Putin is winning, as West mounts no defense to illegal Russian intervention in elections

Developing

Former Solidarity leader and former Polish President Lech Walensa, commenting on Putin, has said:

“He broke agreements, contracts, guarantees. The world cannot just leave it like this. If something like this happens, only force is left.

“How can we win, if he is boxing, and we are playing chess?

Validmir Putin and Russia are currently engaged in an all-out assault on Western democracies, directing their weaponized cyber and propaganda interventions against the electoral processes by which democracies in the West choose their leadcers.

They have already succeeded in the United States, where thir preferred candidate, Donald Trump, is conducting a pro-Russian foreign policy and attempting an all-out cover-up of the evidence regarding contacts between his caqmpaign and Russian officials, and what the public evidence strongly suggests was collusion between them during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Currently, Putin is going full-tilt in his efforts to subvert the presidential elections in France, having already secured the support of Marine Le Pen of the far-right Front National, and also secured a friendly response from François Villon, the conservative candidate.

Putin’s internet trolls and propaganda machine are attacking Emmanuel Macron who opposes Russian aggression and intervention. They have just released a “poll” that purports to show that Villon is leading in the runup to the French presidential primary later this month, when in fact he is in third place in the real polls.

The West stands defenseless against these outrageous violations of international law.

It should mount an effective defense, putting in place a regime of stiff additional economic sanctions against Russia, as lawful countermeasures for Russia’s illegal behavior.

Trump is too busy covering his own tracks to even think of such a defense. Other countries will have to take the lead, and start imposing economic sanctions as soon as possible, unilaterally at first and then later together.

In the Unitd States, in addition to the investigations into potential Trump collusion with Putin and his agents, the public debate should be focused on questions regarding what U.S. policy should be toward Russia, as it continues to occupy territory in the Ukraine it has seized by military force, and continues its intervention in the elections and domestic affairs of the U.S., France, and other democracies, in flagrant violation of the international law principle of non-intervention.

While the outer limits of this principle may be unclear, yhere can be little doubt that Putin has violated its core meaning.

The ivestigations are important, but will take time. They may or may not provide answers to the question of why Trump has been so resolutely pro-Russian in his foreign policy, never criticizing Putin.

But equally and perhaps even more important are questions regarding how America can protect its vital national interests in dealing with Russia.

The latter subject should addressed in early hearings by the Senated Armed Services Committee.

The Trenchant Observer

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The Observer
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by The Observer, an 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. He is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (IACHR), 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, The Observer 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. The Observer 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.), 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, The Observer 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 the best articles that have appeared in the blog.