Authors > David T. Jones
David T. Jones
By David T. Jones on March 29, 2013
Washington, DC - Analysts are clever in finding (and repeating) aphorisms. One is the definition of insanity as “repeating the same negative action believing that this time it will have a positive result.”
And thus the Syria syndrome.
We have watched the Arab Spring degenerate into a noxious weed patch when we believed flowers had been planted. We have watched the consequence of removing the Libyan tyrant Qhadafi (vicious but not directly invidious to USG interests) and reaped the results in Benghazi and Mali.
By David T. Jones on March 16, 2013
Thus Tom Flanagan’s musing, off topic response to a Q&A, regarding whether viewing (not creating, circulating, let alone participating/implementing) child pornography/pedophilia justified a prison sentence has destroyed his career. Virtually instantly CBC dropped him as a commentator and the University of Alberta announced his retirement. So toxic is his name that reportedly an article he coauthored on a totally different political topic was withdrawn from publication--even when Flanagan offered to remove his name from the article.
By David T. Jones on February 12, 2013
Far be it for non-Catholics to pontificate (so to speak) on Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to retire from the papacy on February 28th. There are those who might consider any comment at best gratuitous; at worst, intrusive.
But the Pope is a global change-maker and political figure at least as much as a religious leader. Certainly, that was true for John Paul II whose long tenure defined the strengths and challenges facing 21st century Catholicism.
Consequently, we see Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to retire as wise. His tenure as Pope is already being called a transitional period, but history is yet to speak.
By David T. Jones on February 1, 2013
Washington,DC~ It is time for a minority as U.S. Secretary of State.A white male.
For some while now, males have been a demographic minority in the U.S. population. And white males are an even smaller minority of the overall population. Consequently, it is appropriate for a white male to lead the Department of State for President Obama’s second term. And the president nominated and the Senate confirmed Senator John Forbes Kerry (D-Mass) for the position.
By David T. Jones on January 19, 2013
Foreign observers tut-tut the United States for failing to bring coherence to its fiscal circumstances. These observers either fail to realize or deliberately ignore that we are engaged in an existential political/economic struggle over what kind of society we will endorse. It is the most defining such struggle since the Great Depression of the 1930s, which gave rise to compromise instituting some elements of a welfare state (social security, farm supports, food stamps, bank deposit insurance, etc.) while leaving other elements of free market capitalism unaffected. But if our backs are not yet up against the wall, we are on the “warning track.” Even with full, booming economic recovery, it appears impossible to sustain the current levels of social security, Medicare/Medicaid, and unemployment welfare with current tax revenues.
By David T. Jones on November 15, 2012
Washington, DC - Republicans are poised between relishing recrimination and reviewing revenge scenarios.
Heading into the election, they had a wide variety of positive indicators on their side:
By David T. Jones on October 19, 2012
Americans are now reaping the results of the “Arab spring.” The out-with-the-old; in-with-the new upheavals in 2011 were supposed to demonstrate a surge of democracy, human rights, personal freedoms, and liberties akin to those in Eastern Europe, following the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the end of Soviet tyranny in 1991. Commensurate, albeit ancillary, was the expectation that the United States, the “shining city on a hill,” as the exemplar of democracy and human rights, would be appropriately appreciated by these flower children of spring. It would be the culmination of the Middle East “reset” epitomized by President Obama’s Cairo doctrine speech in June 2009, emphasizing U.S. respect and appreciation for Islam.
By David T. Jones on September 30, 2012
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or “Bibi” as he is widely known is not President Obama’s favorite person. Indeed, he is so controversial, personally and politically, that the president apparently decided that it was better to meet with no foreign leaders while at the UN General Assembly speechathon than to be forced, de facto, to meet with Netanyahu. (That Obama had time to meet with View is another story). Essentially, if he met with any leader, he would be compelled also to have a session with Netanyahu.
By David T. Jones on August 5, 2012
Washington, DC - Far be it for an American to offer a defense for a disgraced Canadian, but there is a touch of “kicking someone who is down” with the piling on commentary following Oda’s “retirement” on 3 July. Essentially, she jumped before being defenestrated, but the absence of any context to her departure deprives Canadians of invaluable perspective.
