Ukraine War, December 1, 2022: Biden veers toward appeasement with Macron; any expression of willingness to talk to war criminal Putin undercuts Ukraine, strengthens Russia

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, and you will see a list in chronological order.

To understand the broad context within which current developments in Ukraine should be considered,see

“Ukraine War, October 26, 2022: The context for analysis of current developments; The “dirty bomb” as a Russian propaganda distraction from current war crimes,” The Trenchant Observer, October 26, 2022.


1) Zolan Kanno-Youngs, “Biden, Speaking With Macron, Says He’s Open to Meeting With Putin; Showing a united front during a state visit, President Biden and President Emmanuel Macron of France expressed support for Ukraine. Mr. Biden said he would meet with the Russian president if he showed a willingness to end the war,” New Yotk Times, December 1, 2022 (updated 6:26 p.m. ET);


President Joe Biden has been a good president on domestiv policy.

On foreign policy, he has put together one of the weakest foreign policy teams in recent history and, given his own poor judgment on foreign policy issues, has paid the price by committing an incredible series of catastrophic foreign policy blunders,

To name but a few:

1) The catastrophic decission to withdraw all American troops and contractors from Afghanistan, guaranteeing tbe collapse of the democratically-elected government of Ashraf Ghani. Without the U.S. contractors, the Afghan air force could not fly, and without the Afghan air force the Afghan army could not fight.

2) Broadcasting repeatedly to the public and to Vladimir Putin that the U.S. and NATO would not use force to oppose a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

3) Refusing to give Ukraine weapons they needed to defend their cities and civilian infrastructure from missile and drone attacks launched from Russian territory. Biden refused to give Ukraine weapons that could be used against targets in Russia proper, which Ukraine had every right to do under tbe international law of self-defense and Article 51 of tbe U.N. Charter.

Now Biden, meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, sings the song of appeasement Macron has long been singing, urging NATO and other members of the Ukraine coalition to be careful not to “humiliate” Vladimir Putin, the greatest war criminal of tbe 21st century.

When Biden goes off script, he is frighteningly dangerous.

Why would any U.S. president agree to meet with Putin just to talk, so long as Russia has not withdrawn its troops from every inch of Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine?

Such a conversation, if it were to occur, would only provide Putin with a new opportunity to divide NATO, the EU, and other members of the anti-Russian and pro-Ukrainian coalition.

There is nothing to negotiate with Putin until Russia has ceased its aggression against Ukraine and withdrawn its troops from the country. “Territorial concessions” are out of the question. They would be void under international law. Ukraine would never freely agree to make them.

Any ceasefire that would “freeze” the conflict, leading to de facto territorial concessions” would similarly be out of the question.

The only items to negotiate will then be

1) Russian reparations (damages) for the people it has killed and tbe material damages it has caused in Ukraine; and

2) The trial and punishment of those who have committed the crimes of aggression, crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide in Ukraine.

After agreement is reached on these subjects, negotiations can begin on the nature and timing of the relaxation of sanctions.

There is nothing for Biden to discuss with Putin.

In any event, he should not meet with Putin unless Ukraine, NATO, and the EU are also in the room.

It is time for Joe Biden to get his foreign policy act together.

His first step should be to replace his protegés with a new Secretary of State and a new National Security Adviser.

And those who surround Biden shoukd make sure that he does not speak about important foreign policy matters off-the-cuff or in informal settings.

Whenever Biden goes off script, he weakens tbe foreign policy of tbe Ubited States.

Somehow his associates must convince this proud, stubborn old man to keep his mouth shut, except when he is speaking on-script.

The Trenchant Observer


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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.