Wednesday Night #2174

Written by  //  November 15, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Do you have courtroom sketches of yourself and your children?
If the answer is no, you are doing just fine [as a parent].

U.S. government
Presumably we will all celebrate the fact that the U.S. government will not go unfunded and the politicians will not be unfed on Thanksgiving Day – but how long can the new Speaker last?

Israel, Palestine/Gaza/Hamas
Late breaking news: Hamas agrees to tentative deal to free dozens of hostages, pending Israel’s approval
Hamas wants a multiday pause in fighting, increased humanitarian aid, and freedom for an unknown number of Palestinians in Israeli jails in exchange for the release of at least 50 women and children being held in Gaza
Israel says UN resolution ‘detached from the reality on the ground’ as forces withdraw from al-Shifa hospital

Ian Bremmer’s analysis Israel’s response to Oct. 7 plays straight into Hamas’ hands is not only accurate, but the situation would seem irreversible.
“As Hamas surely knew on the eve of Oct. 7, the real threat to Israel was always that its response would alienate its allies and partners, push the Palestinians (and the Arab world, the Global South, and parts of the left in advanced industrial democracies) further into Hamas’ corner and away from the two-state solution, and ultimately undermine Israel’s long-term security. No doubt, that’s exactly what Israel’s enemies were counting on. And so far, they appear to be getting their way.”
In case you missed it: Netanyahu rebukes Trudeau on social media for criticizing Israel over civilian casualties
‘While Israel is doing everything to keep civilians out of harm’s way, Hamas is doing everything to keep them in harm’s way,’ Netanyahu chided
Trudeau said the world is witnessing the killing of women, children and babies, and that it must stop.
“The human tragedy that is unfolding in Gaza is heart-wrenching, especially the suffering we see in and around the Al Shifa Hospital,” he said.
If you read only one essay addressing the horrendous situation in Gaza, make it Letter to the Children of Gaza, by Pulitzer Prize–winning author and journalist Chris Hedges who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times.
There are many descriptions and comments regarding ‘Bearing Witness to the October 7th Massacre’, the film released by the Israeli authorities. One of the most powerful we have seen is
Sabrina Maddeaux: I watched Hamas hack innocents to death. The worst part was their glee
It’s unimaginable that anyone could watch this and still equate what happened on Oct. 7 to resistance or war. I’ve seen war footage; this was not that. These were terrorist attacks targeted at civilians and mass shootings of innocents. Hamas was indiscriminate in their cruelty, killing not for cause, but for pleasure.

U.S.-China relations
First reports of the Biden-Xi meeting ahead of the APEC summit are promising
China’s Xi tells Biden as talks open: ‘Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed’
The two warmly shook hands as they met and made a red carpet entrance to a bucolic Northern California estate for what was expected to be hours of work on detangling a multitude of tensions.
Biden-Xi meeting offers both leaders opportunities — and risks
Each president has room back home to ease tensions, polling has found.

Despite India-US 2+2, a long and solitary haul
The outcome of the Biden-Xi meeting will have a significant bearing on major power relationships, with varying impact on Russia, the EU, Japan and India.
C Uday Bhaskar, Director, Society for Policy Studies
(Tribune India) The fifth India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue, wherein the defence and foreign ministers of both nations meet annually, concluded on November 10 in New Delhi. The 2,300-word joint statement ticked all the relevant boxes on the bilateral agenda.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met their US counterparts, Secretary of Defence Lloyd J Austin III and Secretary of State Antony J Blinken, against the backdrop of the violence in Gaza. … China remains a shared concern for the US and India and this was reflected in the remarks of Rajnath Singh at the 2+2, where he noted: “The India-US defence relationship has evolved into a strategic partnership characterised by mutual trust, shared values and a growing recognition of common interests in maintaining regional and global security. We increasingly find ourselves in agreement on strategic issues, including countering China’s aggression, promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific and addressing regional security challenges.”

Putin’s War
Russia says ‘hell’ awaits Ukrainians after confirming they’ve crossed the Dnieper River into occupied territory
(CNBC) Russian forces are pummeling Ukrainian units that have crossed over the Dnieper River to the Russian-occupied left (or eastern) bank of the river in Kherson, an official said Wednesday.
A possible compromise on Ukraine
by the winter/spring of 2025, a newly elected American president should ask his or her national security team to conduct a thorough review of Ukraine policy — and if the war still remains largely stalemated at that point, the United States should seriously consider a Plan B while encouraging its allies and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to do the same.

Climate change, uncertainty & security
COP28 (Dubai)
opens on 30 November
China and US push through tensions in reaching climate deal
The two countries agreed to new commitments ahead of upcoming climate talks, but the relationship between the world’s top two emitters remains “challenging.”
The statement announcing the deal issued by Special Climate Envoy John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua comes just before nations meet for United Nations climate talks in Dubai, which begin Nov. 30. It offers momentum for those negotiations, which hope to bring the world close to the Paris climate agreement’s goals to keep temperature increases “well below” 2 degrees Celsius compared with the pre-industrial era.
‘Paying in lives’: health of billions at risk from global heating, warns report
Inaction on the climate crisis is ‘costing lives and livelihoods’ due to extreme heat, food insecurity and infectious diseases, say scientists
The climate crisis will have a catastrophic effect on the health and survival of billions of people unless the world acts to reduce global heating, according to a leading report that warns that heat-related deaths are soaring, dangerous bacteria are spreading along coasts, and economies are being hit as people struggle to work and food production shrinks.
The eighth annual report on health and climate change from the Lancet Countdown team shows that little account has been taken of past warnings. The world, it says, is “moving in the wrong direction”, and strongly criticises continuing investment in fossil fuels.
The report comes as Cop28 prepares to hold its first Health Day, focused on the links between the climate crisis and human health.