By David T. Jones on July 18, 2012
Washington, DC - Whenever one reads a title including “Who Lost…” you know that ax grinding is about to start with the whetstone spinning. There is a blame game to be played and guilt to be apportioned. Thus, variously, over the decades, the outraged have exclaimed “Who Lost China?” “Who Lost Vietnam?” “Who Lost Iran?” and currently, preemptively lamenting over who lost Afghanistan and/or Iraq. The author(s) always know that others are at fault and they knew better.
By David T. Jones on May 18, 2012
Washington,DC - Following the elements of Quebec’s student “strike” during the past 11 weeks has been somewhat equivalent to a TV mini-series, but while sputtering along, it leaves a Washington commentator with a number of observations.
First, it is really not over money. The amount of tuition increase over five (or seven) years is trivial in real terms. Variously, it was been characterized as a latte a day (or a bottle of designer water) in total price. Rather it appears symbolic, even akin to the precursor-stimulus for theAmerican Revolutionary War of a tax on tea.
By David T. Jones on May 18, 2012
There is one sure way to avoid controversy over cost overruns, misestimates, delivery failures and the like for major military equipment—or any significant item of goods or service.
Don’t buy them.
Otherwise, the exercise is problematic. Attempting to get the best item at the best price with assured delivery schedules and guaranteed performance is fraught with difficulty and usually falls short in one or another particular.
By David T. Jones on March 12, 2012
Now Justin Trudeau seems to be taking a related approach to Canada, Trudeau’s comments, regardless of the context he tried to put them in, are indicative of the existential problem of Canada. While the United State solved its national unity problem with a bloody and long-remembered civil war, Canada’s national unity issue remains extant. Not that anyone would recommend the U.S. solution, but Canada - and some of it's most important sons - are still in search of a solution.
By David T. Jones on December 16, 2011
The U.S. decision to defer decision on the Keystone XL pipeline has tossed an eagle into the dovecot. A “no brainer” decision regarding the merits of providing secure energy (as well as j-o-b-s) has apparently been adroitly manipulated by the brainless.
Consequently, the State Department disclaimer that the delay decision was not “political” is disingenuous at best; it passes neither the sniff nor the giggle test. After years of review, acres of trees slaughtered in written testimony, and scads of let-it-all-hang-out public hearings, the State Department announced that there were no environmental objections to the pipeline. Subsequently, President Obama said that he would make the decision—retrospectively a fatal blow to any near term decision.
By David T. Jones on December 16, 2011
One of the enduring elements of Canadian psychic angst is the status of its First Nations.
Over the years, indeed over the decades, an observer can recall the viewing-with-alarm and/or dismay that affect Canadians when one or another instance of ghetto in the woods associated with a First Nation reserve comes to light.
By David T. Jones on October 26, 2011
"Who You Are Is Where You Were When"
~ Morris Massey
The quotation refers to the events that define you and your generation—life and history altering episodes that are the benchmarks for memory and the iron pole around which your future swingsand conditions your thinking. For my parents, it was Pearl Harbor. For me, it was the JFK assassination. For my children (and for me again), it has been 9/11.
By David T. Jones on August 26, 2011
Washington, DC - All human rights organizations are imperious; didactic; and self-righteous. They perceive their role as afflicting the comfortable and belaboring malefactors whose sins of omission as well as commission demand vitriolic criticism. Amnesty International (AI) is a human rights organization and by definition seeks to criticize: the mote in your eye gets the same intense condemnation as the beam in the eye of another offender.
By David T. Jones on April 21, 2011
Washington, DC - So Florida-based pastor Terry Jones is back for another bite at the 15-minutes-of-fame apple.
This time, however, the consequences of his campaign against the Qur'an has had fatal effects. His largely unremarked "trial" and "execution" by burning of a Qur'an occurred almost completely without notice in North America. One assumes that this lack of media attention in the United States/Canada was deliberate (one 15 minutes of fame per eccentric claimant) with the appreciation that publicity could have invidious effect.
By David T. Jones on February 16, 2011
On December 22, 2010, the Senate having spent much time wailing and gnashing teeth approved the New START Treaty with Russia. From the language, one could have thought its advocates believed it to be the arms control's Second Coming (or at least a much accelerated new millennium) while its opponents characterized it as a cup of hemlock for the Republic.
