vladimir putin

The Russian proposal to control and dismantle chemical weapons in Syria—How to test it without losing momentum

The Russians have been nimble at diplomacy throughout the two and a half years of the Syrian crisis, and today was no exception.  Picking up…




Syria: Russia and Iran complicit under International Law in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity

Sergei Lavrov argues that Russia has to supply modern weapons systems to Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime in Syria in accordance with contracts that have already…


The risks of playing the Russians’ diplomatic game: Putin, al-Assad, and their willing dupe–Barack Obama

Unless the military balance shifts, talk of diplomacy is little more than an excuse to ignore atrocities and red lines. The choice is not between…



REPRISE: “Looney Toons” at the White House: New York Times article details Obama’s thinking on Syria—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #45 (May 27, 2012)

Introduction to the REPRISE (May 7, 2013) So, Obama’s “red line” on the use of chemical weapons in Syria turns out to be a red…


André Glucksmann, “The killing continues in Syria” (English translation)—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #81 (August 28)

The French text of André Gluckmann’s article on Syria and Vladimir Putin, published in Le Monde on August 11, has now been translated (in rather…


Will the raging fire in Syria reach the cedars of Lebanon?—Obama’s Debacle in Syira — Update #77 (August 24)

If you’ve ever attended a conference at the Commodore Hotel or walked near the American University in West Beirut, or had a drink at a…


Security Council adopts Resolution 2059 extending mandate of UNSMIS for 30 days (with text); fighting and risks intensify—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #67 (July 20)

The U.N. Security Council adopted a draft resolution sponsored by the United Kingdom, France, and Germany on Friday morning, July 20, 2012, extending the term…


Draft Security Council Resolution S/2012/538 vetoed by Russia and China (text of resolution and video link)—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #66 (July 19)

Draft Resolution S/2012/538 on Syria, sponsored by France, Germany, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States, was put to a vote this morning in…


REPRISE: “The League of Authoritarian States”—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #65 (July 19)

REPRISE: “The League of Authoritarian States”—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #50 (June 9) First published June 9, 2012 … Responses to events in Syria…


If Russia vetoes a Security Council resolution on Syria, then what? — Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update # 64 (July 17)

We are at a potential decision point on Syria. A draft resolution presented by France, the U.K., the United States and Germany, extending the UNSMIS…


REPRISE: Goals to guide the international community in Syria—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #62 (July 11)

Originally published May 29, 2012 With talk of orchestrating a Yemen-style transition in Syria through agreement between Russia and the United States, it may be…


What future for UNSMIS and for Kofi Annan? Russia pushes for more of the same, with an implied military threat to dissuade all from any other options—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #61 (July 11)

For a long-time student of diplomatic history and international politics, it is painful to watch the amateurism of Barack Obama’s foreign policy and foreign policy team….


Kofi Annan proves Karl Marx right: “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce”—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #59 (July 9)

For background, see the following articles by The Trenchant Observer: “Oh, what a beautiful castle in the sky! Kofi Annan—the Illusionist, the moral cowardice of…


Immunity or safe-conduct for al-Assad? Can Kofi Annan fail? Conference before cease-fire?—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #56 (June 23)

A lot of wasted time and diplomatic effort could be saved if the world’s leaders insisted on their top international lawyers sitting in on critical…


New massacre, some 140 killed in Syria; U.N. General Assembly meeting, Security Council consultations on Thursday—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #49 (June 7)

The BBC reports, Syrian pro-government forces have killed at least 86 people in Hama province, many of them women and children, activists say (emphasis added)….


Goals to guide the international community in Syria—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #47 (May 29)

With talk of orchestrating a Yemen-style transition in Syria through agreement between Russia and the United States, it may be useful to address the question…


“Looney Toons” at the White House: New York Times article details Obama’s thinking on Syria—Obama’s Debacle in Syria — Update #45 (May 27)

looney-tunes adj. [after Looney Tunes, trademark for a series of animated cartoons] [Slang] crazy; demented: also loon’ y-tunes *** loony [Slang] adj. loon’i-er, looní-est [LUNATIC]…