Ukraine War, May 22, 2022 (II): The 10 dumbest questions cable news hosts ask their guests

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With all the nonsense and repetition we are hearing on cable news channels about the Ukraine war, we need to deepen our appreciation of the ludicrous, and to get into the habit of roaring with laughter at the stupidities and inanities we hear on TV.

Here are my entries in tbe contest for The Ten Dumbest Questions Asked by Cable News Hosts Contest:

Readers are encouraged to submit their own nominations.

1. “Do you think it was a mistake for NATO to expand its membership eastward, over Russian objections?”

This dead horse has been beaten so nany times since the onset of the war on February 24, 2022 that it is hard to find any piece of the horse left to beat.

We should note in passing that the implication in the question is a Russian talking point.

The question has been aswered hundreds if not thousands of times on cable TV channels. Persuasively.

NATO didn’t “expand” eastward on its own initiative. It accepted the applications for membership of newly independent states which were just emerging from 40 years of domination by the Soviet Union.

That domination resulted from military conquest at the end of World War II, and the subsequent use of tanks whenever a country sought to break free (Poland in 1953, Hungary in 1956, and Czechoslovakia in 1968, plus the threat of military intervention which led General Wojciech Jaruzelski to declare martial law in Poland in 1981).

These countries desperately wanted to join NATO to defend themselves against further Soviet invasions.

This is the Observer’s top candidate for the dumbest question of the 10.

2. “What do you think Putin wants?”

No one knows. Any answer is purely speculative.

What’s the point of the question?

What counts is what Putin and Russia are doing. They are conducting a war of aggression against Ukraine and carrying out war crimes against civilians and civilian infrastructure on a massive scale. Because the atrocities are systematic, they are technically “crimes against humanity”.

3) “We just interviewed (General / Admiral / Ambassador) X on this question. Let’s listen to what he (or she) said, and get your reaction on the other side (of the tape).”

Are you kidding me? With all that is going on in Ukraine, not to speak of the whole world, instead of giving us news you’re asking me for my reaction to what someone else said?

Don’t you know who the guest is and what my expertise is?

Can’t you do a little homework and yourself formulate a coherent question that you want me to answer? If you want to know my views on something, why not just ask me? If what this other person said is relevant, why can’t you just quote him or her in formulating your question?

4. “Russia just committed atrocities in Bucha. What is your reaction? Do you think these actions are war crimes?”

Questions 5-10 are to be supplied later.

Maybe your suggestion will be one of them.

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.