International Law



REPRISE: Veterans’ Day, 2011: “Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?”

First published, November 11, 2011 My uncle died in a field in northern France with a German bullet in his head. To him, and all…


REPRISE II: Dare anyone say it? “We applaud the courage of the Ukrainian government and people in defending public order and the sovereignty and territorial independence of the Ukraine.”

October 20, 2014 Since the article below was written, Russia continued its invasion of the eastern Ukraine sending in Russian troops, tanks, artillery and other…


Merkel points to needed approach toward Putin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a striking photograph showing her pointing sharply at Vladimir Putin, has offered a powerful symbol of the attitude the West…


International law and the use of military force against groups in Syria

There is considerable confusion over the legality under international law of taking military action against groups and targets in Syria. This has led some governments…


Obama in Control: No lethal aid for Ukraine, no combat troops in Iraq no matter what, and lethal aid for “moderates” in Syria

Friday night fatigue can affect one’s musings on world affairs. Much of the fatigue this week comes from the news. The Russian-Ukrainian War Russia is…



The Russia-Ukraine War: Putin, cunning judo master, versus Obama, NATO, and EU, conflicted and confused; Protagonists continue battle for Ukraine and vision of world order

Developing Russian President Vladimir Putin, a cunning and brilliant tactician who has now taken on the entire international legal and political order through his invasions…


Putin’s response to new sanctions: (1) New invasion of Donbas with white truck convoy, entering without authorization or inspection; and (2) Renewed fighting (artillery and rockets) in Donetsk

Putin Escalates Crisis in Response to New Sanctions Russian President Vladimir Putin has reacted true to form, in response to the entry into force of…


Full text of new EU sanctions against Russia (September 8, 2014)

Developing See “New EU sanctions hit Russia,” EU Business, 12 September 2014 (11:10 CET). The full text of the new EU sanctions against Russia because…


TWO VASTLY DIFFERENT OUTCOMES — Conditions for lifting the new EU sanctions (once in force): (1) Ceasefire holds; or (2) All steps in Minsk Protocol on ceasefire and peace process completed

Much has been at stake in the battle within the EU over whether the new sanctions against Russia (agreed on September 5) should now enter…



Putin wins again? UE sanctions decision of September 5 appears to fall apart; Future of Minsk Protocol peace process in doubt

  See Editorial, “Making Mr. Putin feel the heat of sanctions,” Washington Post, September 9, 2014 (8:07 p.m. ET). The Achievement Represented by the Signing…


Inside Putin’s Brain—Part III: The Principle of “I make believe, you make believe”, the EU’s New Sanctions, and the Minsk Protocol — with Putin’s (imagined) annotations on full text (in English)

In warfare, as in diplomacy, it is important to try to put yourself in the shoes of your adversary, to try to understand what is…


Finland blocks entry into force of EU sanctions, gravely threatening prospects for peace in Ukraine

UPDATE (September 10, 2014) “Trotz Beschluss gegen Russland: EU drückt sich vor Sanktionen; Die Europäische Union zögert die angekündigten Strafmaßnahmen gegen Russland im Ukraine-Konflikt weiter…


Pacifists and appeasers in EU delay entry into force of new sanctions, undermining hard actions which produced Minsk ceasefire and peace process agreement

Latest News and Opinion See (1) “Sanktionen in der Ukraine-Krise: EU lässt Moskau noch einige Tage,” Der Spiegel, 8. September 2014 (2153 Uhr). Sie sind…



Terms of Minsk ceasefire agreement described; NATO decisions and new U.S. and EU sactions—if not sidelined at last moment—suggest toughening stance toward Putin

Developing Neil MacFarquhar of the New York times has provided an excellent summary of the terms of the ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk today, in…