Wednesday Night #2077

Written by  //  January 5, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Compare and contrast: the last W.N. of 2020 (Wednesday Night #2024) sounds a much more hopeful note than we are able to muster this year.

Much of the punditry this year focuses on the dire situation in the U.S. with gloom and doom dominating any forecasts regarding the 2022 mid-terms. We have attempted to assemble some key commentary on our Year-end 2021 reviews and predictions for 2022 – the Janus 2022 page – to which we will be adding over the next days and weeks as appropriate.

In the meantime, we suggest a few items.
Jeremy Kinsman on CTV: End-of-a-bad-year wrap-up: China/Canada, the Afghan exit disaster , US democracy on the ropes, and economic interdependence
Elections to Watch in 2022
Next year’s contests are set to bring populist reckonings, parliamentary headaches, and a possible democratic crisis or two.
Ian Bremmer: Top Risks 2022
Douglas Porter: Outlook 2022: Recovery or Relapse?
Also worthwhile is The era of globalization has come to an end. We don’t yet know what replaces it, Doug Saunders’ commentary on the forthcoming book Slouching Towards Utopia by J. Bradford DeLong, who is arguing for a “long twentieth century,” starting in 1870 and ending at some point after 2010 – the beginning and the end of the age of globalization.”

Of immediate concern is the state of democracy in the U.S. and what may erupt on the January 6 anniversary. 4 startling polls you should read about Jan. 6
As the one-year anniversary of Jan. 6 approaches this week, news outlets are out with a spate of new polls showing how the siege of the Capitol has affected American politics. It is not pretty.
The good news is that Trump canceled the event he planned for anniversary of Jan. 6 Capitol riot, “due to ‘the total bias and dishonesty’ of the media and the House select committee investigating the former president’s role in the Jan. 6 attack.”

On the international scene we will be watching developments in the tensions over Russia‘s actions in Ukraine and the cluster of talks in Europe next week. Of note is Secretary Blinken’s Call with the Bucharest Nine
See Jeremy Kinsman’s Monday CTV interview on “the Russia/USA/Ukraine war – so far – of words” and the second half of Tuesday’s Diplomatic Community with Larry Haas.

Wednesday Night authors have been busy:
Chris Neal shares with us the news that his book, The Rebel Scribe – Carleton Beals and the Progressive Challenge to US Policy in Latin America, is being published this month and is now available for pre-order.
In the January/February 2022 Climate Change & Clean Energy special edition of Policy Jeremy Kinsman explores the twin challenges of COVID-19 and climate change, and what was revealed in Glasgow about our global coping mechanisms (The Verdict on COP26: Keeping Hope Alive)
Cleo Paskal writes that 2021 was a good year for China. And, unless something changes, 2022 is looking to be even better. China is winning, especially in the smaller countries. But as it refines its steps, and faces few counters, it will gain confidence and allies and move to bigger targets. China enters new role as Pacific Islands policeman
C Uday Bhaskar addresses China: An abiding challenge for IndiaAs the LAC challenge heightens, India must evolve a resolute and effective holding strategy to prevent further salami-slicing by PLA
Akaash Maharaj, ambassador-at-large for the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption shares a delightful memory: Archbishop Desmond Tutu was right: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission proved to be a miracle of the modern age

