Wednesday Night #2128 – Janus edition

Written by  //  December 28, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments


As some slowly wind down celebrations of Rohatsu (Bodhi Day), Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, while others prepare for New Year’s Eve, Gantan-sai, Feast of the Nativity -Christmas for followers of the Eastern Orthodox rite- and Chinese New Year, we take this opportunity to examine a few of the year-end reviews and predictions. Few if any of us will view the end of 2022 (dubbed The Terrible Twos by one wit) with regret. Highlights would include -but not be limited to- Putin’s War; Canada’s Freedom convoy; the growing global food crisis; the ruthless Taliban regime in Afghanistan; North America’s end-of-the-year bomb cyclone (explosive cyclogenesis) storm; crackdown on protests in Iran; and trouble brewing in Kosovo -and so much more.

We remain unsure how to qualify the turmoil at #10 Downing Street – it certainly was entertaining for those of us not directly affected.

There was good news, of course. 2022 was a great year for space exploration starting with the successful final deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope; the new Canadarm3 has earned a place for a Canadian astronaut (to be named in 2023) aboard Artemis 2. (Top Canadian Space Stories of 2022)
While the Climate Change COP27 was somewhat disappointing, at the Biodiversity COP15 held in Montreal negotiators finalized an agreement to halt and reverse the destruction of nature by 2030 AND finished on time. Implementation is, of course, another issue.
The results of the U.S. midterms were unexpectedly positive and fair-minded observers agree (even if grudgingly) that, in fact, President Joe Biden has had a good year.

Final goodbye: Recalling influential people who died in 2022
Queen Elizabeth’s death in September was arguably the most high-profile death this year, prompting a collective outpouring of grief and respect for her steady leadership as well as some criticism of the monarchy’s role in colonialism. She likely met more people than anyone in history, and her image — on stamps, coins and bank notes — was among the most reproduced in the world. Other world leaders who died in 2022 include former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who died in August. The year also saw the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the list goes on – and on- from Madeleine Albright to Sidney Poitier and Mark Shields, along with numerous other notables from the political, arts and entertainment worlds.
Too late to make this published list, Russian multi-millionaire Pavel Antov on 27 December joined the list of suspicious deaths of Putin critics.
Wednesday Night lost three great friends: Brian Morel; David Kilgour; and Donald Johnston. All sorely missed.

2022 a Perilous Year for Journalists
Being a journalist has never been more dangerous, according to the most recent Reporters Without Borders (RSF) annual round-up of violence and abuses against journalists, which says that “a record total of 533 journalists are currently detained worldwide.”
New record number of journalists jailed worldwide
A record total of 533 journalists are currently detained worldwide, according to the annual round-up of violence and abuses against journalists published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The number of those killed has increased again this year – to 57– while 65 journalists are being held hostage and 49 are missing.

Stephen Walt on Ukraine, Russia, China, and U.S. Foreign Policy in 2022
Years from now, how will historians remember 2022? One obvious answer could be that it was dominated by Russia’s war in Ukraine—a battle with immense global ramifications for energy, food, nuclear proliferation, sovereignty, and democracy. FP columnist Stephen Walt, the magazine’s resident realist scholar, has long made the point that while the war itself is incredibly important, the issues of climate change, technology, and China’s strength are more likely to determine the course of geopolitics in the decades to come.

2022 has been rough. Will 2023 be any better?
(GZERO) 2022 has been the year of converging crises: the ongoing pandemic, climate change, economic turmoil, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Lots of gloom and doom, indeed.
But in all these crises, there is an opportunity to bounce back with solutions to make the world a better place. Think of how the war in Ukraine united the West more than ever against a common enemy.
How? Good question. We asked several experts during the Global Stage livestream conversation “The Road to 2030: Getting Global Goals Back on Track,” hosted by GZERO in partnership with Microsoft.
For Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and GZERO, the main reason for hope in 2023 is that this year some people realized that there are big problems worth fixing. Although we definitely live in a G-zero world with a vacuum of global leadership, he adds, we’ve also seen unprecedented Western unity that would not have happened without Russia invading Ukraine. Ian believes that resistance to a negotiated solution to the war will come from the developing world and that Elon Musk is definitely complicating things with how he’s running Twitter.

