Wednesday Night #1961

Written by  //  October 16, 2019  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #1961

I am back in our traditional WN home of Montreal after an exhilarating experience of hosting Wednesday Night @ Pearson College UWC in Victoria BC with a group of impressive Pearson students from around the world. Such thoughtful, accomplished, articulate young people! I am still absorbing/digesting their comments based on personal experiences. Huge thanks to Désirée McGraw for organizing the event and my trip to the beautiful Pearson campus!
In light of a week’s absence and concentration on Pearson & family activities in BC the Prologue for this Wednesday will be short.
While there are other important events around the world, the one that we are watching most closely with distress and disgust is the abandonment by Donald Trump of the Kurds in Syria. As the New York Times editorial board writes: Trump Just Created a Moral and Strategic Disaster.
The editors remind us that “History is littered with instances of one-time allies abandoned by Washington to their fate — the Bay of Pigs invasion; the fall of South Vietnam; numerous internal uprisings, like Hungary in 1956, that were fanned by the United States only to be smothered when aid, implicit or explicit, was withheld. The United States has abandoned the Kurds — a stateless people who live in parts of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Armenia and Iran — on numerous occasions in just the past half century. The most infamous of these betrayals came when Saddam Hussein attacked them with poison gas in 1988, and the Reagan administration protected the Iraqi government from congressional sanctions.
“Yet the decision by the Trump administration to quit Syria stands apart because the status quo was entirely sustainable. American forces were not taking high numbers of casualties. The region under control of the Kurds was largely quiet. Islamic State fighters were penned up. There wasn’t major international pressure for the United States to withdraw. If the Trump administration had wanted to acquiesce to Mr. Erdogan’s pleadings to let Turkey take stronger actions in service of its own national security, it could surely have managed such steps in a far more measured and coordinated manner.”
The explanation lies perhaps with what Peter Wehner underlines in The Atlantic Trump Betrayed the Kurds. He Couldn’t Help Himself..

UPDATE from The Diplomatic Community
Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas take on the two key issues of the moment: Syria/Turkey/Kurds ++ all the other players, and the rumored, complex, Brexit deal.

We are only 5 days away from the federal election and according to Elections Canada Roughly 4.7M ballots [have been] cast in advance polls
That figure is significantly higher than the number of votes cast in the advance polls in 2015. But what does it mean?
Trudeau and Singh are campaigning in Quebec over the next couple of days as the race becomes much more competitive.
According to a Nanos Research poll, the Bloc’s public support has risen by five points during the campaign outside of Montreal, which is where most of the swing ridings in Quebec are located. Pollster Nik Nanos said that with Vancouver and the ridings in the 905 area code just outside Toronto, Quebec is “one of the top three battlegrounds” in the current campaign.
The Nanos poll has the Liberals in the lead in Quebec at 34.7 per cent, followed by the Bloc at 24.5 per cent, the NDP at 15.5 per cent and the Conservatives at 15.2 per cent. The Greens are at 8.3 per cent and the People’s Party is at 0.7 per cent.
The latest Ipsos poll, conducted exclusively for Global News between Oct. 11 and 13, found that support for the Conservatives is down two percentage points (at 32 per cent) while the Liberals dropped five points (30 per cent).
The NDP is up five percentage points since last week. If the election were held tomorrow, the party would receive 20 per cent of the popular vote.

The U.S. Democrats were on stage again Tuesday night. Early commentary from the Washington Post (Winners and losers from the October Democratic debate) suggests that Elizabeth Warren  is viewed as perhaps the front-runner now. There will be lots more to read on Wednesday. Meantime, asks and sort-of answers “Is This Elizabeth Warren’s Democratic Party?. He concludes “Buttigieg ended the night in an interesting position. … Perhaps there is an opening for him, as the candidate of the preëxisting Democratic Party rather than of those who would transform it. There is an opening for someone there, at least. Warren is the strongest candidate in the field. She also aims to hitch the Democrats to an agenda of sweeping economic transformation that the Party has not yet fully debated. Perhaps that began on Tuesday night. By the end, it didn’t seem like Warren’s party—not just yet.”

The Spectator asked on Tuesday morning: Could a Brexit deal fall into place overnight? Negotiators have been once again locked in talks to try to bridge the gap between the UK and EU, and today Michel Barnier set a deadline of midnight to agree the details of a potential agreement. There’s lots of positive language around, with Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson agreeing in a call this morning that there was ‘positive momentum towards getting a deal done’, and Leo Varadkar saying that while ‘the gap was still quite wide on the issue of customs’, and said it might not be necessary to secure an extension to Article 50 – though he also didn’t rule it out.
But it’s not yet clear whether leaders will be able to agree to something which will allow the EU summit to back a deal later this week to go ahead. Barnier’s deadline involved Britain signing up to a customs deal in the Irish Sea, which was previously deemed unacceptable, and will prove difficult with the DUP in particular.
Meanwhile, according to the BBC, The Guardian is reporting that a draft treaty could be published on Wednesday morning, claiming the UK has made further concessions over the issue of customs and the Irish border.
But early on Wednesday morning, the Washington Post published Brexit talks don’t get breakthrough, continue on summit eve stating that European Union and British negotiators failed to reach a breakthrough in Brexit talks during a frantic all-night session and will continue seeking a compromise on the eve of Thursday’s crucial EU summit.


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