Russian intervention in U.S. elections is flagrant violation of international law principle of non-intervention, giving rise to right to adopt countermeasures including strong economic sanctions


Russia has intervened directly in the 2016 presidential and congressional elections, in a manner according to U.S. intelligence sources aimed at throwing the election to Donald Trump and to Republican Congressional candidates.

The Russian actions, carried out through cyber attacks and disinformation (fake news) campaigns, may have tilted the election and one or more congressional campaigns to Trump and Republican congressional candadates.

These actions constitute a flagrant violation of the international law norms probibiting foreign interference in the internal affairs of any state (country).

On the proibition under the U.N. Charter and international law of interference in the internal affairs of any state, see

“Russian economic pressures and actions to force Ukraine not to ratify EU treaty violate international law principle of non-intervention (Updated November 27, 2013),” The Trenchant Observer, November 13, 2013.

President Barack Obama, in his eighth year in office still a deer in headlights when it comes to foreign policy, has done nothing that we know of to respond to Putin and the Russians, beyond his usual clever words which amount to no action.

Nonetheless, he should act now by adopting countermeasures to halt any ongoing Russian activities and to deter them in the future. These countermeasures could involve any of a wide range of measures, from a trade embargo to sectorial economic sanctions.

This is not a matter to be passed on to the next president.

Obama should act forcefully now. Whether cabinet nominees will uphold such measures in the next administration should be at the heart of their Senate confirmation hearings.

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.