Wednesday Night #2111

Written by  //  August 31, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Reformist Soviet Leader, Is Dead at 91
Adopting principles of glasnost and perestroika, he weighed the legacy of seven decades of Communist rule and set a new course, presiding over the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the U.S.S.R.
Mikhail S. Gorbachev, whose rise to power in the Soviet Union set in motion a series of revolutionary changes that transformed the map of Europe and ended the Cold War that had threatened the world with nuclear annihilation, has died in Moscow. He was 91.
Few leaders in the 20th century, indeed in any century, have had such a profound effect on their time. In little more than six tumultuous years, Mr. Gorbachev lifted the Iron Curtain, decisively altering the political climate of the world.
Putin, world react to death of Gorbachev, who helped end the Cold War
He’s seen by Western nations as the man who restored democracy to then-communist-ruled European countries, and brought an end to the Cold War, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990. But
What Gorbachev Did, for All of Us: Jeremy Kinsman‘s personal recollections and assessment of the motives, morality and achievements for which Mr. Gorbachev will be remembered (Policy Magazine) and A Great Man Goes Down: Mikhail Gorbachev RIP (CBC)

2022 Quebec electionsPromises, promises
Off and running! Quebec heads for the polls on October 3rd and it will be a campaign like none other we have experienced. The Liberals and the Parti Québécois may have outlived their relevance; the five parties vying to form the next government include the non-traditional incumbent CAQ, Québec solidaire and Conservative Party of Quebec. Two new Anglo-rights parties have joined the ranks of the 26 authorized parties: Bloc Montréal – Équipe Balarama Holness and Parti canadien du Québec/Canadian Party of Québec (Colin Standish), but seem most interested in wounding the Liberals.
So far it seems the CAQ is determined to buy votes with promises of the “biggest tax reduction in the history of Quebec (Legault dangles prospect of another cheque of up to $600), while Anglade pledges to put an extra $5,000 a year into families’ wallets
The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) offers a wealth of information for English-speaking voters about issues and platforms, plus a weekly on-line town hall at which one leader is the speaker (these are saved online).
Suggested reading: Family physician Michael Kalin’s opinion piece: Let’s stop accepting a broken health-care system
Beryl Wajsman‘s interview of NDG Quebec Liberal candidate Désirée McGraw unites two Wednesday Nighters. Beryl’s thoughtful questioning gives Désirée ample opportunity to talk about her background, passions, and discuss her reasons for running for the QLP.
Suggested listening: What are the key election issues in Quebec’s provincial election? (video)
(Power & politics) Pollster Christian Bourque and journalists Jonathan Montpetit and Emilie Nicolas break down the Quebec election campaign.

Putin’s War
Kemal Derviş: What are the West’s strategic goals in the Ukraine war?
Nick Cohen: Would Russia change if Putin died tomorrow?
According to Orlando Figes’ The Story of Russia (out this week from Bloomsbury) the chances of the Ukraine disaster pushing Russia towards liberalism when Putin belatedly takes his leave of us vary from the faint to the non-existent.
IAEA seeks ‘permanent presence’ at plant. The UN’s nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi says he wants the mission to establish a ‘permanent presence’ at the site. But that was an optimistic note before
UN nuclear team in Zaporizhzhia limbo as Russia narrows access to plant
IAEA experts wait to inspect frontline facility while Russia says they must join a queue.

Peter Frise stirs the pot, forwarding this from the Globe & Mail Germany’s decision to close its nuclear plants as energy prices climb tenfold is not just stupid – it’s insane and commenting further “[this is] what happens when technically illiterate people make technical decisions”.

As many nations are rushing aid to the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Pakistan where more than 1,100 people killed and 33 million others are affected by flooding that has destroyed homes, businesses and infrastructure, the UN is seeking $160m to help Pakistan amid ‘epochal’ monsoon floods
Meanwhile, there is little coverage of the deadly floods caused by heavy rains since the start of the year that have affected some half a million Nigerians. Twenty-three of Africa’s most populous country’s 36 states are affected by seasonal flooding that has destroyed houses and farmland in northeastern Nigeria.

C Uday Bhaskar takes his readers on a comprehensive tour of India’s evolving relationship with the U.S. from 1991, and in particular the delicate maneuvering over the nuclear non-proliferation treaty: [email protected] 75 – Post Cold War consolidation
With the fall of the Soviet Union, the global strategic framework shifted from the familiar US-USSR bipolarity to a US-led international system. India was left to manage this tectonic shift at a time of increased global turbulence and manage new twists in its relationship with Washington DC. – A long read and great addition to the library.

The Arctic
The recent visit of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg who warned of ‘significant Russian military buildup’ in the High North, and the news that the US to appoint 1st Arctic ambassador as NATO warns about Russia, China prompts us to focus on the mostly neglected geopolitics of The Arctic, the rapprochement between Russia and China on Arctic-related matters, and the potential of the “polar silk road“.

Varia
Drought forces earliest harvest ever in French wine country
Paradoxically, the season of heat waves and wildfires produced excellent grapes, despite lower yields. But achieving such a harvest required creative changes in growing techniques, including pruning vines in a different way and sometimes watering them in places where irrigation is usually banned. And producers across Europe who have seen first-hand the effects of global warming are worried about what more is to come.
More than 6 drinks a week leads to major health risks, new report suggests — especially for women
A national advisory group has published new guidelines around the number of drinks consumed each week and the risk of health issues.
Have you been following the saga of Romana Didulo, the Canadian conspiracy theorist and self-styled ‘Queen of Canada’? We had not until this story from The Conversation caught our attention.  How the ‘Queen of Canada’ is making inroads into the U.S., Australia and beyond. As the author says “She may be laughable but she is most certainly not harmless, and her movement’s global expansion needs to be taken seriously by authorities.

Mark your calendar
China sets date for party congress at which Xi will get rare third term
On October 16, China’s ruling Communist Party will hold a high-level meeting at which President Xi Jinping is all but certain to be given an exceedingly rare third term at the helm of the world’s second-biggest economy.

Long reads
How the Baltic Sea Countries Can Shield Europe from Russia’s Energy Weapon
eight of the region’s countries are members of the European Union and are determined to increase their energy cooperation in order to neutralize the Kremlin’s main source of geopolitical leverage over Europe.
I’m a Ukrainian Soldier, and I’ve Accepted My Death
Spirals of Delusion – How AI Distorts Decision-Making and Makes Dictators More Dangerous
…thinking about AI in terms of a race for dominance misses the more fundamental ways in which AI is transforming global politics. AI will not transform the rivalry between powers so much as it will transform the rivals themselves.
Sanjay Patnaik and James Kunhardt urge President Biden to build on the Obama administration’s efforts to establish the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Biden could reduce inflation, mitigate a recession, and strengthen democracy with a new EU-US trade agreement
C Uday Bhaskar: [email protected] 75 – Post Cold War consolidation (see above)

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