Putin calls Trump, is reassured, and resumes bombing in Syria



Christina Hebel und Christoph Sydow (Moskau und Berlin), “Putins Botschaft an Trump;  Sie haben sich Zusammenarbeit zugesagt, doch während Donald Trump sich auf sein Amt vorbereitet, schafft Wladimir Putin in Syrien mit einer Großoffensive Tatsachen. Im Einsatz: der einzige russische Flugzeugträger,” Der Spiegel, 15. November 2016 (18:31 Uhr).

President-elect Donald Trump is a naif in foreign policy, and has been easily played as a chump by Vladimir Putin.


David Remnick, “Trump and Putin: A Love Story; The attraction is mutual, but history shows who’s really using whom,” The New Yorker, August 3, 2016.

The first mistake Trump made in his telephone conversation with Putin was to go beyond pleasantries and discuss substantive foreign policy issues with the Russian autocrat.

Barack Obama is still president, and Trump has no business inerfering with his conduct of U.S. foreign policy until Obama has finished his term.

The second naive mistake Trump made was to discuss substantive policy issues without the input of U.S. government officials who know the issues, current U.S. strategies, and the likely consequencs of alternative positions and courses of action.

After his reassuring conversation with Trump, Putin resumed bombing targets in Syria, which had been suspended in mid-October as Angela Merkel was considering proposing that the EU adopt additional sanctions against Russia in response to its bombing of civilian targets in Aleppo and Syria.

News reports suggest Trump wants to cut off assistance to U.S.-backed “moderate” rebels in Syria. He is apparently willing to stand by and watch the Russians join in the slaughter of the remaining 250,000 people in rebel-controlled eastern Aleppo.

After the telphone call, that slaughter has now resumed.

The Trenchant Observer

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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.