Wednesday Night #2084

Written by  //  February 23, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

The untimely death of Dr. Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health, has been met with tributes from colleagues and celebrities around the world.
Sriram Shamasunder: With love and tears: My first and last memories of Dr. Paul Farmer

The unlamented Beijing Olympics are over. While Canada can be proud of the performances of its athletes  -and the number of medals they won- despite the challenges of the limits on trining imposed by possibly the most restrictive COVID protocols, the scandal surrounding Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva and general disgust with the way she was treated by her coaches will remain the story we all remember. And lest we forget, the undercurrent of China’s record of human rights abuses, brutal treatment of the Uyghur population of Xinjiang and the appalling cases of abduction and trafficking of women in Xuzhou raised by Kitty in her research of the case of the Chinese mother of eight who was discovered chained
Finally, there is the long-term effects of China Provided Abundant Snow for the Winter Olympics, but at What Cost to the Environment?The dense artificial snow that blanketed the competition zones for the games is likely to affect water, soil, animals and plants in the mountainous regions, scientists say.

Throughout the two weeks of the Games, the persistent background theme was Russia-Ukraine. What would Putin do? When? On Monday, the suspense was ended as Russia ordered troops into Ukraine. The Atlantic Council offers a number of analyses in an attempt to answer What happens next? The U.S. and allies have so far responded with sanctions.
As predicted Russia is executing a false flag exercise, claiming that it is responding to appeals for protection from the citizens of Donetsk and Luhansk. On Wednesday evening, the New York Times constantly updated the live news under the umbrella of Pentagon Says Russian Invasion of Ukraine Appears Imminent
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine appealed directly to the Russian people to avert war. The Kremlin said leaders of two breakaway areas in Ukraine had requested protection.
On Wednesday, the Montreal Branch of CIC hosted a lunch-time briefing with geopolitical expert Marko Papic who analysed three possible outcomes and came down firmly on the side of establishing a “Finlandized” Ukraine. Not all agree, as explained by Kenton White, Lecturer in Strategic Studies and International Relations, University of Reading in Ukraine: the problem with copying Finland’s strict cold war neutrality
Also of interest: The Current interview with Alexander Lanoszka, an assistant professor of international relations at the University of Waterloo, about how Western nations should respond to Putin’s actions.

With the end of the Olympics, Canadians turned their domestic focus on the “Freedom (aka Trucker) convoy”, protests and blockades of border crossings (notably the Ambassador Bridge and Coutts, Alberta), and especially the siege of Ottawa. With the Liberal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act, a coalition of police forces finally went to work and as of this writing, the streets of Ottawa are cleared. On Wednesday, presumably reacting to much criticism of that step.Justin Trudeau announced that he was ending the use of the Act, saying the ‘situation is no longer an emergency’. An inquiry into the government’s decision to invoke the act and subsequent police actions will begin within 60 days, and that will give the Conservatives leadership contenders plenty of opportunity to criticize.

Speaking of Conservative leadership, writing in The Hub, Ben Woodfinden maintains that “Pierre Poilievre is the heavy favourite and clear frontrunner to be the next leader of the Conservative Party. Going after Canada’s elite gatekeepers could be a winning strategy for the next Conservative leader.” However, there lurks a considerable threat to Mr. Polievre’s ambitions:
Jean Charest considering Conservative leadership run: sources
Former Quebec premier is fine-tuning his plan but may still change his mind, sources within party say

Long read
The Urban-Rural Culture War Has Gone Global
“…some political scientists argue that the city itself serves as an agent of progressive value change. For one thing, by bringing diverse groups into close proximity, cities facilitate the rapid dispersion of new ideas and values across diverse subpopulations. For another, population density helps members of sexual minorities find one another and organize, while also providing women stuck in traditional gender roles access to alternative role models, information, and public spaces with which to contest patriarchal values.
Precisely why industrial development and urbanization in the Global North has led to an increase in both the prevalence of progressive values and the urban-rural cultural gap cannot be settled here. But a new study fortifies the notion that this has in fact happened.
In “Progressive Cities: Urban-rural polarisation of social values and economic development around the world,” researchers affiliated with the International Inequalities Institute examined public opinion data from urban and rural regions in 66 different countries.

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