Ukraine War, September 23, 2022 (I): Putin’s escalation and the response of the West

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1) Fareed Zakaria, “Putin has just made the world a far more dangerous place,” Washington Post, September 22, 2022 (7:02 p.m. EDT).


It is perhaps just another case of Children Editors being allowed to select the articles to display in the digital edition of papers like the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Today, the Children Editors have removed Fareed Zacharia’s chilling column anout the risks of nuclear war from the Opinions that display on the digital edition. Zacharia is one of the leading foreign policy commentators in the United States and probably the top opinion writer on foreign affairs at the Washinton Post. His Sunday television program “GPS” is seen by millions of viewers around the world.

See “Update (February 14, 2022): The “Children Editors” at the Washington Post and the New York Times,” The Trenchant Observer, February 14, 2022.

Zacharia warns of the extremely dangerous escalation by Vladimir Putin in the war in Ukraine and the confrontation between the West and Russia.

We are in the first stages of a nuclear showdown between the West and Russia which may turn out to be every bit as grave, and every bit as much of a nail-biter, as the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Perhaps the Children Editors don’t display Zacharia’s article prominently because they cannot even imagine the danger we are in and which Zakaria so ably describes.

The nuclear confrontation that has always been implicit in the confrontation between Russia and the West over Ukraine has now become palpable, a reality which it will be increasingly difficult to avoid.

The choice facing the U.S. and the West is, as it has always been, whether to capitulate to Putin’s nuclear threats or to try to manage the confrontation.

A triggering event could be the encirclement of the over 20,000 Russian soldiers on the West side of the Dnipo river in the Kherson region, where they are cur off from supply lines and escape routes.

Another triggering event could be the further collapse of Russian forces in the Dunbas region, or even on the Kherson front.

The United States and NATO need to prepare their response to the potential use of a tactical nuclear weapon by Russia in Ukraine.

In the meantime, they should continue the delivery of arms and training to Ukraine, and active consideration of supplying longer-range HIMARS artillery shells, battle tanks, and fighter aircraft to Kyiv. To shrink back now under Putin’s nuclear threats would probably only encourage him to make further threats.

If he invaded Estonia under the cover of nuclear threats, the situation would be no different.

The suggestions set forth above are made by someone on the outside, based on publicly available information.

Obviously, only U.S. and NATO decision makers with all of the intelligence information at their disposal can make such fateful decisions.

Now would be a good time to bring in a “Nuclear Decisions Advisory Group”, as we have suggested.

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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.