Wednesday Night #2142

Written by  //  April 5, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2142

Happy Easter, Chag Sameach, and Ramadan Mubarak to all who celebrate!

On [1 April] Russia took over the presidency of the UN’s top security body, which rotates every month. …the Security Council is being led by a country whose president is subject to an international arrest warrant for alleged war crimes. The last time Moscow held the post was in February 2022, when its troops launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Jeremy Kinsman comments on Russia as president of the UN Security Council and explains why the situation cannot be reversed for now.

Ukraine’s tech entrepreneurs fight war on a different front
The Defender drone, now ready for testing, is designed to withstand strong winds to enable surveillance in bad weather, can fly vertically and carry big payloads. It’s an example of how some startups in Ukraine’s dynamic tech sector are switching to pursue military projects.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin was ousted by conservatives in a tight election and Finland officially joins NATO, becoming the 31st member of the military alliance. The move adds more than 800 miles to the bloc’s frontier with Russia. It’s a further blow to Russia amid its war in Ukraine. Moscow has warned that further expansion of the bloc will not bring more stability to Europe.

China Belt & Road program (see China geopolitical strategy)
Belt and Road bailout lending reaches record levels, raising questions about the future of China’s flagship global infrastructure program
A new study finds Beijing has dramatically expanded emergency rescue lending to countries in financial distress.
The study, and the new emergency lending dataset upon which it is based, have been made available.
Gloria Calhoun forwards Professor Fei-ling Wang of the School of International Affairs will present his new book at Emory University this Friday [7 April], in person and also online. This is part of Dr. Wang’s trilogy about China and the US-China relations, published by the State University of New York press.
Not sure whether this will be on the agenda: US chip controls threaten China’s technology ambitions – Furious at U.S. efforts that cut off access to technology to make advanced computer chips, China’s leaders appear to be struggling to figure out how to retaliate without hurting their own ambitions in telecoms, artificial intelligence and other industries.

Highlights From NASA’s Reveal of the Artemis II Moon Astronauts
The crew of three Americans and one Canadian will be the first humans to fly toward the moon in more than 50 years.
Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Jeremy Hansen chosen to be member of Artemis II Moon mission.
Jeremy grew up in Ontario, learned to fly fighter jets in Alberta, led astronaut training in Houston, and is now part of the crew of Artemis II. Join him as he shares emotion and appreciation for his unique journey.
Jeremy will make history as the first Canadian astronaut to ever leave low Earth orbit and embark on a lunar mission.
CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen’s journey to the Moon

In the aftermath of the euphoric reaction to President Biden’s visit to Ottawa, Colin Robertson cautions:
“In recent years, successive Canadian governments have skimped and pared on investments in diplomacy; defence, including peace operations; development; and in funding for the resettlement of the displaced. We have work to do if we are to be included at the table updating the world order for a new century.”
One important aspect will be the replacement of the submarine fleet – long a contentious issue: Royal Canadian Navy pitches $60 billion submarine purchase, say defence and industry sourcesBut that price tag could climb to $100 billion as military equipment procurement programs are rarely on budget. Meantime, the PMO has announced that Chantier Davie of Lévis, Quebec, will become the third strategic partner under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) Renewing Canada’s fleets and supporting good middle-class jobs in Quebec

Congratulations to Andrew Caddell for putting together the informative discussion “Whither America?” with Jeff Jackson, up-and-coming US Democratic Congressman from North Carolina. Jeff Jackson was elected Congressman for North Carolina’s 14th district in 2021. Formerly a prosecutor, journalist and army officer, the 40-year-old Jackson’s reputation in his party propelled his appointment to the powerful House Armed Services Committee, while his active social media presence has given him a national profile. Interviewed by former NBC correspondent Kevin Tibbles and author and commentator John Parisella.
The event, sponsored by The Canadian International Council, Montreal Branch, was recorded.

As big fans of Ian Bremmer, we have just signed up for GZERO North (“the newsletter for anyone interested in the world’s most important trade relationship – the insiders’ guide to the political, economic, and cultural implications of the US-Canada relationship.”)

The small Pacific island nation of Vanuatu [has] won a major victory to advance international climate law …after it persuaded the U.N. General Assembly to ask the world’s highest international court to rule on the obligations of countries to address climate change.
Cleo writes that Former Malaita Premier (and Noted China Critic) Gets Bipartisan Support for US Visa
Daniel Suidani became a symbol of resistance to China’s influence in Solomon Islands – until he was ousted from his post.

Why so much attention on a visa case for a former provincial premier from a country of less than a million people? It’s because rarely does a single person come to embody the future of a region, of the battle between systems, as much as Suidani has.

Rogers takeover of Shaw approved, with conditions
Parties are subject to numerous stipulations about network investments, prices, and jobs

The Toronto to Montreal high-speed train just got another step closer – we wish!

We continue to be concerned about the sprawling development of AI, Chatbots, etc. and invite you to check out AI, Chatbots, Society & Technology January 2023- for regular updates to the debate. We would particularly like to call your attention to Mitch Joel’s recent Fear Of An AI Planet
Instant Videos Could Represent the Next Leap in A.I. Technology
A start-up in New York is among a group of companies working on systems that can produce short videos based on a few words typed into a computer.

While the Trump Manhattan indictment is front and center (Donald Trump lashes out, resorting to old tactics after arraignment hearing), keep an eye on the WaPo story Trump’s legal drama could soon continue in Georgia. Gloria Calhoun is recovering from Covid and we hope may have something to add.

Long Read
Catherine Gillbert recently wrote with a query from a friend, and asking who we might know who might comment on this: We would be very interested in reactions and constructive help!
“I seem to have stumbled across something that I find quite disturbing. I saw a full-page ad for a book entitled Superabundance. A summary of it was readily available on the internet and, as I surmised, it advances a right wing, libertarian agenda, such as: the idea that the earth’s resources are infinite, population growth is generally beneficial and climate change is greatly exaggerated. It is sponsored by the Cato Institute, a front for the Koch brothers. None of this surprised me, but when I sought sources to debunk some of the economic evidence used to support their views, I was confronted with entry after entry of texts praising and supporting the book: right wing sites posing as critical sources. I went through several levels of Google and could not find a single critical commentary. The same thing happened a couple of months ago when I was trying to find a critique of another obviously false right wing counterfactual text (can’t remember the topic). There seems to be a systematic and pervasive manipulation of search algorithms tp prevent people from searching for corroborating or contrary information. Have you (or your learned friends) heard anything to do with this?”
Note: See An Image Worth 10,000 Words: A Review of Superabundance

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