Ukraine War, June 28, 2022: Why we are losing the war in Ukraine

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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.


1) Florence Aubenas(Kiev, Odessa, Mykolaïv, envoyée spéciale), “Guerre en Ukraine : à Kherson, la vie à l’heure russe
La ville du sud du pays est tombée rapidement et sans combat aux mains des Russes. Moscou accélère la russification de la région tandis que des résistances s’organisent,” Le Monde, le 29 juin 2022 (03h10, mis à jour à 07h01);


The response of the West to the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been impressive, particularly that of the United States and certain East European countries. In terms of weapons and financial aid, as well as sanctions, the response has been extraordinary.

But it may not be enough to defeat Russia.

On the diplomatic front, the West has failed miserably in gaining support from the non-allied countries (frequently referred to as the South) for condemnation of Russia and participation in the sanctions regime.

While unity among NATO allies and EU members has been largely maintained, it has been at the expense of a alowly evolving consensus which has not matched the tempo of the war and the requirements of the battlefield.

Moreover, it seems to have reached its limits, with Turkey’s Erdogan blocking Finnish and Swedish membership in NATO.

The greatest shortcoming of the West has been to treat the war in Ukraine like a skirmish rather than as an all-out war for our survival and that of our civilization, including the United Nations Charter and international law.

President Joe Biden and the West have assumed they can counter Putin and defend Ukraine successfully without themselves becoming involved militarily in the conflict.

This assumption has been dubious from the very beginning.

Biden and the West have assumed that Russian military aggression can be stopped by economic sanctions, despite the fact that there is virtually no example in history where this has been done.

Defeat looms.

What could the world look like after a Russian victory in Ukraine?

We may be about to find out, though there is always the possibility that the West could get its act together and act forcefully to stave off the Russian challenge to our civilization.

But if the West doesn’t get is act together, what is the world likely to look like?

Military expenditures will claim an increasing share of almost all nations’ resources.

The kind of international cooperation necessary to meet the world’s climate challenges will not be possible or successful even if attempted

Authoritarian regimes, leveraging the power of technology, will solidify their control over subject populations.

Freedom of speech and access to information will be curtailed in many countries. Internet firewalls will grow up behind the borders not only of China and Russia but also in an uncreasing number of countries with authoritarian regimes.

The South China Sea will become a Chinese lake. China will invade Taiwan and incorporate it into the P.R.C., as it has done with Hong Kong.

Countries will seek military security by joining alliances, or by leaving them.

Benevolent foreign assistance and humanitarian assistance will shrink, while disasters caused by war and climate change become more common as do failures of the international community to respond effectively.

As nuclear weapons and new weapons of mass destruction proliferate, the risks of nuclear war and other calamities will grow. Without an effective prohibition of the use of force, the likelihood of such events will increase dramatically.

In the face of this somber outlook, what can a citizen do?

The answers to this question are not clear. But they all involve action by concerned citizens that goes far beyond the resignation to which a simple awareness of these trends could lead.

The first priority must be to take action that helps the West get its act together and to move resolutely, and realistically, to stop Putin.

For suggestions on actions an individual can take, see,

James Rowles, “How to Forget the War in Ukraine,” Trenchant Observations newsletter (Substack), June 26, 2022.

While the present article paints a dark picture, we must bear in mind that the only thing worse than “bad news” is “good news” that is wrong.

Real news, however disheartening, can always lead to action that changes the course of events.

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 .


Subscribe to the Trenchant Observations newsletter on Substack, here.

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.