Ukraine War, March 24, 2022 (II): Biden, in echo of “incursion” remark, just told Putin limited use of chemical weapons would not provoke major response from NATO;Biden lies again, about deterrent purpose of economic sanctions;


1) Lluís Bassets, “El factor terrorífico; No es la primera ocasión en la que el mundo camina por el alambre sobre el abismo de una guerra atómica, pero constituye una novedad que se libre una contienda entera y desde el primer día bajo tal amenaza. ” El País, el 23 de marzo 2022 (00:00 EDT);

2) El País, “Biden: “Responderemos al uso de armas químicas en función de cómo sean utilizadas’; El presidente de EE UU afirma que China sabe que ‘su futuro económico está más ligado a Occidente que a Rusia.’El G-7 colaborará para investigar los ‘crímenes de guerra’ de Rusia en Ucrania,” El País, el 24 de marzo 2022 (17:44 EDT);

3) “Biden changes stance on sanctions, now says they ‘never’ deter,” The Washinton Times, March 24, 2022;r

4) Lindsay Kornick, “Biden snaps at CBS reporter over sanctions, Russian deterrence: ‘You’re playing a game with me’; Biden has a history of losing his temper or mocking reporters at press conferences,” Fox News, March 24, 2022 (3:35pm EDT);


Biden lies again aboutbpurpose of threatened or real sanctions: Sanctions never dter,” he now says

“Truth is the first casualty of war,” the old adage goes.

Unfortunately. When we are fighting for democracy, and truth, the least we might expect from Joe Biden and his administration is that they tell the truth.

Biden’s oress conference at hte NATO summit today was short, and crisp. But his handlers couldn’t keep him from telling Putin that if his uses chemical weapons in Ukraine the response of NATO will be measured and proprtionate.If he uses chemical weapons, Bid said, the response will depend on how he uses the,

This was not the savvy response of a SKILLFUL leader who wanted to leave Putin guessing, and fearful of an overwheming response by NATO. Rather, it only served to reassure Putin that he is dealing with a weak and dithering leader of the NATO Alliance.

A fundamental problem with Joe Biden seems to be that he forgets who he’d talking to. za comment that might make sense within the confidential councils of NATO, can turn out to be a disastrous slip of the tongue when made publicly, which is directly to Vladimir Putin.

His comment today about a proportionate response to a Russian use of chemical weapons greatly undermined the deterrent force of NATO’s threatened response.

A proportionate NATO response to a Russian chemical weapons attack, under international law

Under international law, the NATO response to a chemical attack needs to be proportionate to the overall Russian invasion of Ukraine, not the specifics of any Russian chemical weapons attack.

This is an important point, and should be borne in mind not only by observers and analysts, but also by NATO officials and decision makers in crafting and and executing any such NATO response.

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.