Articles by James Rowles


Some House Democrats should move to impeach Merrick Garland for allowing statutes of limitation to run out and for not indicting Trump

See, 1) “Merrick Garland should indict Trump today. If he dosn’t, Democrats should impeach Garland tomorrow,” The Trenchant Observer, January 3, 2022; 2) “Democrats should…


Biden’s failed approach to defending American democracy

See, Ross Douthat, “What Is Joe Biden Thinking?”, New York Times, January 15, 2022. Ross Douthat has done an excellent job in summing up the…


Change Putin’s calculations: Put force back on the table, and begin active cyber-warfare measures to defend Ukraine

What can be done now to change Putin’s calculations, or to respond to an invasion?

The U.S. and NATO countries should begin active cyber-warfare countermeasures to help defend Ukraine from ongoing Russian attacks on its computer networks and infrastructure. In this realm, the  U.S. may have the most advanced capabilities, and should begin using them now. Above all, U.S. decision makers should avoid undue hesitance by  demanding absolute proof of attribution of the attacks. In a wartime setting, officials and nations may need to act in the absence of perfect information.

If Russia is not behind the attacks, who do U.S. analysts and policymakers think is? Nigeria? Lesotho? Fiji? It is immaterial whether the operators are Russian officials or others acting under their control.

Finally, in order to influence Putin’s calculations at this late stage in the game, NATO members should leave open the possibility of coming to Ukraine’s defense through the use of military force and active cyber-warfare measures, in exercise of the right of collective self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, if Russia invades Ukraine and a major war develops.


OSCE President after Thursday meeting: “The risk of war in the region is now greater than at any other moment in the last 30 years.”

Cuesta and Gómez quote Zbigniev Rau, the new President of the OSCE (and Polish foreign minister), as saying after the OSCE meeting in Vienna on Thursday, January 13, “The risk of war is the region in now greater than at any other moment in the last 30 years.”
Developments appear to confirm previous analyses that Putin is merely going through the motions of attempted diplomacy to bolster his case that he tried everything and had no alternative other than to invade Ukraine.
It now appears that he is doubling down on his threat and plans to invade Ukraine, in what may be in his mind a giant game of “chicken” with Joe Biden and the U.S.


Vladimir Putin’s hubris, and Dimitry Peskov’s flair for self-satire and parody; If Putin invades Ukraine, could that be his last rodeo?

What an irony it would be if Putin’s hubris led him to invade Ukraine, and the consequences of that action–as the Russian body bags came home, Russia was expelled from the SWIFT international payments system, suffered from severe sectorial sanctions, and Finland joined NATO–led to his removal from power.

If Putin invades Ukraine, it could be his last rodeo.


Putin seeks legally binding commitments from NATO that would be void under international law, threatens aggression against Ukraine if NATO doesn’t quickly accept his demands

See, Anton Troianovski, “Putin’s Next Move on Ukraine Is a Mystery. Just the Way He Likes It; The contradictory, sometimes menacing messages from the Kremlin…



Russian intervention in Kazakhstan II (January 7, 2022)

January 7, 2022 See, 1) AFP, “Russia’s ‘mini-Nato’ intervenes in Kazakhstan Clashes reported in Almaty as govt buildings cleared of protesters,” 24newshd.tv January 7, 2022(7:43…


Purin’s threats suggest he leans toward invading Ukraine (Updated December 31, 2021)

Updated January 11, 2022 The analysis in the article below, updated on December 31, 2021, appears to be confirmed by Russian statements following the bilateral…


Three urgent actions needed to save American democracy

Sometimes political situations and their implications are very clear to the objective observer, someone like the Observer who is far removed from the buzz of Washington, Twitter, and the latest “breaking news” on the Cable News networks. The Observer is a keen and unbiased commentator who reads many newspapers, both American and foreign, and who has been paying attention to political developments in the United States for a long time.

Drawing on this experience and his own original analysis, the Observer believes that there are three major problems that pose a challenge to American democracy, and that there are three active measures that the Democrats and “little d” democrats should take, now, in order to save the Republic.

