Ukraine War, July 20, 2022: Der Spiegel interview with Henry Kissinger; BBC rebroadcasts Russian war propaganda in form of Lavrov interview with Russian television

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UKRAINE: 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) Bernhard Zand, (New York), “Hilft jetzt nur Realpolitik, Henry Kissinger?; Als er auf die Welt kam, lebte Lenin noch, im Kalten Krieg war Henry Kissinger US-Außenminister. Nun warnt der 99-Jährige vor einem Atomkrieg im Nahen Osten. Kremlchef Putin hält er für berechnend und nachtragend, Interview, Der Spiegel, den 17. Juli 2022 (10.55 Uhr);

2) Bernhard Zand, “Interview with Henry Kissinger: ‘There Is No Good Historical Example’ for War in Ukraine; Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 99, experienced several Soviet leaders during his career in politics. Now, he says that Russian President Vladimir Putin is both calculated and resentful. And that Russia’s future relationship with Europe will become a key geostrategic question,” Der Spiegel in English, July 15, 2022 (14.51 Uhr);

3) Andrew Roth, “Russia may seek to occupy more territory in Ukraine, says foreign minister; Sergei Lavrov’s televised remarks give signal Kremlin is planning a campaign to annex more regions,” The Guardian, July 20, 2022 (18.17 BST);

Analysis

In an interview in Der Spiegel published in English on July 15, former secretary of State Henry Kissinger expanded on his statement at the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland in May 2022, which was widely interpreted as his endorsingnthe making of territorial concessions to Russia in exchange for a ceasefire or peace settlement.

Kissinger stated:

To end this war, the best dividing line would be the status quo ante, which means 93 percent of the country. That’s quite a different thing. If one identifies the status quo ante as the objective, that would mean that aggression has not succeeded. The issue, then, is a ceasefire along the February 24 line of contact. The territory still controlled by Russia, which makes up about 2.5 percent of Ukrainian territory in the Donbas as well as the Crimean Peninsula, would then be part of a general negotiation.

He had not suggested Ukraine give up its territory, he asserted:

DER SPIEGEL: You added, however, that pursuing the conflict beyond the February 24 line of contact “would turn it into a war not about the freedom of Ukraine … but a new war against Russia itself.”

Kissinger: At no point did I say that Ukraine should give up any territory. I said the logical dividing line for a ceasefire is the status quo ante.

BBC as megaphone for Russian propaganda

It is striking to see the BBC broadcasting portions OF an interview on Russian TV interview with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov as he spouts the latest Russian propaganda. Today Putin’s propaganda, conveyed through Lavrov and rebroadcast on the BBC, was that if the West continued to supply long-range artillery to Ukraine Russia would strike targets in areas of the country beyond the Donbas. As if they haven’t been doing that all along.

It was precisely like the case of a terrorist who, having killed 20 people, threatens to kill 20 more if you try to do anything to stop him.

Lavrov repeated Putin’s warning about crossing his “red lines” by allowing or enabling Kyiv to strike targets within Russian territory.

Lavrov’s comments channeling Putin do not merit analysis, but rather only recognition and labeling as blatant war propaganda.

The substance of the remarks reveal Putin to be as evil and cunning as ever, with an incredible ability to discern the weakest points in the positions of his enemies.

But the big question here is why the BBC is rebroadcasting a Russian television interview with Lavrov and acting as a megaphone for him to spread Putin’s war propaganda.

Is there no one at the BBC who can distinguish between news and war propaganda?

The BBC should simply ignore everything said by anyone in the service of Vladimir Putin and Russia’s murderous war of aggression against Ukraine and Ukrainian civilians.

Should the BBC broadcast an interview with Putin?

It would be terrific for the ratings. Everyone would watch.

But it would be absolutely the wrong thing to do.

During World War II, should the BBC have interviewed propaganda minister Josef Goebbels or even Adolf Hitler himself?

Absolutely not. The same principle should apply to Putin and his henchmen, whether Sergey Lavrov or his personal spokesman, Dimitry Peskov.

The principles to defend here are clear.

Don’t broadcast or amplify Russian war propaganda.

Don’t rebroadcast interviews with war criminals with the blood on their hands of tens of thousands of innocent civilians, and of innocent soldiers who are only defending their country,

The Trenchant Observer

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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, 2022.

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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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