Year in Review: Top International Peace Institute Reports of 2022
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February came on top of a list of existing strains on the multilateral system, including the inequitable response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the escalating climate crisis.
Multilateral cooperation was the theme found in all of IPI’s most-read reports of 2022, including one of IPI’s most read —and notable—reports of the year, on a “multilateralism index” pilot project examining the state of multilateral cooperation. The index quantifiably assesses the resilience of the multilateral system to these strains.
In the wake of the secretary-general’s 2020 call for an “agenda for protection,” several reports focused on the protection of civilians (POC), including protection from sexual and gender-based violence and the protection of former combatants during reintegration. Two of the most-read reports focused on threats to UN peacekeepers presented by disinformation and sexual abuse. Gender is a cross-cutting theme across IPI’s research and was the focus of several of the most-read reports, including a report on masculinities and violent extremism. Finally, IPI’s paper on carving out space for humanitarian action in the UN counterterrorism regime was not only one of IPI’s most-read reports but also helped pave the way for a landmark UN Security Council resolution establishing a standing humanitarian exemption across all UN sanctions regimes.

Reuters 2022 Year in Review
North Korea’s weapons programme defies COVID outbreak, reaches ‘uncharted territory’
Iran’s clerical leaders to grapple with deepening dissent in 2023
Latin America’s ‘pink tide’ may have hit its high-water mark
Cryptocurrencies at a crossroads after annus horribilis.
Elon Musk, ‘Chief Twit’

Over the past year, The Conversation -a most worthwhile source of information from academic experts-  published 159 stories by 239 authors on environment and energy topics providing a deeper understanding of the little — and not-so-little — things that affect our day-to-day lives. These covered stories on the climate crisis, wildfires, biodiversity loss, renewable energy solutions, water supply challenges, decarbonization, thunderstorms and hurricanes, climate policy, Indigenous-led conservation and much more.

China Sees Dark End to 2022
A major COVID-19 wave has followed Beijing’s abrupt policy change, closing a year of bad news for the Chinese public.
Foreign Policy highlights five stories that take stock of China’s difficult year, from growing censorship as Chinese President Xi Jinping begins his third term to the massive popular protests that pushed for the end of the zero-COVID policy.

Turkey, a year in review: Battling both at home and abroad
Turkey has had a rough year, politically, socially, and financially
As the country exits a grim year, there is little hope for the year ahead. The country’s young people are particularly unhappy with the status quo.
The Kurdish parties, key to Turkey’s 2023 elections
The role of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is expected to gather around 15 per cent of popular support, and will be crucial for Turkey’s opposition to end Erdogan’s nearly two-decade rule

The Economist asks “What if things in Britain go right next year? Political stability, rapprochement with Europe and a looser labour market would all be nice surprises
In Britain, you would not have gone far wrong in recent years by forecasting Tory factionalism and economic disappointment. Even so, 2022 showed that there are always new and exciting ways to screw up. From police investigations into a sitting prime minister to a bond-market crisis and the shortest premiership in history—with the death of a queen and the spectacle of a state funeral in between—some of the events of the past 12 months would have seemed far-fetched even to catastrophists.
After a year like this one, Britain will find it hard to surprise to the downside again. Imagine, though, a different type of turn-up. What if 2023 turns out to be a year in which Britain surprises in a positive way?

Varia
We Haven’t Seen the Worst of Fake News
Deepfakes still might be poised to corrupt the basic ways we process reality—or what’s left of it.
The technology buzzword of 2022 is generative AI: models that seem to display humanlike creativity, turning text prompts into astounding images or commanding English at the level of a mediocre undergraduate. These and other advances have experts concerned that a deepfake apocalypse is still very much on the horizon.
Stray pet businesses will find new owners in 2023
Like dogs seeking forever homes, stray pet businesses will find new owners in 2023. Splurging on furry and feathered friends has proven to be inflation-proof, even as exuberant pandemic-fueled valuations have cooled off. Big companies are the best candidates to snap up stand-alone operators.
Americans keep pampering their pit bulls, Persians and parakeets. They are projected by Morgan Stanley analysts to spend more than $275 billion to feed, harness, groom and play with them by 2030, implying annual growth that will exceed that of expected GDP.

Long reads
Year in Review 2022: Africa
Monetary tightening and global shocks slow post-pandemic growth
Although economies in Africa faced uncertainty in 2022 as economic and global shocks weighed on post-Covid-19 pandemic recovery, intraregional trade and climate finance initiatives are helping to chart a course towards more sustainable development.
Iran’s moment of truth: what will it take for the people to topple the regime?
Three months after the uprising began, demonstrators are still risking their lives. Will this generation succeed where previous attempts to unseat the Islamic hardliners have been crushed?
The Kingdom and the Power
How to Salvage the U.S.-Saudi Relationship

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