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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.
1) Clemens Wergin, “Russland ist ein Terror-Staat und agiert auf derselben moralischen Stufe wie der IS,” den 31. Juli 2022 (02:22 Uhr);
2) Clemens Wergin, “Russia is a terrorist state and operates on the same moral level as IS,” (Google translation on website), Die Welt, July 31, 2022p (02:22 am);
3) Ingrid Brunk Wuerth, “Why designating Russia a state sponsor of terrorism is a bad idea,” Washington Post, August 1, 2022 (1:40 p.m. EDT);
Clemens Wergin, the chief foreign politics editor of Die Welt, has written a succinct but powerful critique of Western cowardice in responding to Putin’s war crimes going back to Grozny (Chechnya) in 1999.
The failure to call out Putin for his war crimes and aggression has led him to think he could invade Ukraine in February 2022 and meet no major opposition from the West.
The time has come to officially label Russia a terrorist state, Wergin writes. This is happening in the U.S., but nothing is being done in Europe in this regard.
The actions of Russians in Ukraine fit the definition of terrorism, he notes:
Terrorism aims to spread fear and terror in the attacked society in order to achieve political goals that would otherwise not be feasible. And that’s exactly what Russia is doing in Ukraine.
Western cowardice has strengthened Russian belligerence
Finally, Putin has committed a series of war crimes since he first became prime minister and then president – from the complete destruction of Grozny from 1999 to the Georgia war in 2008, the Ukraine war in 2014, the Syria intervention from 2015 to the renewed attack on Ukraine. The restraint of the West in the past to call Russia’s terrorist tactics as such has given the Russian leadership the impression that it will never be held accountable anyway – Geneva Conventions or not.
It is precisely this cowardice that has led to the fatal impression of Vladimir Putin and those in his power circle that a weak West is always too cowardly to decisively oppose Russian lust for war and war crimes. And it is the real cause of Putin’s miscalculation to try a new invasion of Ukraine.
Wergin concludes by calling on legislatures in Europe and elsewhere to classify Russia as a terrorist state:
It is therefore time to learn from the mistakes of the past and to clearly identify Moscow’s crimes. This includes Western parliaments and governments recognizing the genocide character of the Russian war, the aim of which is the extinction of the Ukrainian nation. And this also includes classifying Russia as a terrorist state in the EU and treating it as such.
Despite the cogency of Wergin’s arguments, Ingrid Brunk Wuerth raises a number if technical and legal considerations that argue against designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
While she is also appalled at the war crimes Putin has committed, Wuerth argues for sanctions more precisely targeted at these crimes. She prefers this approach to the cruder approach of designating Russia as a sponsor of state terrorism, which may have unexpected and undesirable effects, which she details.
On balance, Wergin’s analysis of the cowardice of the West in responding to Putin’s war crimes rings true, while his recommendation of declaring Russia a state sponsor of terrorism,in view of Wuerth’s arguments, may not be the best approach. Additional targeted sanctions could be better.
The Trenchant Observer
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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