Wednesday Night #2090

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Putin’s War
Following revelations of atrocities in Bucha -and the assurance that there would be similar news from across the area recently vacated by Russian troops, President Zelensky gave a passionate speech to the UN Security Council, describing the UN as a powerless and outdated organization that needed to purge Russia of the veto power it wields on the council, and stating that the organization was useless if it could not find a way to hold the perpetrators to account. In his frank interview with Tuesday’s As It Happens, Bob Rae points out that Article 51 of the UN Charter offers a means of reform. [NB see Taking on Russia at the United Nations, Bob Rae enjoys his finest hour]
Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas do not see any way that Russia can be removed from the Security Council, but agree that the UN is in need of extensive reform (Jeremy adds that the whole structure is ‘ossified’).

Three elections over the past weekend, and the one in Hungary dominated the news
Orban scores crushing victory as Ukraine war solidifies support
Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban scored a fourth consecutive landslide win in Sunday’s election, as voters endorsed his ambition of a conservative, “illiberal” state and shrugged off concerns over Budapest’s close ties with Moscow.
Meanwhile, President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia, also Moscow-friendly, and who has governed Serbia since 2012, received nearly 60 percent of votes while his populist party secured 43 percent of ballots after rallying his nationalist and pro-Russian base by refusing to join the European Union in imposing sanctions on Russia. Serbia hopes to become a member of the European bloc, but its application has stalled.
And in Costa Rica, former World Bank economist Rodrigo Chaves has defeated former president Jose Maria Figueres.
Next Sunday (10 April), the first round of the French presidential elections promises some excitement Even Before France Votes, the French Right Is a Big Winner – The dominance of right-wing ideas in France’s presidential election campaign follows years of cultural wars waged successfully by conservatives on television, in social media and in think tanks.

We are so absorbed by Putin’s War, many may be neglecting developments in Ethiopia where Ethnic cleansing documented in western Tigray where war has been raging since November 2020 (see The 207-page report, covering events between November 2020 and December 2021).

While pundits worry about the effect of the Russia-China relationship on Putin’s War, Cleo writes: With the confirmation of a security agreement between China and Solomon Islands—a country approximately 1200 miles northeast of Australia—Beijing is openly showing that, on the political warfare front at the very least (and undoubtedly with more to come), it is moving the frontline from the South China Sea to just offshore of a Quad/AUKUS country. China moves frontline to Solomons, locals fight back

An unusual look at Canadian foreign policy.
Canada: An invader, warrior, peacekeeper and arms supplier in conflicts near and far
In Ethiopia in the 1930s and in Ukraine today, the effects of invasion are devastating. But how has Canada confronted military invasions throughout its history?

Will the Federal Budget to be presented on Thursday present some response to future foreign policy? It  is expected to contain defence spending boost, reflecting concerns about the ramifications of Putin’s War, including measures to protect Arctic sovereignty and security (Canada looking closely at Arctic as part of defence spending increase: Trudeau)

Is there any significance to the fact that The Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, chaired by Senator Peter Boehm, will be spending the next year studying the Foreign Service and elements of the foreign policy machinery within Global Affairs Canada?

Alireza Najafi-Yazdi -more familiarly known to WN as Aliappeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Industry and Technology on 29 March (INDU Meeting No. 14 Start video at 15:48:00)

Varia
Ken Burns, one of Sandy W’s (many) distinguished fellow alumni of Hampshire College, turns his lens on Benjamin Franklin and delivers a lesson for the present day Interview with Piya Chattopadhyay The Sunday Magazine for April 3, 2022
About the film
Ken Burns’s two-part, four-hour documentary, Benjamin Franklin, explores the revolutionary life of one of the 18th century’s most consequential and compelling personalities, whose work and words unlocked the mystery of electricity and helped create the United States. Franklin’s 84 years (1706-1790) spanned an epoch of momentous change in science, technology, literature, politics, and government — fields he himself advanced through a lifelong commitment to societal and self-improvement. More on Behind the Scenes | Exploring Benjamin Franklin
And check out Benjamin Franklin in Montreal

Dana Milbank: I tried Trump’s Truth Social so you don’t have to
A small sampling of the incredible disinformation aka lies/propaganda – how can this be allowed?
Hunter Biden is involved in building and running biolabs in the country.
The CIA and National Institutes of Health are both “deeply involved” in the Ukrainian biolabs.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was set in motion by a CIA false-flag operation that was funded by George Soros
Ukrainian neo-Nazis controlled the Ukrainian city of Mariupol before Russians invaded.
Russia’s alleged war crimes were staged.

