Jamal Khashoggi: The value and cost of one human life

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in 1914 set off World War I (or “The Geat War” of 1914-1918), which cost some 18 million lives.

In another case, an infamous case involving the assassination of a leading journalist, and its acceptance by an American president, the cost might not yet be calculable in human lives, but rather only in units of the soul of a nation.

It is a matter of immense regret that the American people elected as president a man totally devoid of moral character or moral values.

His silence in the face of the assassination of a leading Saudi journalist on the order, according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, of the highest Saudi authorities, makes him if not an accomplice to the crime itself, at least an accomplice to the coverup and the conspiracy not to acknowledge the facts as reported by the CIA, and not to hold the intellectual author of the crime accountable.

This gruesome crime will be remembered as the crime of the century; and the complicity of the American president in the coverup as a nadir of American foreign policy, and as an  unambiguous confirmation of the moral bankruptcy of American foreign policy.

Even the raw calculation that the U.S. must accept Saudi barbarism ignores the fact that younger Saudis, and Arabs, like people from all corners of the earth, have democratic aspirations.

The current Saudi leaders are leading their people away from those aspirations. The fiasco of Lenin and the Soviet Union should have exploded, for all time, the illusion that social progress can be achieved through despotism, with acceptable human costs.

The U.S. has great influence within Saudi Arabia. By so overtly supporting its current leaders, despite the brutal assassination they reportedly ordered, the U.S. is pushing to uphold barbarism in the country.

This aberrant U.S. administration is indeed supporting a barbarous tegime, and the darkest forces in Saudi society, instead of upholding its own historic values, which might otherwise serve as guiding lights for future leaders and generations in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East in general, including Iean.

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.