Not exactly what we were hoping for.
What the Supreme Court’s New Ethics Code Lacks
The written code of conduct nods at the public pressure the Court is facing, but it can’t do much to change the justices’ behavior.
Don’t worry, the Supreme Court said to America yesterday. Though it may not be enforceable, the Court at least has a formal code of conduct now.

Applause for Andrew Caddell , who devotes this week’s column to “the best prime minister Canada never had” -a description that could apply to Bob Rae, Tom Mulcair, or Marc Garneau. He opts for Marc Garneau.
“I was at a charity dinner in Québec City last week, and Garneau, the former foreign affairs and transport minister, was the guest. In a question-and-answer session with CBC journalist Alison Brunette, he answered eloquently and was even self-deprecating. … His greatest disappointment was being shuffled out in October 2021. He had been minister of foreign affairs for nine months, barely enough to make his mark. Had he stayed, he would have shepherded the department’s Indo-Pacific strategy, which came out after his departure. He is an advocate for a stronger role in the region: “It is time for Canada to look across the Pacific and see where we would fit.”

Lifelong Learning
Chris Neal posts: For seniors who’d like to return to learning & intellectual exchange in a university setting, McGill University’s Community for Lifelong Learning will offer 40 study groups—including in-person, hybrid and via Zoom—January to March 2024, including one moderated by yours truly, “International Organizations in a Changing World.” To learn more about this program, you can register for this Virtual Open House to be held Nov. 29.

No more embarrassing groundings of the PM
Trudeau takes first official flight on new VIP federal government jet
Reporters get their first look at the refurbished Airbus A-330-200
Canada has bought five used A-330s from Kuwait Airways for about $50 million US apiece, a price far lower than the cost of a new aircraft.
Airbus 02 is the first of those to be delivered; a second A-330 is expected to arrive this winter, with three more to follow. The four aircraft not earmarked for VIP transport are to be used for military transport and to refuel RCAF planes and other NATO aircraft in flight.
The government also has hired Airbus’s military arm to build another four new jets to transport Canadian Armed Forces personnel across Canada and around the globe, and for mid-air refueling.

A name from the past
Controversial Montreal arms broker loses battle over Canadian banks refusing his business
For more than 10 years, Ari Ben-Menashe hasn’t been able to open a bank account in Canada because bank after bank refused him as a client
Long, fascinating feature in the National Post
Arms broker. Spy. Warlord lobbyist. The man who twists the world turns on Ottawa
Ari Ben-Menashe has been unbanked. Now he is waging war on the Canadian government
5 scandals of Ari Ben-Menashe (YouTube)

Long reads
This Rare UN Peacekeeping Success Offers Model for Gaza
The Croatia mission was heavily armed, fully in charge and had a clear task.
Mark Champion
…there is one success that offers useful lessons to any transition force, or even a model: the 1996-1998 mission known as UNTAES, to a 2,600-square kilometer (1,000-square mile) area of Eastern Croatia. …the mission was one of few in UN peacekeeping history to be given full authority to administer the territory, rather than having to act at the discretion of a host state. The task was to hand over control to Croatian authorities at the end of the transition period, but how to get there was up to the UN personnel on the ground.

Quebec’s tuition bombshell – Concordia University’s president on a “bean ball” from the premier
For all who are attempting to follow the saga of Quebec university tuition fees, Paul Wells‘ podcast (with transcript) with Graham Carr of Concordia is a good guide. The concluding portion -an exchange with Wells’ producer- is weak except for this:
The other thing is there’s a moment in my interview with Carr where we get at what almost everyone who follows Quebec politics feels about the Legault government, which is that look, it’s sometimes a government that takes cheap shots against Anglophones, but mostly it’s a government that doesn’t get Montreal.
And so it’s significant that the big French language universities in Montreal, first of all, benefit from these out-of-province and international students more than [the Quebec] Hinterland
And the Legault government is …absolutely Quebec’s hinterland government that keeps confusing itself when it tries to deal with Montreal and confuses the hell out of Montrealers.

Meanwhile, this encouraging commentary from Guy Rex Rodgers Real Quebecers may yet have the last word
“The CAQ government has been disdainful of democratic process and dissenting voices, particularly when they belong to Anglos and immigrants. The CAQ has used anti-democratic, bullying politics to create a climate in which narrow-minded xenophobes are having their moment. But when I hear fears about the ‘Francophone majority’ I think of René Lévesque, Françoise Sullivan and Paul Piché. I continue to believe that fair-minded Francophones, Allophones and Anglophones are the real Quebecers and we will have the last word.”

The generation gap in opinions toward Israel
Older Americans have more favorable attitudes towards Israel than younger ones.
Even before the Hamas invasion, there were distinct generational differences in Americans’ attitudes towards Israel, differences mirrored by diverges between older and younger Jewish Americans.
Democratic sympathies in the Middle East now lie more with the Palestinians than the Israelis, 49% versus 38%.
Opinions of the Israeli and Palestinian people scored significantly higher than the opinions of their governments.

The Juvenile Viciousness of Campus Anti-Semitism
Some of America’s students are embracing an ancient evil.
Tom Nichols
(The Atlantic) Many students who think they’re protesting against Israeli policy are actually engaging in anti-Semitism, spewing hatred in a way that will change them as people and alter their lives.

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