Wednesday Night #2009

Written by  //  September 16, 2020  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Congratulations to Ron Meisels, Nancy Lydon, Monica Rizk, Carolyne Mignault and David Tippin as they celebrate the 30th anniversary of Phases & Cycles this week! That is impressive, as is the P&C track record.
This weekend as our Jewish friends celebrate Rosh HaShanah, we wish them and their families Shanah tovah um’tukah. At the same time, Happy Birthday greetings to the many Wednesday Nighters who share the Virgo sign.
Happy is, sadly, not an adjective that we can apply to much else this week.

U.S. presents plan to drop duties on aluminum imports after Canada threatens retaliation
Standing up to bullies works, especially when the Bully-in-Chief has no idea of the effects of his plan on his own constituents. P.S. It must have really annoyed DJT to be confronted by our new (diminutive), fierce, female Minister of Finance!
Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas share their views that Trump backing down was all about politics. In the second half of the segment they address the the normalization of Israel-Emirates and Israel-Bahrain relations – underline ‘normalization’.
Thomas Friedman writes: “The fact that the normalization of Israel-Emirates and Israel-Bahrain relations was actually set in motion because of the failure, thus far, of the Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy does not diminish its significance, even if it adds a dollop of irony to our story.”
Jonah Shepp is also skeptical: Trump’s ‘Peace’ Deal Doesn’t Make Mideast Conflict Any Less Likely pointing out that “These agreements, while historic in their own right, are not exactly peace treaties, as Israel was not at war with the UAE or Bahrain. … These oil-rich Gulf states had already been engaged in backroom diplomacy and trade with Israel for some time; Tuesday’s agreements allow them to bring their existing relationships out in the open and deepen them with direct flights, tourism, and open access to each other’s markets.”

The White House campaign follies continue. For those who worry that Trump might not admit defeat, over the weekend he raised a more awful possibility, saying he plans to “negotiate” to run again in 2024 if he wins reelection in November. Of course, that should require an amendment to the Constitution, or repeal of the 22nd amendment but we can hardly expect a detail like that to stand in his way. More optimistic, on Lawfare, Paul Rosenzweig offers concrete suggestions for Repairing the Rule of Law: An Agenda for Post-Trump Reform.

Kyle Matthews on CTV’s In depth: A rising tide of online hate
For context see: Launch of the UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech and UN framework on countering violent extremism online is the need of the hour

Continuing last week’s debate:  China’s expanding influence at the United Nations — and how the United States should react
The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is hosting Know Thy Enemy: Understanding the threat posed by Russia and China in the post-COVID era on Thursday (17 September). The speakers list is headed by highly respected Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, Senior Fellow, China Institute, University of Alberta.
On 21 September from 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM ED, Brookings is hosting Global China: Examining China’s approach to global governance and norms “China’s growing activism has provided a glimpse into its ambitions to assert a greater role for itself on matters of global governance. China’s growing activism also has raised key questions about the scale of Beijing’s ambitions and the tools it would be willing to use to advance them.”
The September/October issue of Foreign Affairs has a lengthy piece by Aaron L. Friedberg, Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University.
An Answer to Aggression – How to Push Back Against Beijing, while Colin Robertson examines Why it’s more effective for united democracies to ‘engage-and-constrain’ China than ostracize it

There has been relatively little mention of the 75th anniversary of the UN. In The UN’s Unhappy Birthday Richard Haass writes “the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping world leaders from gathering in New York City to mark the occasion and attend the opening of the annual General Assembly. In fact, the pandemic helps illustrate why the UN is not fit to organize and manage the international cooperation that the world urgently needs.”
With wildfires raging along the West coast of the U.S., the UN Convention on Biological Diversity issued a devastating report on Tuesday. “The world is failing to address a catastrophic biodiversity collapse that not only threatens to wipe out beloved species and invaluable genetic diversity, but endangers humanity’s food supply, health and security. See A ‘Crossroads’ for Humanity: Earth’s Biodiversity Is Still Collapsing.

How NOT to win friends and influence people
Andrew Coyne slices and dices Erin O’Toole’s foray into Quebec in What else does Erin O’Toole want to take back?

To our dismay, thousands of Montrealers turned out to demonstrate that the spread of MAGA ignorance is not curtailed by the continuing border closure Thousands of Montrealers march to protest against wearing masks. Whether directly related (it may be too soon) or not, there have been more than 300 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, and we suspect that there will be additional spikes in the days ahead.

Valérie Plante‘s misguided -if not malicious- policies which, whatever their original intent, have resulted in misery for downtown businesses, major streets narrowed by useless pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths and, of course, inevitable orange cones signalling construction, drastically reduced parking, access for deliveries, etc. Who would have believed eighteen months ago that citizens of all stripes would be calling for the return of Denis Coderre and now this: Could David Heurtel be next mayor of Montreal? “Although he has yet to announce his intentions, the name of former Quebec environment and immigration minister David Heurtel keeps popping up in conversations about Montreal mayoral candidates … Heurtel ticks off many of the right boxes. And he’s a dog lover to boot.”

While on the topic of dog lovers: On the Packing List This Year: Masks, Sanitizer and a Very Good Boy offers some useful information about vacations with Person’s Best Friend
Neither house sitters nor jetting off for the weekend are possibilities for most dog owners who want to travel right now. So these furry friends are increasingly curled up in the back (or front) seat, enjoying the ride.

Andrew Caddell writes in this week’s Hill Times column Attacking prominent women does no one any goodThe adverse attention on prominent women like Payette will do nothing to encourage future female leaders to venture into public life. If so, we will all be the poorer for it. True, but giving them a pass for failure to live up to their roles does other women no favours and maybe the vetting process should include whether the candidate owns a dog?

Last week we mentioned that  The McConnell Foundation is hosting a virtual event next Wednesday (23 September) marking the release of Seth Klein’s new book, A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency. Désirée will introduce Seth with whom she began her activist life at the age of 16, when she, Seth and two others undertook the SAGE tour crossing Canada speaking to their peers about nuclear disarmament.

Yes, we are all over-Zoomed, but this event may be of interest to trade mavens.
Canadian International Council (CIC) Edmonton is hosting a webinar The New NAFTA & The Future of US-Canada Trade on Thursday (the 17th) at 8-9pm ET. Free registration.

Long reads:
Bringing back Beirut
Residents are weary of a corrupt political system that sent their country into an economic tailspin and left a stockpile of explosive chemicals at their port for years. Many here say the explosion — and the profound neglect and dysfunction it exposes among the political elites — has drawn a line.
For some, that means stand your ground and fight. But for so many others, it means flight.
Les six crises post-pandémiques du Canada
Alors que le discours public demeure préoccupé par les taux d’infection à la COVID-19 au jour le jour, le pays fait déjà face à six crises nationales de « système » – c’est-à-dire six crises dont la maîtrise dictera la qualité de vie des Canadiennes et Canadiens dans un avenir prévisible, mais dont la non-maîtrise risque de causer la désintégration du pays.
A ‘Crossroads’ for Humanity: Earth’s Biodiversity Is Still Collapsing
Countries have made insufficient progress on international goals designed to halt a catastrophic slide, a new report found.
The world is failing to address a catastrophic biodiversity collapse that not only threatens to wipe out beloved species and invaluable genetic diversity, but endangers humanity’s food supply, health and security, according to a sweeping United Nations report issued on Tuesday

Maybe not so funny?
Chapter Books Rewritten to Reflect the Catastrophic Effects of Climate Change
Desertification leads to the collapse of global supply chains, driving Willy Wonka out of business, and other Anthropocene plots.

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