Ukraine War, December 27, 2022: “War fatigue” among spectators in the “Spectator War”

The Western press publishes articles from time to time about “war fatigue” in the countries supplying Ukraine with military and economic aid.

You don’t read too many articles in the Western press about “war fatigue” among Ukrainian soldiers and the civilian population.

So what we are really talking about is “war fatigue” in the Western “spectator” countries.

They are, to be sure, supporting Ukraine with military and financial aid, and economic sanctions against Russia. Nonetheless, these actions involve but a very small percentage of wach donor’s national government budget or GDP.

The inconveniences that really cause “war fatigue” are not the taxes that might be required to cover each government’s financial contribution, however.

Rather, they are things like higher electrical and gas bills, and higher gasoline prices at the pump.

Ukrainians, for their part, do not have the luxury of complaining aboy “war fatigue”, though surely they are more tired of this war than anyone in the “spectator” countries.

Another source of “war fatigue” is the feeling among many, particularly in Europe, that the war has gone on for way too long, and it must be ended soon so everyone can get back to “business-as-usual” with Russia as soon as possible.

“Spectator governments” have not succeeded in convincing their populations that the war in Ukraine is not merely a “spectator war” but rather a war for the very heart and soul of our civilization and its future.

One reason for this communications failure is that government leaders have not yet grasped the point themselves.

Of course, Volodymyr Zelensky makes thus ooint repeatedly, but then spectators simpky think, “What else would you expect him to say, as he pleads for more weapons and financial support?”

Those who complain about “war fatigue” in the spectator countries don’t get it: This war is tbeir war too.

Before this spectator war is over, these spectators may have to change their roles and enter onto the playing field where this war is being fought.

There will be no return to “business-as-usual” with Russia, at least not within our lifetimes.

Of course, should the current Russian regime be replaced by one devoted to upholding the United Nations Charter and international law, normal relations with Russia coukd resume earlier. But even under that optimistic scenario, the process could take decades.

The spectators in the spectator nations are like beachfront property owners who can see or hear reports of a tsunami, still far away, approaching their beach.
Then, suddenly, the ocean waters are swirling at their feet, and are soon sweeping everything away.

The Trenchant Observer

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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