Wednesday Night #1839

Written by  //  June 7, 2017  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #1839

Kudos to Cleo Paskal. Wednesday Nighters who attended her “Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific” were enthusiastic about the quality of the guest lecturers, the content and structure.

There is so much going on in Montreal – most tied in in one way or another with the 375th – even if that is a very odd anniversary to be celebrating. You have surely noticed the god-awful standards with the colourful flags of many nations, plus provinces and territories along Sherbrooke Street – marking the Balade pour la Paix and there are festivals, exhibitions and conferences galore.  Congratulations to Kyle and Céline Cooper, along with Guillaume Lavoie and Ion Valaskakis  on the success of Next City Vanguard Montreal 2017 – a first for the city and for Canada. But NOTHING it seems will outshine the first visit  of former President Obama to the metropolis on Tuesday. Tickets for the event were sold out in a half-hour, unfortunately some to scalpers who hawked them for  as much as $1000. Six thousand people attended the less-than-intimate affair and the media swooned. And then, he was off to an intimate dinner with our PM at Liverpool House in St. Henri.

We are looking forward to welcoming Joe Carusella, National Vice President, Canada Operations of NextGear Capital. Joe was previously Senior Director at Desjardins Credit Union where he headed up the automotive and durable goods business unit with finance, retail and business development.
Joe’s presence offers an excellent opportunity to explore a topic  recently raised by Albert Sévigny:
“In early May, Anti-Media reported on a new study published by a Stanford professor claiming vehicle ownership will drop 80 percent by 2030. That study, as The Telegraph wrote this week, has been making the rounds in environmental circles and in the board rooms of companies with a stake in the fossil fuel game. But as more analysts are digging through this exhaustive new study, they’re finding that some of the predictions made by economist Tony Seba are far more profound than originally thought. In his report, Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030, Seba is actually predicting that virtually all fossil fuel vehicles will have vanished within eight years. All new vehicles will be electric, all new buses, all new cars, all new tractors, all new vans, anything that moves on wheels will be electric, globally.”

Once again, Donald Trump has managed to either dominate or insert himself into almost every item of news whether gratuitously insulting the Mayor of London (on the basis of DJT’s misreading of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s statement following the terrorist attack in London), or taking credit for the rift between Qatar and the Saudi-led group of Gulf countries. Was he ignoring, or was he not aware of the some 11,000 US troops based in and around Doha?
While we are on the subject of the Middle East and specifically, Saudi Arabia, this report from Brookings makes for a very interesting read: The $110 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia is fake news. The author, Buce Riedel is hardly a lightweight.

Canada’s foreign policy was in the spotlight in an unusual way. Paul Wells writes: It isn’t every year that Canada’s foreign minister delivers a general speech on policy to the House of Commons. In fact, as far back as I can recall, it hasn’t been any year. The reason for breaking precedent this year isn’t only that Freeland, who has written books, fancies the big picture. It’s that the big picture is undeniably changing in ways that cry out for attempts to describe the new context. “International relationships that had seemed immutable for 70 years are being called into question,” as Freeland put it. “Long-standing pacts”—Hello, NAFTA and NATO—”are being tested.”

On the 73rd anniversary of the landing in Normandy (D-Day), Wednesday Night’s two Davids tackled the topic of NATO’s Article 5.
In NATO’s Shibboleth, Article 5 and Member’s Contributions, David Jones argues that “there is no Article 5 requirement for NATO members to do anything” and thus Donald Trump’s failure to specifically affirm US commitment to the principle of one for all and all for one is a non-issue. He concludes “Europe is quite capable of doing much more, and a reality check, as demonstrated by a 2 percent commitment to defense expenditures, would be a useful illustration of a modernized NATO—beyond the $1.2 billion new NATO Headquarters.” In NATO and the Transatlantic Relationship David Kilgour deplores the weakening of the alliance, citing Angela Merkel, “who is increasingly the new leader of the free world, [and who] told party members in Munich, “We must know that we alone have to fight for our own future, as Europeans, for our destiny”. Like many others in NATO, the E.U. and elsewhere, she clearly foresees a major fracturing in the trans-Atlantic alliance.”

Another notable anniversary this week – the 50th of the Six Day War. Beryl Wajsman has written a moving and highly informative piece Masada shall not fall again! Metzadah shuv lo tipol!
The Six Day War: 50 Years Later on Facebook (we are hoping for a permanent link). We also recommend
How the Six-Day War Transformed Religion — Six perspectives on how the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict changed Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Mormonism

As we await the James Comey testimony and outcome of the British elections,  we continue to try for some lighter notes.

It is hard to believe that the leaker of secrets really rejoices in the name of Reality Winner – surely somebody made that up!

Do not miss this operatic delight:
Real Fake News – Opera vs. Trump (Rossini Edition)
the wonderful Randy Rainbow Broadway COVFEFE Medley

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