jus cogens

Biden’s defeatist approach to Ukraine: “If Putin invades Ukraine, we will sanction every clerk in his office.” In the meantime, U.S. clerks will go through the motions at the U.N. Significant risk of nuclear war exists.

The U.S. has called for an “open” meeting of the U.N. Security Council for Monday, January 31, the last possible day before Russia takes over the rotating Presidency of the Council for the month of February. It is not clear if this call was for an “Emergency Meeting” of the Security Council. If it wasn’t, it should have been.

The call for a meeting on Monday and not Friday reveals the total lack of urgency which seems to animate the Biden Administration’s actions.

Having not heard any serious international law arguments criticizing Russia’s actions and threats against Ukraine, one must assume that the call for a Security Council meeting is just a perfunctory gesture. Someone must have woken up and realized that the Russians were assuming the Presidency of the Council on Tuesday, which could make convening a meeting more difficult.

John F. Kennedy read The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman in 1962. We should all be reading it now. And another of her books which which is highly relevant, The March of Folly (1984).

The Guns of August, which was published only months before the Cuban Missile crisis, appears to have had a deep impact on John F. Kennedy and his approach to decision-making during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Given how dicey that U.S.-Soviet nuclear confrontation was, it could be that one reason we are all here is that he read that book.

If you see international lawyers and diplomats on television talking about international law, there may be some hope for diplomacy.

If you see generals talking about military capabilities and deployments, we may be headed toward a major ground war in Europe, and the attendant risks of escalation to a limited nuclear conflict or to an all-out nuclear war.



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.



REPRISE (2019) — Veterans’ Day, 2011: “Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?”

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




REPRISE: Russia’s utter and continuing violation of international law in the Ukraine: U.N. General Assembly Resolution A/RES/25/2625 (1970) on Principles of International Law and Friendly Relations Among States

In 1970, at the height of the Cold War and only two years after the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw…


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…


U.S., France, U.K. and other members should vehemently oppose any Russian-backed Security Council resolution endorsing Minsk II agreement

News reports speak of the intention of Russia to bring a resolution to the U.N. Security Council which would incorporate the terms of the Minsk…



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…


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

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Reports that Merkel is negotiating a settlement with Putin that would recognize Russian annexation of the Crimea, in violation of peremptory norms of international law

Forbes describes reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin are working on “a closed-door peace plan” that would recognize Russian annexation…



UKRAINE: Russia military intervention underway in Crimea, in flagrant violation of international law

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International Law and the Use of Force: Drones and Real Anarchy Unleashed Upon the World

Recently a number of articles have been published that are of particular interest with respect to the development and use of drones. See William Wan…


UPDATE: Anwar al-Aulaqi: Targeted Killings, Self-Defense, and War Crimes

UPDATE The Center for Constitutional Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed suit against the Treasury Department for rules that require them to…