Wednesday Night #2091

Written by  //  April 13, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Happy Easter, Passover, Ramadan Mubarak to all who are celebrating!

There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen. – V.I. Lenin

Putin’s War
The decades are happening. So much news, so many stories that we have created a number of pages with specific focus. Please explore Putin’s War
Among Wednesday’s items:
U.S. gives Ukraine $800 million more in military aid, adds heavy weapons
The package, which brings the total military aid since Russian forces invaded in February to more than $2.5 billion, includes artillery systems, artillery rounds, armored personnel carriers and unmanned coastal defense boats…
Russian troops enter strategic Black Sea port city of Kherson, mayor says
Russian troops are in the Ukrainian city of Kherson and forced their way into the council building, the mayor said after a day of conflicting claims over whether Moscow had make the first major gain of a city in its invasion that began eight days ago.
Ukraine’s detention of oligarch close to Putin angers Moscow
Ukraine’s detention of fugitive Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, the former leader of a pro-Russian opposition party and a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been met with enthusiasm in Kyiv and irritation in Moscow. Analysts saying Medvedchuk will become a valuable pawn in the Russia-Ukraine talks to end the devastating war that the Kremlin has unleashed on its ex-Soviet neighbor.
Finland, Sweden move ahead toward possible NATO membership
European Union nations Finland and Sweden reached important stages Wednesday on their way to possible NATO membership as the Finnish government issued a security report to lawmakers and Sweden’s ruling party initiated a review of security policy options.

France
Last week a number of people were surprised to learn that the French presidential election was no longer considered a shoo-in for Macron
Thanks to Peter Frise for the link to Why the French are fed up (and what it means for Macron) from The Economist
Please see France 2020- for extensive commentary.

Sic transit
PM Khan gone: Pakistan’s political crisis explained in 400 words
Khan became the first PM in Pakistan’s history to be sent packing through a vote of no confidence.
Imran Khan’s term as prime minister of Pakistan ended on Sunday following days of constitutional chaos that left him with no choice but to resign or be voted out of office.
Noteworthy: No Pakistani prime minister has completed a full term in office
Pakistan has had 29 prime ministers since 1947 – none completed a full five-year term.

China
From Cleo: To be effective, US policy on PRC must be actioned early and often
‘Great Powers are expected to live up to commitments to international rules and norms even if those rules work against that country’s interests—credibility is more important. Second, to be effective, Policy must be constantly repeated.’
April 8th was the 10th anniversary of the start of the Scarborough Shoal standoff between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea. A decade later, and in spite of an international court ruling against Beijing, the People’s Liberation Army has expanded, deepened and hardened its hold over the area, including turning several islands into full-fledged military bases.
And this from AP: Western pressure mounts on Solomons to quash pact with China
Australia and the United States are stepping up diplomatic outreach to the Solomon Islands after China signed a security deal with the South Pacific island nation that could lead to Beijing establishing a military presence there.
Meanwhile, Ian Bremmer focuses on China’s zero-Covid woes
The Shanghai outbreak is testing the limits of Beijing’s containment strategy, but the government will stick with it despite the rising costs.

The Budget and the Canadian economy
Robyn Urback: Chrystia Freeland’s 2022 federal budget is a political instrument as much as an economic ledger And it’s clear that the message this government wants to convey, at a time when Canadians are expressing divergent concerns amid deep economic and geopolitical uncertainty, is this: We hear you, and we’ll take action – even if that action, in practice, is unlikely to address the matter of concern in the first place (subscribers only)
Politico’s Ottawa Playbook: Budget 2022: Lockup to afterparty is very long with many links to outside commentaries.
5 takeaways from Canada’s 2022 budget
“The word ‘uncertainty’ is a big piece of our thinking,” a senior official acknowledged of the federal government’s planning.

How the Russia-Ukraine conflict has put cryptocurrencies in the spotlight – we may wait for this discussion until Peter Berezin joins us next week (20 April). However, cryptocurrency is just one of many components of the digital war and Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation is getting lots of press for the ingenious way it is supporting the country’s resistance to the Russian invasion. This is being done through a sophisticated use of social media to promote Ukrainian interests around the world at hackathons, where hackers are rewarded with US$100,000 for successfully attacking Russian systems.

