Wednesday Night #2083

Written by  //  February 16, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

If one had to choose a single adjective for the past days’ events, Bizarre would seem to be the most appropriate.
The deluge of sombre analyses of the will-you-won’t-you declarations by Russia, the U.S., NATO allies and any others with a microphone or keyboard have been bolstered or dismissed by breathless bulletins from as many voices in disagreement.
With the invasion threat in limbo, the West asks itself again: What does Putin want with Ukraine?
Jeremy Kinsman agrees with Gwynne Dyer’s take Are we approaching Second World War 2.1?
No, we aren’t — and it says here there will not be a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia
On the other hand, on Wednesday evening, Reuters reports West warns Russia is moving troops towards, not away from, Ukraine, article with video
Russia’s military build-up near the Ukrainian border is continuing, the United States warned on Wednesday as Estonia said battle groups were approaching ahead of a likely attack to occupy “key terrain”, despite Moscow’s insistence of a pullback. There have been sightings of additional armoured vehicles, helicopters and a field hospital moving towards Ukraine’s borders, Britain’s defence intelligence chief Jim Hockenhull said in a rare public statement.

Most Canadians have been focused on the domestic issue of the Freedom (trucker)convoys, blockade of the Ambassador Bridge and other border crossing points, the shameful lack of police action in Ottawa, and now the enactment of the Emergencies Act.
See Canada: government & governance – protests and Canada: government & governance December 2021-
Politico Canada commented: “Canada invokes unprecedented emergency measures — and triggers a political firestorm – The embattled Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken an enormous gamble to remove the truckers’ protests, and his legacy is on the line.”
Trudeau indeed looked as though he had suddenly realized that he has a tiger by the tail. Chrystia Freeland and David Lametti looked much more sure of their ground.
The Economist tut-tutted: “Justin Trudeau’s crackdown on protests could make things worse
By seeking to curb free speech, he will aggravate Canada’s divisions”
Good piece Baffled by the Chaos in Canada? So Are Canadians.
The protests seem to challenge the cherished image that Canadians are moderate, rule-following and just plain nice. But was that really a myth all along?
By Catherine Porter, Toronto bureau chief for The Times

The Beijing Olympics continue in the surreal isolation imposed due to Covid fears. Nonetheless, Canada is holding its own (despite the loss in the men’s hockey) and can rejoice with

Quebec relaxes more and more strictures – ‘deconfinement’ in today’s parlance.
Who else reacted to François Legault’s refusal to accept the application of the Emergencies Act in Quebec that “I think it’s time to bring Quebecers together — it’s not time to divide them.” ?
Bill 21, Bill 96 and, and, and …
Dawson : un dangereux précédent
Rien ne justifie que les anglophones du Québec aient moins de droits que leurs concitoyens francophones, dit notre collaborateur André Pratte.

We have left aside political matter in the U.S. -or other news- but cannot let the on-going story of the Donald Trump document-flushing mania go completely unremarked.
And what about all those files he carted off to Florida? Surprise: Some of the Documents Trump Tried to Hide at Mar-a-Lago Were Actually Pretty Important

Food for thought?
Dyer: Are we approaching Second World War 2.1?
No, we aren’t — and it says here there will not be a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia
Last week, I wrote my umpteenth piece saying Russian President Vladimir Putin is not going to invade Ukraine. But U.S. President Joe Biden just gave us a hard date for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and it’s this week, probably Wednesday, Feb. 16.
Biden didn’t say when World War 2.1 will follow, but the constant references to the ‘“worst crisis since 1939” or the ‘worst war in Europe since 1945’ suggest it will be along shortly afterwards.
Despite these developments, I can’t recant my previous assertion that Russia will not invade Ukraine.

Immigration is the key to emerging markets becoming innovation hubs
Just a few decades ago, emerging markets constituted a negligible share of global patent production. But ever since, multinational enterprises (MNEs) started to conduct innovation more globally. By 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the 20-year growth rate of research and development (R&D) activities of U.S. MNEs in foreign countries—estimated to be 6 percent—exceeded the growth rate of R&D within the U.S., estimated at 4 percent. What explains this important shift? Our answer, based on our latest research paper, is human mobility.

The Kamila Valieva scandal shows the minimum age to compete in the Olympics needs to be raised
Hours after being made into a global pariah, 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valieva was back on the practice rink.
All the sparkle we’d seen a week ago was gone. Now that she lives in sporting limbo, Valieva sounds like the despondent uncle in a Chekhov play.

Monarchy can be a bulwark against tyranny
In Commonwealth countries where she is head of state, the Queen is represented by governors-general. Reigning but not ruling, her role is largely ceremonial, but in exceptional circumstances the governor-general has the authority to override the government.
The fact that ultimate authority resides above politicians is a potential brake on abuses of power. In the words of the Canadian political scientist Frank MacKinnon, the monarchy is a constitutional fire extinguisher, should normal democratic processes start to smoulder.

Andrew Coyne: Whether or not the Emergencies Act is the solution, blockades are a growing problem

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