Taking down Trump is the single most important action the Democrats can take to safeguard American democracy in 2022 and 2024. Together with passing legislation prohibiting the knowing transmission of lies and disinformation on television and radio, and enacting voting rights legislation, indicting Trump is an essential action in any program to protect American democracy against the anti-democratic and authoritarian threat Trump and his supporters represent.

These three problems represent the greatest challenges to American democracy today.

These three urgent actions represent our best hopes for beating back the anti-democratic challenge before it is too late.


The “Children Editors” at the Washington Post and the New York Times (updated January 15, 2022)

  Developing See, David Ignatius, “The Biden administration weighs backing Ukraine insurgents if Russia invades,” Washington Post, December 19, 2021 The “Children Editors” at the…


Coronavirus: Lab origin most likely, engineered virus possible (Updated January 12, 2022)

It turns out that the analysis of the former Director of MI-6 and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists were on to something, when they laid out in great detail the facts pointing to the likelihood of a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology being the source of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has now cost over 800,000 lives in the United States alone.

Dr. Alina Chan of Harvard and MIT:

“I think the lab origin is more likely than not. Right now it’s not safe for people who know about the origin of the pandemic to come forward. But we live in an era where there is so much information being stored that it will eventually come out.”

Dr. Chan is the co-author of a book on the subject with Viscount Ridly. Lord Ridly on the dangerous nature of the experiments:

“We know now that experiments were being done at biosecurity level 2 (similar to a dentist’s office) that resulted in 10,000 times increases in infectivity of viruses and three or four times their lethality. The important thing is to stop doing these experiments that are risky.”


Ukraine: Putin’s “red lines” and the “red lines” of the U.N. Charter and international law

Putin’s “red lines: have no meaning or significance under international law.

But Russia’s threats of an invasion of the Ukraine if it and NATO do not accede to Russia’s demands–for some kind of tong-term and binding security arrangements to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO or the EU–themselves violate the most fundamental norms of the United Nations Charter and international law.

These might be called, in a non-technical sense, the real “red lines” in international relations–the real “red lines” of the United Nations Charter and international law.


J’accuse

On January 13, 1898, French novelist Émile Zola published his famous letter entitled, “J’accuse” (I accuse), addressed to the President of the Republic, in which he denounced the government and its military command and their antisemitic leaders for prosecuting Alfred Dreyfus, a Captain of Jewish descent, on trumped up charges of treason. Dreyfus had been convicted in 1894, and at a subsequent retrial. Zola’s letter had a decisive impact on democracy and the rule of law in France.

In the United States, we now face a similar if not even graver moment in which the rule of law is at stake. It is a moment in which antisemitic and racist militants actively participate in a fascist conspiracy to overthrow the Constitution and the rule of law.

In these circumstances, the following letter is addressed to “Democrats “and political leaders in the United States, calling on them to act, vigorously and effectively, to defend American democracy.


Denazification and detrumpification

The United States faces a problem similar in many ways, and different in many ways, to the problem faced by Great Britain, France, and the United States after the defeat of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in May, 1945.
Denazification
In their respective occupation zones, which included parts of Berlin, England, France, and America faced the daunting task of governing a population whose thinking and world view had been altered by 12 years of Nazi lies and propaganda, and the terror with which the Nazi regime had ruled as it seized all positions of power and influence in the country.
The cult of Adolf Hitler was very strong.The Western Allies needed to de-program the German population in their respective occupation zones, as a first step toward laying the groundwork for a future democratic state and society.
The Western Allies held certain advantages, including military occupation and control over all governmental decisions in the British, French, and American zones of occupation and their respective sectors in Berlin.
Importantly, they also held control over all means of mass communication, including newspapers and radio.

(The Big Lie) is vaguely analogous to the “Stab-in-the-back” (“Dolchstoss”)myth Hitler and the Nazis spread in the 1920’s and early 1930’s in their drive to take power, which was ultimately successful in 1933. The “Dolchstoss” or “stab-in-the-back myth spread the totally false belief that Germany had lost world War I only as the result of betrayal by civilians on the home front, especially Jews, revolutionary socialists, and other Republican politicians.

Detrumpification: What can be done?
What can be done? What can we learn from Germany’s experience?


REPRISE: The Question of Individual Responsibility for the Actions of One’s Nation

We Americans share a culture, a way of life, and a history built on our Constitution and a dedication to the rule of law.

