DEFEAT IS VICTORY! Propaganda replaces policy in the Biden administration


María Antoniia Sánchez-Vallejo, “Joe Biden califica la evacuación de Afganistán de ‘extraordinario exit’; El presidente de Estados Unidos defiende la salida como la única opción posible y advierte a los terroristas del ISIS que aún no ha acabado con ellos,” El País, 31 deagosto, 2021 (22:28 CET).

Joe Biden has declared the American withdrawal from Afghanistan to be “an extraordinary success”.

He is without shame, and has not even the modicum of humility necessary to give a nod to others who have grappled with the same issues he has and who have honestly, in good faith, come to different  conclusions.

When I hear the lies and disortions that are coming from Joe Biden and his foreign policy team, I realize the Democrats are no longer making sincere arguments they believe are true, but rather are resorting to the same kind of lies and distortions of reality that produced such revulsion when they were coming from Donald Trump and his apologists.

Nineteen  eighty-four is here. We are living it now.

Winston could not have said it better, after O’Brien helped hin straighten out his confused thinking.


The worst rout in recent U.S. military history was “an extraordinary success”.

If Congressional Democrats don’t seek with all their might to right this sinking ship, especially on foreign policy, it will drag them into the Vortex in 2022, and into political oblivion.

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.

2 Comments on "DEFEAT IS VICTORY! Propaganda replaces policy in the Biden administration"

  1. Michael Mauldin | September 1, 2021 at 2:19 pm |

    Opinions, point of view, beliefs, all intersect with facts. Political advantage has always and will always be a game of propaganda. So what’s new pussycat. We are all disappointed, one side or the other. Living in a post truth era is hell.
    International law might be able to ‘save’ us but everyone has to agree to use it…or start using it again. May that day come.

    • The Trenchant Observer | September 2, 2021 at 9:59 pm |


      Thanks for your comment. My reply:

      You only live in a post-truth world if you abandon your belief in truth. If you do that, you’re going to have a lot of problems. Think about what you are saying to other people when you use the term “post-truth world”.

      What I mean by propaganda is the deliberate dissemination of lies and misrepresentations. I think that’s what most people understand by the term.

      The dictionary definition takes us back to U.S. advertising and Edward Bernays’ seminal work Propaganda (1926). Bernays was talking about propaganda when its usage encompassed advertising, and was neutral as to truthfulness. That has changed.

      But let’s not get lost in intellectual and definitional games.

      In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston knew what propaganda was. “DEFEAT IS VICTORY,” is a clear example of propaganda. If you agree with that statement in a post-truth world, you have to say so, and explain what you mean.

      If you still believe in truth, be careful not to confuse others by using a term such as a “post-truth world”. We’ve seen what a post-truth world can look like: Nazi Germany, where the truth was defined by those with the guns.

      The Trenchant Observer

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