Ukraine War, August 20, 2022: Pelosi visit–White House spins history, instead of getting it right; Large, orchestrated intelligence leak on Russian intelligence failures. To what end?

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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) Greg Miller and Catherine Belton, “Russia’s spies misread Ukraine and misled Kremlin as war loomed,” Washington Post, August 19, 2022 (7:00 a.m.);

2) Yasmeen Abutaleb and Tyler Pager, “Chinese leader asked Biden to prevent Pelosi from visiting Taiwan; The trip exposed tensions between the House Speaker and administration officials, who had warned of China’s potential response. Pelosi felt the trip was an important statement to make,” Washington Post, August 20, 2022 (6:00 a.m. EDT);


The White House is once again trying to conduct foreign policy by leaks to the press and manipulation of the narrative.

It is a poor substitute for effective foreign policy decisions.

More distressingly, it reveals the incompetence of President Joe Biden’s foreign policy team, once again.

Now the White House is behind an article in the Washington Post that tries to spin Biden’s disastrous failure to forcefully intervene to stop or postpone House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, in order to make Biden look good to a domestic audience.

This is pathetic.

At the same time, the whiz kids on Biden’s foreign policy team have authorized the release of highly classified information about Russian intelligence failures. These orchestrated leaks have no apparent purpose other than to make U.S. intelligence services look good, in what is essentially a chest-thumping exercise.

Why would the Biden administration orchestrate this massive leak of highly classified information? There are a number of pieces that would appear to expose sources and methods. These revelations would make a good book, but not until after the war is over.

Who authorized these leaks? Was it the same whiz kids who were behind leaking the information on the close collaboration between U.S. intelligence services and Ukrainian armed forces, including the release of targeting information?

A great concern is that top U.S. policymakers think we can win this war by leaks to the press and manipulating the public narrative, instead of undertaking the hard work necessary to prevail.

That hard work includes:

1. An all-out, all-of-government drive to win over the fence-sitting countries in “the South” to condemn the Russian invasion and to join the sanctions regime.

a) E.g., suspension of U.S. participation in “the Quad” if India persists in taking part in joint Chinese-Russian military maneuvers in the next few weeks.

b) E.g., refusal by Ukraine’s allies to take part in any G-20 meetings so long as Russia participates. Withdrawal from the G-20 and setting up a new organization of democratic and civilized countries dedicated to defending the U.N.Charter and international law.

2. A massive build-up of war production and the supply of munitions to Ukraine on a much-accelerated basis, with the goal of “victory”–not merely avoiding defeat.

3. Relaxation of restrictions on the use of U.S. and NATO-supplied weapons, so that Ukraine can engage in self-defense by striking targets in the Crimea and other tsrgets  from which missiles and other weapons  are launched, even in Russia and Belarus. The provision of long-range artillery shells for the HIMARS artillery pieces.

This U.S.-orchestrated, massive leak of classified information is baffling. There appears to be no serious purpose that it would serve. It just sounds like administration and intelligence officials bragging and thumping their chests about how good they are.

Incidentally, we seem to be losing the war. See,

Ukraine War, August 18, 2022: The military outlook: Russian advances continue, as Western aid lags; Ukraine and allies are losing the war

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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.