych decided not to sign a free trade agreement with the European Union. The move, which was thought to be a first step toward eventual inclusion in the European Union, sparked months of protests between those who supported closer ties with the European Union and those who preferred to remain close to Russia. By mid-February, Yanukovych fled the country and was subsequently impeached. He was temporarily replaced by pro-European leader Oleksandr Turchynov. On May 24, Ukrainians elected a new leader, pro-Western former foreign affairs minister Petro Poroshenko.
In Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula where Russia maintains a strategic military base, pro-Russian protests began following the February impeachment, and Russia reportedly sent additional troops into the region in violation of standing agreements. The peninsula's parliament voted to dissolve its local government and called a referendum on autonomy on March 16. Voters overwhelmingly approved the resolution in favor of breaking away from Ukraine and becoming part of Russia.
Russia considered the vote to be in accordance with international law and therefore signed a treaty with Crimea to outline how the peninsula, which is geographically separated from Russia, would be assimilated. Tensions between the two nations escalated, and Russian troops began moving into Eastern Ukraine, something Russian leaders fiercely denied despite photographic evidence that those involved in the fighting were wearing Russian uniforms. Russia and Ukraine agreed to a ceasefire on April 17, but fighting [Page xlii]quickly resumed five days later when Ukraine accused Russia of violating the agreement. The situation grew direr in July when a passenger plane with 298 onboard was shot down over eastern Ukraine, reportedly by pro-Russian separatists using a weapon supplied by the Russian government. Another ceasefire followed in September, but after Russia supported new referendums in Eastern Ukraine for additional breakaway states, Russia again began building up its troops along the shared border.
The United States and European Union immediately sanctioned Russia following the annexation. In June, the Group of 8 refused to allow Russia to join its annual meeting of world leaders, and the member nations imposed a new round of travel and financial sanctions on President Vladimir Putin's government. The United States, European Union, and other nations added a third round of sanctions in September, and, in December, Congress quietly approved more sanctions and also authorized arms sales to Ukraine. Russia imposed its own sanctions on the United States and European Union in response, including banning the import of fruits and vegetables, a costly blow to EU nations. The mounting sanctions hurt the already weakened Russian economy, where, combined with falling oil prices, the country's currency lost nearly a fifth of its value by the end of the year.ISIL Militants
Perhaps one of the biggest international challenges in 2014 was how to stop the rise of the militant group known as ISIL—the group is alternately referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and the Islamic State, or IS. The radical wing of al Qaeda began gaining power in 2013 in Syria, taking advantage of the weakened state to find supporters. It slowly moved into Iraq, where in 2014 it captured a number of strategically important cities including Fallujah, Mosul, and Ramadi. The Iraqi government struggled to respond and encouraged tribal leaders to take up arms to fight back. In Ramadi, this effort paid off. However, in Fallujah and Mosul, ISIL fighters, who number less than 3,000, were joined by sleeper cells and other insurgent groups who helped easily overrun Iraqi military units numbering in the tens of thousands.
The United States, which has an interest in fighting terrorism in the region, was cautious in its response because it did not want to re-involve itself in another ground war after officially ending its Iraq combat mission in 2011. Early in 2014, the United States served mainly in a support capacity, providing training and strategic assistance to the Iraqi military. The country also provided helicopters, missiles, and surveillance vehicles. In a televised address to the nation in August, President Obama announced that he had authorized airstrikes against ISIL militants in an effort to protect U.S. interests in Iraq. In September, the president approved nonmilitary actions including humanitarian assistance, sending 475 support troops to Iraq, and providing intelligence capabilities to stop the movement of militants across the region. Congress provided additional funds to help combat ISIL in December as part of its defense reauthorization.
The UN raised the alarm throughout the year that ISIL's rise was intensifying the refugee crisis in the region as more Iraqis and Syrians fled the violence. Many of these refugees fled to Mount Sinjar in Kurdistan, where they became trapped and dependent on American-led rescue missions. Others crossed the border into Turkey, where the government was struggling to keep up with the volume of refugees from Syria's civil war and had already invested billions into social services for its refugee population. The United Nations made a number of pleas to the international community to support the countries that were housing refugees.—