Follow-up to last week’s discussion of EVs Canada may have hit its long-awaited electric vehicle turning point
Electric car advocates are waiting to see spending details in this week’s federal budget, but for the first time, pro-EV business leaders and economists are expressing new optimism that Canada’s move away from internal combustion vehicles may have reached a turning point.

UN climate report: It’s ‘now or never’ to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees
A new flagship UN report on climate change, IPCC Sixth Assessment Report published Monday indicates that harmful carbon emissions from 2010-2019 have never been higher in human history, proof that the world is on a “fast track” to disaster, António Guterres has warned.
Not all commentary is so grim. Writing in The Guardian, Simon Lewis argues that Scientists have just told us how to solve the climate crisis – will the world listen? the new IPCC report offers not only hope, but practical solutions.
While absorbing the conflicting views, consider the Arkup ‘liveable yacht’, leaving aside that its owners are currently involved in a nasty tax fight with Miami-Dade county

As Andrew Caddell turns 70 (on 8 April), he reflects in his weekly Hill Times column on the (mostly) positive developments and experiences of his life so far. May this continue to be the case, Happy Birthday, Andrew!

RIP
We have just learned that our good friend, WN fan and occasional guest, David Kilgour, died early on Tuesday morning. His obituary will be published after the weekend. We were not aware that he was in palliative care; he was still posting about Ukraine and Pope Francis’ apology four days ago!
Tragic loss. Renowned conductor Boris Brott dies in hit-and-run in Hamilton
“Boris Brott was the beating heart of the Orchestre classique de Montréal,” the ensemble said of its artistic director.
In the excitement of last week’s lively debate, we failed to acknowledge the death of Senator Joyce Fairbairn, whose distinguished 50-year career in Ottawa culminated in her appointment as the first female Government Leader in the Senate and Minister with special responsibility for Literacy.

Quebec matters
The Liberal débacle, or as one writer said “own goal”, (Liberals offer mea culpa, ask CAQ to take back amendment requiring CEGEP French courses)  is too discouraging to discuss, but we encourage all to participate in the
QCGN Webinar on Zoom:
The Impact of Bill 96 on Student Success
Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 5-6 PM
For more info and to register for the event, please register here

Because we all need a bit of levity:
These Airline Pilots Learn How Not To Talk To Engineers, The Hard Way
some exchanges between FedEx pilots and the engineers that keep their planes running smoothly. The engineers nail it every single time. We don’t know if these scenarios actually happened, but they’re hilarious regardless. Enjoy!
After every flight, FEDEX pilots fill out a form, known as a ‘gripe sheet’ to tell mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics fix the problem and then document their repairs on the form.

Long reads
The Authoritarian Personality
Who’s drawn to fascism? Postwar study of authoritarianism makes a comeback
(CBC Radio Ideas) After the Second World War, Theodor Adorno and a group of scholars wanted to understand why so many people were drawn to dictatorships. Their study, The Authoritarian Personality published in 1950, is widely referenced today to understand the shifting politics of our own time.
By most accounts, 2021 was a terrible year for democracy, from the attack on the U.S. Capitol to the rolling back of civil liberties in India. Liberal democracies are being challenged — from within and without — and many expect authoritarian rule to continue to metastasize in 2022.
Some scholars believe that a book published over 70 years ago — The Authoritarian Personality — could help researchers, and many of us today, grapple with troubling political trends in our own era.
and a companion piece: Pulitzer Prize-winning historian (Anne Applebaum) explains the lure of authoritarianism

The West must choose: Either arm Ukraine or enable Putin’s genocide
Details of Russia’s recent war crimes in the Kyiv region have provoked widespread international outrage. … While talk of holding Russia legally accountable is welcome, the current priority must be to protect the Ukrainian population from further crimes against humanity. This can only be achieved by urgently and dramatically expanding arms shipments to Ukraine.

The Enemies of Liberalism Are Showing Us What It Really Means
“After three decades of dominance, liberalism is losing its hold on Western minds,” Matthew Rose writes in his powerful new book, “A World After Liberalism.
Rose does not mean liberalism in the way we typically use the word. … Rose means liberalism as in the shared assumptions of the West: a belief in human dignity, universal rights, individual flourishing and the consent of the governed.

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