Aleppo — a wrenching epitaph for the failed foreign policy of Barack Obama



Marc Semo, “Alep-est livrée aux bombardements russo-syriens, dans l’indifférence des Occidentaux; La transition engagée aux Etats-Unis et les élections à venir dans plusieurs pays européens, dont la France, compliquent la donne pour la rébellion syrienne,” Le Monde, le 21 Novembre 2016 (Mis à jour le 22.11.2016 à 07h51).

Aleppo. The city of slaughter. The slaughter the United States and Europe decided not to stop.

They had the means.

But not the will.

Earlier, the loss of a half a million lives in Syria, and counting, might have been slowed or halted with a relatively minor use of force. Before the Russians, having witnessed three years of faltering responses by America and its allies, decided to intervene directly with its own military forces.

At every step of the way, despite limited support to the moderate rebels, the U.S. stepped aside, as Bashar al-Assad continued the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity against his own people.

Russia, already complicit through its active support in the commission of these crimes, joined Iran and Hesbollah in the battle to save the Syrian regime, directly committing war crimes in Aleppo and elewhere in Syria.

Barack Obama, whose dual legacies may turn out to be Donald Trump, on the one hand, and Aleppo and the craven foreign policy it symbolizes, on the other, has now retreated from the world stage.

Even if he doesn’t yet understand this fact.

In his last days in office, he continues to direct words at the world’s problems, when it was always the case that words without actions to back them up are meaningless.

Soon he will pass from the scene, and even his words will receive less and less attention from the press.

His foreign policy has left the world in a terrible state.

And the symbol of all of that is Aleppo. Alep. An ancient city he was willing to see destroyed.

Upsetting the moral order of the universe.

Upsetting the political balance in European countries, which have had to deal with an overwhelming influx of refugees from Syria, and other asylum seekers.

Upsetting the political order in Europe. The EU. NATO.

Aleppo. The shame of the world.

And a wrenching epitaph for the failed foreign policy of Barack Obama.

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.