Yet we also share responsibility for the actions of our government, of our president and political leaders, particularly those serving in the Senate and the House of Representatives whom we have elected. When they commit transgressions of our democratic political order, or kill innocent civilians in violation of the laws of war (humanitarian law) in foreign conflicts, we also share responsibility for their and our government’s actions.

Is this a radical proposition? I think not, not if we reason carefully about what it means to live in a democracy, or to give full life to that democracy through our own thoughts, beliefs, and actions.

What are we to make then of politicians who approve of, or look the other way, when gross violations of our democratic order are committed, by our politicians, our legislators, and those who support them?

If our politicians tell big lies to the population about what they are doing, or if the president, for example, tells monstrous lies on a constant basis, and we do not speak out, are we complicit in his lies? Do we thereby incur moral responsibility? When the consequences of such big lies lead to sharp curtailment in spending for social services for the poor, or disrupt our fundamental sense of right and wrong, our fundamental moral values, or our very belief in the concept of truth, are we individually responsible for the actions and events which may follow? When the president dismisses serious news reporting, backed by solid sources, as “fake news”, and we do nothing, are we not individually responsible for the erosion of a culture of truth, and of expertise based on facts?

Are we then complicit in the assault on the truth, or the very concept of truth itself? Without the concept and practice of telling the truth, of course, no government can be held accountable for its actions. A country can slide down the slippery slope that leads to authoritarianism and dictatorship, and the crimes a dictatorship might commit to maintain itself in power, to realize the misshapen ideals of a of government not based on the rule of law, not based on the concept of justice, and not even based on the concept of simple everyday fairness.

If that occurs, are individuals responsible in a moral sense? Are we responsible? Individually?

If America slides into dictatorship as Germany, one of the most educated and advanced industrial countries in the world at the time, did in the 1930s, will we then be responsible for the crimes our government may commit, as Germans after World War II were viewed by many as responsible, as guilty for the crimes of the Third Reich?


Afghanistan today, October 28, 2021

Stroobants and Follorou report on divisions within the EU regarding the reestablishment of an EU presence in Kabul. Josep Borrell, the EU High Commisioner for Foreign Affairs, has announced the UE is sending a small group of technical experts to discuss humanitarian aid, stressing that its action in no way implies any kind of recognition of the Taliban government.

Borrell favors opening a diplomatic office to facilitate the flow of humanitarian aid and the departure Afghans who are in danger. Germany and the Netherlands support this approach. The Germans are even considering reopening their embassy in Kabul.

France and Denmark are critical of this approach, arguing that even humanitarian assistance will help the Taliban stabilize the situation in the country without acceding to the EU’s conditions that they respect human rights in order to receive such assistance.


U.S.-Taliban meetings in Doha reach an impasse, as enormous humanitarian disaster approaches

With the Americans and the Europeans firmly set in their demands that the Taliban provide guarantees for the respect of human rights before assets can be freed or aid can flow, the Afghan economy appears on the verge of collapse.

As winter is fast approaching, a humanitarian disaster of enormous proportions becomes more likely very day.

It is difficult to see either side yielding, while diplomacy is awkward and takes a lot of time.

In these circumstances, it seems likely that millions of Afghans will starve to death before the assistance they so desperately need reaches them.


Democrats refuse to indict Trump. Biden stumbles. Republicans gear up to steal elections. The fascist threat grows.

The Democrats refuse to prosecute Donald Trump. Moreover, they enforce a conspiracy of silence under which not even the question of whether Trump should be prosecuted can be discussed, or even raised.

Meanwhile, Trump, who appears to have committed numerous felonies in full public view, is left free to hold rallies and breathe air into a growing fascist movement led by the Republican party and his supporters

President Joe Biden continues to stumble, to blow the opportunities his and the Democrats’ narrow victories in 2020 have afforded him.

Neither Biden nor the Democratic leaders seem to understand that fascist threat.  

The country faces a fascist challenge supported by 35-40 million voters living in a propaganda universe, an alternate universe where facts and the truth do not hold sway, plus perhaps another 20 million cynical fellow travelers.

Nowhere are their leaders with the courage to stand up and defend our democracy by taking bold actions, such as indicting Trump.