Ukraine War, September 27, 2023: Experts agree–The international order is crumbling

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1) Walter Russell Meade, “The Rules-Based International Order Is Quietly Disintegrating; It hasn’t been this threatened since the 1930s,” Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2023 (6:08 pm ET).


Walter Russell Meade, a widely-real expert on international affairs, has published an opinion article in The Wall Street Journal which succinctly summarizes the causes and consequences of the cyrrent unraveling of the U.N. Charter-based international order.

This is a development we have been reporting on for years. Meade’s analysis is a welcome contribution to what should become a chorus among commentators on foreign affairs.

One of the important points he makes is that our leaders, even today, some 19 months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, don’t seem to grasp what is at stake. They don’t seem to understand the broader implications in Russia’s war of aggression and its frontal challenge to the United Nations Charter, international law, and our current civilization.

The last time the world experienced such a challenge, it was from Adolf Hitler and Germany. We all saw then what international anarchy and barbarism can lead to, and the high costs the countries of tbe world were forced to pay to save our civilization.

And that was before nuclear weapons.

At the very least, we should all be paying very close attention, and doing whatever we can to assist Ukraine and defeat Putin’s and Russia’s challenge to the existing international order–which is tge first line of defense of our civilization based on reason and law, and respect for individual human beings.

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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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