Developing Due to rapidly-breaking developments and in order to facilitate readers’ access to the latest dispatches, we are publishing this article as it is being…
U.N. Security Council
Nick Schifrin reports in tweets that Vladimir Putin has issued orders to invade Ukraine.
What could be the last chance to avoid war would be to reopen that last exit ramp for Putin.
At this point, only President Joe Biden has a shot at doing that successfully.
Summary and Conclusion
In conclusion, Biden should act urgently to reopen the last off-ramp, as suggested above, and even propose a summit with Putin, and perhaps other leaders.
At the same time, Biden should take the two steps in the United Nations suggested above.
There is no sign that the Biden administration has decided to launch a serious international legal critique of Russia’s mobilization of troops near the Ukranian…
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.
U.S.,NATO, and EU heavy “costs” that will be imposed on Russia if it invades Ukraine are a deterrent, built on illusions, which will not deter Putin.
The West needs to strengthen its deterrent threats and to start imposing sanctions now.
Russia should be sanctioned for threatening the use of force in violation of Article 2 paragraph 4 of the U.N. Charter, and bringing the world dangerously close to a major war in Europe which has the potential of escalating to a nuclear conflict.
The West has been playing defense, reacting slowly to Russia’s threat of a war of aggression against Ukraine.
German war criminals were tried at Nuremberg for committing “crimes against peace”. Putin is committing crimes against peace as we speak.
NATO and the West need to stop responding to Putin’s unlawful demands and to start making their own demands on Putin and Russia.
The best defense is a good offense, it is often said.
It is now time for the civilized nations if the world to move from defensive maneuvering to going on the offense against Putin and Russia.
They should demand the following steps from Putin, and impose escalating sanctions on Russia if he does not comply, and until he does.
These demands include the following:
The U.S., the EU, and NATO member countries should begin imposing severe economic sanctions on Russia for its ongoing threat to further invade Ukraine, for its continuing occupation of the Crimea, and for its continuing occupation, both directly and through agents under its control, of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces (together “the Donbas’j in the Eastern Ukraine.
The goal should be to really deter Putin from invading Ukraine, not just putting on a good show that NATO, the U.S. and the EU tried. A secondary goal should be to deter Belarus from allowing Russian troops to launch an invasion from its territory.
To really deter Putin, all countries should pressure Germany to go along with the expulsion of Russia from the SWIFT international payments system, if it invades Ukraine, and to commit now to cancellation of the Nordstream II pipeline project if that occurs.
As the civilized nations of the world move to offensive operations in defense of Ukraine, the imposition of heavy economic and other sanctions, perhaps on a partial and escalating basis, should begin at once.
Both Fiona Hill, above, and former Defense Secretary William Cohen, have called for the question of the threatened Russian invasion of Ukraine to be taken to the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. General Assembly.
These steps should be undertaken at once.
What can you say of a would-be statesman who refuses to use some of the strongest weapons in his arsenal in a life-and-death struggle to save American democracy, or a life-and-death struggle to maintain the existing international legal order, and the prohibition against the international use of force?
Why is Biden afraid to use law as a weapon in the war to defend American democracy, and in the war to defend the existing international legal order, i.e., international law and the U.N. Charter?
With law, as with many things, the old maxim holds: Use it or lose it.
In 1945, under the original scheme of the United Nations Charter, a country did not have to be a member of a collective self-defense or…
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…
1) Jacques Follorou, “En Afghanistan, les talibans seuls aux commandes; Après le départ des Américains, mardi 31 août, les fondamentalistes islamistes, dont les principaux dirigeants se sont réunis à Kandahar, vont devoir gérer une économie à l’arrêt,” Le Monde, le 30 août 2021 (à 10h05, mis à jour à 15h33).
Taliban leaders are gathered in Kandahar for a meeting to define the contours of the new government, and in doing so to sort out ideological and personnel issues related to internal divisions.
Jacques Follorou describes the three main factions within the Taliban .
Fighting continues in and over Nagorno-Karabakh. The Russian-brokered ceasefire agreed upon in Moscow on Saturday is not holding. It is time for the U.N. Security…
Under international law, Azerbaijan is entitled to take military action against forces in Nagorno-Karabakh or Armenia, if at all, only in accordance with the right of self-defense in the case of an armed attack, in accordance with Article 51 of the U.N. Charter.
Updated June 19, 2017 See Habib Toumi, (Gulf News Bureau Chief), “Measures on Qatar taken after exhausting all possible means, say Gulf countries,” Gulf News,…
Putin has challenged directly the existing international political and legal order, upon which, incidentally, the world’s economic order rests.
Either Putin and Russia win, or the West and the other civilized countries of the world win.
It is that stark and simple.
Western leaders, caught in the incapacitating net of their own illusions about Russia, and their own deep-seated pacifism and appeasement, are in effect slumbering through…
The news headline tonight is that President Barack Obama and Chancelor Angela Merkel are “demanding” that President Vladimir Putin withdraw his “humanitarian aid” truck convoy…
Developing Putin has challenged directly the existing international political and legal order, upon which, incidentally, the world’s economic order rests. Either Putin and Russia win,…
Draft (developing) Richard Balmforth of Reuters reports tonight that President Petro Petroshenko plans to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his fighters from the…
We do not need a “Munich II” conference led by German Foreign Minister Steinmeier, in Berlin or anywhere else, to offer up “concessions” in exchange…
Developing For recent news and commentary, see: (1) Jennifer Rubin, “Truth telling at the U.N., obfuscation at the White House,” Washington Post, July 20, 2014….
If one wants to see what appeasement, American-style, looks like, one need look no further than the Kerry-Lavrov talks in Paris on Sunday, at which…