Much commentary has been devoted to the discrepancy between the requirement for stable, non-Russian supplies of oil and natural gas and Canada’s climate policies, e.g. Liberal 2022 budget has a before-the-war feel as Ottawa abandons oil-industry lifelines.
Thanks to Ron Meisels for sending a link to An unexpected energy revolution arrives by Ron Wallace in which the author examines the material implications for global energy and western economies of the escalating ‘energy war’ between Russia and the West, and reminding us that In a matter of weeks, events have shaken international energy markets. Ron took a particular delight in the citation of V.I. Lenin whose comment made a century ago haunts the current crisis: “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen.” We may well ask whether -and how- this observation accords with technical analysis…

While on the topic of energy/natural resources, Congratulations to Michael Judson as Silk Road Energy Inc. reports that it has finalized its 2022 exploration program for its 100 percent-owned Amikougami gold property in Kirkland Lake, Ontario. See more about Silk Road projects.

To no-one’s surprise, on Wednesday the Bank of Canada raised the interest rate – what did come as a surprise was the size of the hike

A national treasure: 50 years of Aislin in the Montreal Gazette
Fifty years ago today [8 April], my first cartoon was published in The Montreal Gazette. The newspaper did me proud this morning with features on page 1 and page 2. Thanks to all involved over the years!
Pat Hickey pays tribute to the iconic cartoonist,

Band-Aid on a health crisis: Montreal doctors give their prognosis
Positive reforms to the medical system are undermined by the fact “there are 650,000 citizens in Montreal without a family doctor. That’s outrageous,” says Dr. Mark Roper

Andrew Caddell writes in The Gazette: Why a new Quebec anglo-rights party is being contemplated
In the spring of 2021, a group of concerned anglophones and allophones founded the Task Force on Linguistic Policy. Now, an offshoot, the Exploratory Committee on Political Options, is planning a new political party that will be moderate, federalist and defend the rights of anglophones. It is a substantive project, undertaken by serious citizens from various backgrounds.
In contrast, his column in The Hill Times, The loss of Abbot Pass Hut is heartbreaking, is a charming nostalgic reflection on the demise of “Abbot’s Hut” -more formally, the Abbot Pass Refuge Cabin- on the border of British Columbia and Alberta, high in the Rockies.

Good sources/Long reads/Good listening
How allegations of war crimes in Ukraine put the International Criminal Court on trial
Payam Akhavan, an Iranian-Canadian human rights lawyer and law professor with experience prosecuting war crimes in Rwanda and Bosnia, says what’s happening in Ukraine right now holds eerie similarities to those cases. A special advisor to the International Criminal Court, which is investigating potential war crimes in Ukraine, Akhavan warns that justice in these cases, though critical, takes years and years to come… and even then, can never truly make up for the atrocities committed.

Peter Frise highly recommends Peter Zeihan: How Deglobalization Works, Full Webinar |
“His views on Russia, China and world trade are interesting but his views on BitCoin are interesting in the context of the Conservative Party leadership race because Poilievre has hung his hat on cybercurrencies”.

Thanks to Sandy W for Ira Glass: Do Not Go Gentle
Hungary used to be a functioning democracy, but it’s gotten less and less so. Once again, this time around, Viktor Orban was named prime minister. And to give you a sense of just how stacked the deck was in his favor– like how extreme it was– during the entire election, the amount of time Orban’s opponents got on state television to make their case to voters was exactly five minutes.
Also see Putin’s On Our Side By Robyn Semien
One of the last independent newspapers in Russia finds new ways to cover a war that the government doesn’t want them to cover.
The Bodies from Srebrenica
The Bosnian war began 30 years ago this week. Some of the parallels with Ukraine are striking.
See also more from Julius Strauss, the Telegraph’s former Moscow bureau chief. He has reported on conflicts in Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Colin Robertson A Cold War Turns Hot: What Needs to Happen Now?
Canada and its fellow NATO partners must set aside their misplaced morality about providing offensive or defensive, lethal or non-lethal weapons. When you are defending your home, you need whatever it takes.

We are increasingly turning to The Atlantic Council, not only for the excellent commentary on Ukraine, but also for thoughtful and sometimes provocative coverage of other regions.
Zelenskyy wants Ukraine to be ‘a big Israel.’ Here’s a road map.
Europe needs a new energy option that isn’t Russia. It should turn to North Africa.
How will Russia’s war in Ukraine reshape the European political scene? Look to France.

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