Notable deaths
Desmond Tutu described as nation’s ‘moral compass’ at South Africa requiem Mass farewell
Betty White, a Television Golden Girl From the Start, Is Dead at 99
Frank Bruni’s charming profile of Betty White Facing Age With a Saucy Wink, written in April 2011.
Richard Leakey, Kenyan conservationist who campaigned against ivory trade, has died
Leakey was the son of palaeontologists Louis and Mary Leakey, whose work helped demonstrate that human evolution began in Africa.
Richard King, author, longtime bookseller — he was co-founder and co-owner of Paragraphe Bookstore until its sale in 2000 — and CBC Radio books columnist. In the early 1980s, he and Jonathan Penney bought the Mansfield Book Mart and renamed it Paragraphe Bookstore. It became the first bookstore café in Canada, and one of the first in North America. They pioneered the Books & Breakfast series, which drew hundreds of Montrealers, and, “through Paragraphe, contributed to the city in so many ways,” said Simon Dardick of Véhicule Press. A number of former Paragraphe employees went on to careers as writers, editors and teachers. Terry Mosher gave a wonderful tribute on CBC Radio – unfortunately, no link available. UPDATE: Thanks to Terry for sharing the link https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-383-lets-go/clip/15887172-terry-mosher-remembers-richard-king
and
Eric Hamovitch
Eric was a master of trivia and the written word. He began his career as a journalist with Canadian Press and, much to his mother’s chagrin, took a posting in Mexico City as a foreign correspondent for Central America at a time of extreme political turbulence. Eric was one of the initial investors in the board game Trivial Pursuit, for which he also wrote many of the questions. He authored and co-authored many political books and biographies and combined his love of travel with his journalistic skills, writing numerous travel books. More recently, Eric served as a Director for the Institute for Responsible Government

The end of an era
Goodbye, BlackBerry. You were the coolest toy on Parliament Hill
Susan Delacourt
Many people may have forgotten how life-changing the BlackBerry was, especially for those of us who were early adopters back at the beginning of this 21st century. The idea of staying in email contact while on the move — far more discreet and less disruptive than mobile phones — was revolutionary, especially for the political class on Parliament Hill.

We refuse to go into any detail about our current Covid situation and the ever-changing regulations, but this from the McGill Office for Science and Society may be useful.
Some things to know about COVID rapid tests – They are not perfect, but a test doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be useful.

Aerospace and aviation
The James Webb telescope successfully deployed its sunshield on Tuesday, a key milestone in preparing it for science operations.
Do not know how we missed this news in early December: Senate Confirms Captain ‘Sully’ as ICAO Ambassador
and at the other end of the spectrum, the news of the Sunwing charter flight whose social media influencers and reality TV stars passengers were caught on video partying maskless in the aisles. Now airlines are refusing to fly them home.

Varia
A heartwarming story from Robert Reich to restore your faith in (small town) America:
The heart of a community: a small business What the rescue of Dan & Whit’s General Store can teach us
Canadian violin maker makes his mark in the Italian town where the instrument was invented
Bernard Neumann is considered one of the world’s top violin makers and restorers
Utterly delightful Shelter Dogs Getting To Choose Their Own Christmas Toy is impossible to watch only once.
Here we come a-wassailing: Warren Clements’ annual Christmas carol spoof

Long reads
How the E.U. Allowed Hungary to Become an Illiberal Model
After years of complacency and wishful thinking, Brussels is finally trying to rein in the country’s pugnacious leader, Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The Price of Happiness
U.N. Power Broker Jeffrey Sachs Took Millions From the UAE to Research “Well-Being”
The American polity is cracked, and might collapse. Canada must prepare
Thomas Homer-Dixon, executive director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University.
The U.S. is becoming increasingly ungovernable, and some experts believe it could descend into civil war. What should Canada do then?
(Globe & Mail) By 2025, American democracy could collapse, causing extreme domestic political instability, including widespread civil violence. By 2030, if not sooner, the country could be governed by a right-wing dictatorship.
The Republican Party Is Succeeding Because We Are Not a True Democracy
By Jedediah Britton-Purdy, professor of constitutional law at Columbia, is writing a book about American democracy — and how to save it.
(NYT) The Jan. 6 attack would not have happened in a genuine democracy.
The attack was the most acute symptom — so far — of the political crisis that Donald Trump incited by refusing to admit defeat in the 2020 election. But the roots of the crisis run deep into the undemocratic features of our constitutional system.
If American democracy is going to survive, the media must make this crucial shift
For the most part, news organizations are not making democracy-under-siege a central focus of the work they present to the public. …news leaders, show that you really mean it. Put that pro-democracy coverage in front of your paywall, just as you’ve done with much of your covid coverage.
2021: a year of climate crisis in review
A look back at 12 months of key summits, devastating weather and alarming discoveries

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