Syria: Russian victory, American defeat

See Stefan Kornelius, “Syrien: Wo bleiben die USA?,” Sueddeutsche Zeitung,
7. Februar 2016 (22:05 Uhr).

“Ein offener Staaten-Krieg mit Syrien im Zentrum steht kurz bevor. Die Amerikaner schauen ziemlich hilflos zu. Dabei bräuchten die Türkei, die Golf-Staaten und Europa dringend mehr Führung.”

In Syria, events are spinning faster and faster out of control.

Yet one needs the sweep of vision of a historian’s eye to take in all that is occurring simultaneously in the world, while trying to connect the dots.

The Geneva III Conference on Syria collapsed almost before it started, as Russian warplanes intervened decisively in Syria to defeat the anti-government rebels supported by the U.S. and the Gulf states.

In the United States and Europe, governments’ silence towards these events has been deafening.

In North Korea, Kim Jong-Un tests a nuclear weapon, launches a satellite with a long-range missile which could soon become an ICBM, and resumes production of uranium and plutonium which could be used for nuclear bombs. The breakdown in international order emanating from Syria, Iraq, and the Ukraine ripples throughout the world.

Meanwhile, the Russian president, acting through Chechnyan president Ramzan Kadyrov, openly  threatens to kill one of the leading opposition figures, in a manner chillingly reminiscent of the assassanation of Boris Nemtzov on February 27, 2015.


“Russian Opposition Leader Attacked in Moscow Restaurant,” The Moscow Times. February 10, 2016 (12:23 h).

Julia Smirnova (Moskau), “Einsatz für Russland: Kadyrows beste Kämpfer sind in Syrien; Der tschetschenische Präsident Ramsan Kadyrow verkauft seine Teilrepublik im russischen Fernsehen als Erfolgsmodell für die Terrorbekämpfung. Dabei geht es ihm allein um die Gunst eines Mannes,” Die Welt, 9. Februar 2016.

The West, including  the U.S. and Europe, continue their policies of appeasement and virtual pacifism in the face of Russia’s perfidious role at Geneva, its brazen air attacks in Syria aimed not at ISIS but at the opposition forces, and its continuing aggression against  the Ukraine, in the Crimea and in the eastern Ukraine.

Tens of thousands of civilians are forced from their homes in Aleppo, and are on the run toward the border of Turkey, which for the moment does not seem inclined to let them in.

Putin has achieved his primary objective of maintaining Bashar al-Assad in power, and even strengthening his military position in the field.

How can we briefly summarize these events and their likely consequences?

One thought comes ro mind:  Russian victory, American defeat.

Other thoughts  follow close behind:

ACT!  Shun Putin and his dictatorial regime, which now stoops to open threats of assassination of internal opposition leaders!

ACT!  Impose much harsher sectoral sanctions on Russia for its continuing illegal occupation of the Crimea and its ongoing invasion of the Eastern Ukraine!

THINK!  Putin and Russia have been acting like enemies of the West, and have indeed become enemies of the West. However painful that may be, it is a fact.  Look at it!

UNDERSTAND!  Putin is not your friend or partner, and will never become your friend or partner!

STOP AND CONTAIN!  Beginning now, take forceful measures to stop and contain Putin and Russia!

In the Crimea. In the eastern Ukraine.  In Syria. With Turkey. In the Baltics. In eastern Europe.

To quote Winston Churchill:

“Never give up!

Never give up!

Never give up!”

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.