Wednesday Night #2085

Written by  //  March 2, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

A week ago, Wednesday Nighters were anxiously checking for the most recent developments on the Russia-Ukraine border.
It was almost a relief when the shoe finally dropped and on Thursday morning (ET) reports confirmed that Russia invades Ukraine in Europe’s ‘darkest hours’ since WWII

Since then, it has been impossible for most of us to stay away from news whether learned analyses from webinars and print media, live reports from news sites (CNN has regained much respect), or flashes from social media. And for those who are less discriminating in their selection of sources, there has been a bombardment of everything from uninformed conjecture to disinformation with RT leading the disinformation pack, but for the moment it appears Ukraine is winning the information war. Many feared Ukraine’s internet access would be cut off, either through cyberattacks or the destruction of internet infrastructure — or both. While there have been some temporary outages and attacks on government websites, for the most part, there hasn’t been an internet blackout yet. Even so, after Ukraine’s vice prime minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, tweeted an appeal to Elon Musk, the billionaire sent help.

And hanging over all developments is the question of Putin’s state of mind (Reading Putin: Unbalanced or cagily preying on West’s fears?).
See also Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas on The War Day 6, and the state of Putin’s mind (CTV Diplomatic Community)

Meanwhile, we are becoming familiar with a pantheon of new heroes and heroines led by the extraordinary Volodymyr Zelensky and his courageous wife Olena who are targets for assassination, but steadfastly remain.
Among the many unsung heroes are those brave Russians who have assembled to protest the war, among the hundreds who have been arrested is Yelena Osipova, a 77-year-old artist and activist, was marched away by a group of police while she protested against the war in St Petersburg.
International organizations including the UN General Assembly and the ICC have reacted swiftly. The EU is wrestling with how to respond to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy’s emotional appeal on Tuesday for Ukraine’s accession to the EU. Later in the day, the Parliament overwhelmingly approved a resolution in support of Ukraine that also called on the EU’s institutions to “work towards” giving the country the status of an official candidate for membership.
We would also like to draw your attention to Bob Rae‘s eloquent statement to the UNGA

Gloria Calhoun sends a link to a one-page synopsis of the “memory wars” at play in Ukraine-Russia conflict. https://hsoc.gatech.edu/news/item/655307/memory-wars-fuel-conflict-russia-ukraine, adding “that the author knows whereof he speaks about political control of national memory – he and his wife were run out of their academic positions in St. Petersburg (Smolny Institute) because he deviated from the officially sanctioned history of WWII. The international academic community was very supportive as they transitioned to appointments in US universities.”

Our preoccupation with Russia-Ukraine, must not take away from President Biden’s State of the Union (SOTU) message delivered on Tuesday night (See complete text). We found it impressive and carefully crafted to produce maximum bipartisan agreement by starting off with the situation in Ukraine. (4 takeaways from Biden’s State of the Union address). Obviously the mid-terms are uppermost in the collective mind of the White House and thus the evocation of Buy America, with the implications for Canada must be carefully examined. As Politico’s Ottawa Playbook opines: “Trade disputes, ahoy: Biden’s pledge to “make more cars and semiconductors in America” may have delighted U.S. automakers, perhaps less so in the offices of International Trade Minister MARY NG and her counterpart, Mexico’s Economy Secretary TATIANA CLOUTHIER CARRILLO. Both countries have threatened retaliation against the U.S. over a proposed EV tax credit favoring American-made vehicles over ones assembled via a North American supply chain.”
We would welcome expert opinion on how the son-of-NAFTA and the Auto Pact are affected -or can affect eventual outcomes.

The nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court is subject to Senate confirmation, so we will have plenty of time to discuss it on another date.

Peter Berezin sends this for your consideration:
A New Cold War (Published Monday Feb 28)
• Hopes of an imminent peace deal between Russia and Ukraine will be dashed. The conflict will worsen over the coming days.
• As was the case during the original Cold War, both sides will eventually forge an understanding that allows the pursuit of mutually beneficial arrangements.
• A stabilization in geopolitical relations, coupled with fading pandemic headwinds, should keep global growth above trend this year, helping to support corporate earnings.
• The era of hyperglobalization is over. While central banks will temper their plans to raise rates in the near term, increased spending on defense and energy independence will lead to higher interest rates down the road.
Bottom Line: The near-term outlook for risk assets has deteriorated. We are downgrading global equities from overweight to neutral on a tactical 3-month horizon. We continue to expect stocks to outperform bonds on a 12-month horizon as the global economic recovery gains momentum. On an even longer 2-to-5-year horizon, equities are likely to struggle as interest rates rise more than expected.

Meanwhile in Canada: With the UPAC investigation over, it is reported that Jean Charest is seriously considering a bid to lead federal Conservatives (Charest to be in Ottawa to meet with Conservative MPs to discuss party leadership)

In the battle over Dawson College funding, Petition calls for Quebec to reconsider funding Dawson College expansion If you have not done so, please read and sign the petition and join the 9,999 (yes, that is the number shown on Wednesday evening) other concerned citizens.

Catherine Gillbert sends along The Seven Habits That Lead to Happiness in Old Age – from The Atlantic
In 1938, researchers at Harvard Medical School lit upon a visionary idea: They would sign up a bunch of men then studying at Harvard and follow them from youth to adulthood. Every year or two, researchers asked the participants about their lifestyles, habits, relationships, work, and happiness. The study has since expanded to include people beyond men who went to Harvard, and its results have been updated regularly for more than 80 years. Those results are a treasure trove (and I’ve referenced them several times in this column): You look at how people lived, loved, and worked in their 20s and 30s, and then you can see how their life turned out over the following decades. And from this crystal ball of happiness, you can learn how to invest in your own future well-being.

Finally: March 2 is the birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known to the world as Dr. Seuss. Let us celebrate him and his contributions to the education and literacy of children and their parents.

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