Ukraine War, June 19, 2022: Biden is lost in a fog on Ukraine; Only strong fresh winds from younger leaders can clear the air

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THE WAR TO SAVE THE U.N. CHARTER AND INTERNATIONAL LAW

To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.

Dispatches

1) Garry Kasparov, “Awakened to Putin’s Threat, Biden and the West Nod Off Again; The president appeared on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ and didn’t mention Russia’s war against Ukraine in a 23-minute interview, Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2022 (6:53 pm ET);

2) Carrie Nooten (New York, Nations unies) et Philippe Ricard, “Guerre en Ukraine: l’ONU en état de ‘mort cérébrale’, Le Monde, le 17 juin 2022 (à 17h30, mis à jour à 06h37);

3) “Ukraine War, March 28, 2022: Strengthening “the president we have,” The Trenchant Observer, March 28, 2022;

Analysis

Garry Kasparov notes that in a 23-minute appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel television talk-show on June 8, 2022, President Joe Biden did not mention the Russian war against Ukraine. Not once.

No more eloquent testimony could be given to the muddled thinking of a 79 year-old man who is the president of the United States.

It was like Winston Churchill giving a speech to Britain in the summer of 1940 without mentioning Adolf Hitler or Germany.

Biden is “the president we have” and are going to have for the next two and a half years.

That is bad news for the country and for the world.

Yet it is not as bad as the news would be if Donald Trump had won the 2020 election.

Biden is the most senior-ranking member of the Democratic gerontocracy that holds a death grip on the Democratic party. This gerontocracy is leading the country in a downward spiral of democracy that will probably lead to Republican control of tbe House and the Senate after the November 2022 elections.

If the downward spiral then continues, it could lead to the election of Donald Trump or one of his acolytes in the 2024 presidential election.

There is undoubtedly great talent among the younger leaders in the Democratic Party. But with the stranglehold on power the gerontocracy holds these leaders have no chance to emerge into the sunlight and develop a national following.

If only the 79 and 80 year-old gerontocrats would step aside and get out of the way!

And if only Kamala Harris, the vice president chosen by the gerontocrats on the basis of identity politics, despite her total lack of traction in the 2020 primaries, could be prevailed upon to overcome her personal ambition and step aside!

But chances are Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will cling to their power and their ambitions far beyond the point where other more viable candidates might enter the fray with some chance of success.

Meanwhile, Biden’s disastrous “leadership” in the war to defeat Russia’s assault on Ukraine and international law continues with all of its false assumptions and conceptual errors, and with no improvement in sight.

It is unfortunately necessary to repeat the oft-repeated litany of Biden’s failures related to the war.

They must be repeated, and repeated again, until Democratic leaders in Congress take notice and muster the courage to rebel against the gerontocracy in order to force changes in Biden’s policies and in his foreign policy team.

The litany of Biden’s failures includes the following:

1. The decision in April 2021 to withdraw all U.S. forces and contractors from Afghanistan.

2. The decision, publicly broadcast at least since November 2021, to continue Obama’s policy of taking force off the table in considering any U.S. and NATO response to a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

3, The steadfast maintenance of the policy of taking force off the table in responding to the actual invasion by Russian troops and their commission of war crimes on a massive scale.

4, The “too little, too late” strategy of threatening sanctions to deter Putin, which obviously failed.

5. The “too little, too late” strategy of providing Ukraine the weapons it needs to stop Putin in a timely manner, not in “bureaucratic” time but in “war time” attentive to developments on the ground.

Because of Biden’s dithering on supplying heavy weapons and particularly long-range artillery, Ukrainian forces are are now suffering terrible losses in the battle for the Donbas.

6. The failure to grasp what is at stake in the war–the defense not only of Ukraine but also, and perhaps even more importantly, of the U.N. Charter and international law.

7. The failure to explain to the American people what is at stake in the war, and the sacrifices that are likely to be required in the future if the U.S., NATO, the EU, and Ukraine’s other allies are to prevail in what is, essentially, a civilizational struggle.

The Jimmy Kimmel interview demonstrates beyond any doubt the nature of failures (6) and (7).

8. One of Biden’s greatest failures, infrequently associated with his conduct of the war, has been his failure and that of Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate and indict Donald Trump and his cronies for any of their numerous apparent crimes, many committed in broad daylight.

A major consequence of this inaction has been to allow Trump’s propaganda bubble to persist and for him to maintain his control over what has become the anti-democratic Republican Party.

Trump is a friend of Putin. The failure to indict him has increased the likelihood that he or someone in his mold will win the 2024 presidential election.

Given the support for Putin and Russia within the Republican Party, a Republican presidential victory in 2024 could mean the end of U.S. leadership of the anti-Russian coalition, and of the adequate and timely supply of weapons and munitions needed by Ukraine to continue its war of self-defense against the Russians.

9. In terms of the conduct of the war, Biden’s fear of Putin and Putin’s threats of nuclear war have led Biden to avoid any actions that he imagined might upset Putin. These range from his veto of a transfer of Polish fighter jets to Ukraine, to limitations on the kinds of weapons to be supplied to Ukraine.

For a long time the White House refused to transfer long-range artillery to the Ukrainians because it had the capability of striking targets in Russia–which would have crossed one of Putin’s “red lines” risking his provocation. The weapons transfer, finally authorized, has been so delayed that the weapons are not yet deployed in any numbers in the battle for the Donbas, which the Russians are winning.

10. Another of Biden’s greatest failures has been not to focus, both privately and publicly, on this major news story on every single day since February 24, 2922. Newspapers should read as follows:

Main news headline

War criminal Vladimir Putin today continued Russia’s war of aggression and war crimes against Ukraine in defiance of the U.N. Charter and international humanitarian law.

Other news stories

Younger leaders in the Democratic Party, if they are to avoid defeat in 2022 and 2024, must rise and act in concert against their geriatric leaders, forcing changes in Biden’s Ukraine approach and foreign policy team, and effective prosecution of Donald Trump and his associates.

The fog in Biden’s brain will not dissipate on its own.

Only strong fresh winds from younger leaders can clear the air and spur “the president we have” on to effective action.

The Trenchant Observer

***

See also,

Only force can stop Putin

“Ukraine War, April 5, 2022 (II): Force must be used to stop Putin,” The Trenchant Observer, April 5, 2922 .

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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.

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