By David T. Jones on December 27, 2010
Washington, DC - The Republican Party, having won a substantial victory in the November 2 election, is about to encounter that existential challenge. Be careful of what you ask for; you may get it.
By David T. Jones on December 27, 2010
It seems like forever; it seems like only yesterday that I first encountered David and Diana Nicholson and enjoyed a "Wednesday Night." In the winter of 1993, I was political minister counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, and I attended this first Night as "spouse of" my wife Teresa who was the economic/commercial officer at the U.S. consulate in Montreal.
By David T. Jones on November 4, 2010
This is the time of "spin." The Democrats sound as if they were victims of an IED blast, delighted to have only lost an arm and a leg instead of two of each. The Republicans sound like roosters believing that the sun rose because they crowed.
The reality check is more complex. The Democrats were sharply defeated, losing the House of Representatives, but not as catastrophically as was predicted earlier in the summer. And, they retained control of the Senate, saving their vulnerable majority leader Harry Reid. Moreover, Democrats gained a great, oft unmentioned prize: the governorship of California, which will assist them substantially in the 2012 presidential election.
By David T. Jones on November 4, 2010
After nine years of carefully navigating between the Scylla of global revenge against the Muslim world for 9/11 and the Charybdis of insisting Islam is inherently peaceful with the 9/11 terrorists depicted as nonreligious miscreants, we have gone aground.
Americans are now impaled on the Constitutional imperative of First Amendment "free speech"-- which we have made even more a national shibboleth than the right to bear arms. Over the years, it has mattered not that many other countries have scuttled free speech and/or neutered it in practice (if it might be interpreted as "hate speech," it must be foregone or punished). We have exulted in discord.
By David T. Jones on June 10, 2010
As a truth in writing caveat, one must admit up front that Washington is paying no attention to Quebec. It barely pays attention to Canada (except during this time of year as a possible destination for a vacation/fishing trip); it notices Quebec only when the province is in extremis: in the throes of a "tear the country apart" referendum or, perhaps, with a dramatic winter storm with great media visuals of marching files of ice-toppled hydroelectric towers.
By David T. Jones on April 23, 2010
Washington, DC - Having just returned from a Middle East trip that included travel in Israel, I am prompted to muse over the current imbroglio roiling U.S.-Israeli relations. Over the past several weeks, there has been renewed incentive to fault find Israel for offenses that sometimes more in the mind of the beholder than in reality. Indeed, it is far easier to find unloving critics than uncritical lovers in the current environment. For example, the tour group with which I traveled had two briefers: An articulate representative of the Palestinian Authority who (predictably) found fault with all elements of Israeli policy and an Israeli from a local NGO who was also critical of the GOI. But the absence of "balance" went unremarked.
By David T. Jones on February 11, 2010
Washington, DC…Even before the seminal January 12 earthquake, Haiti was in trouble. It was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with per capita income of less than $2 per day ($660/year) where 1 percent of the citizens held half of Haiti's wealth. Even before the earthquake, statistics indicated that only a third of the population could access electricity and only 11 percent had piped water. No city had a sanitation system; life expectancy at 61 years was the hemisphere's lowest, and the UN Human Development Index placed it 149 of 182 countries with all below it being African states. The best and brightest of its citizens long ago escaped...
By David T. Jones on January 7, 2010
There is an aphorism to the effect that you can always make a sensitive person feel guilty. Extrapolate that judgment to a national level and one can conclude that Canada is so afflicted.
There is much wrong, indeed evil, that is done in the world that we can do nothing to mitigate, let alone eliminate. To paraphrase scripture, too often “we do those things that we ought not to have done and leave undone those things that we ought to have done.” We cudgel ourselves with “what ifs.” If we had only paid more attention; worked harder; spoken out; saved more/spent less, the wrong would be righted (or would never have happened at all).
By David T. Jones on December 3, 2009
It was a cold, wet, and grim Remembrance/Veterans Day in Washington this year. Perhaps more than even in the most recent past, moods were irritated, marked by a puzzled frustration over the future of the United States and the most effective manner of management for a multiracial/multicultural/multi-multi society...
By David T. Jones on November 4, 2009
On Tuesday, November 3, as a resident of Arlington Virginia, I voted. As I did so, I recalled that Canadian friends had voted earlier in the week in Montreal for mayor and council members. On my ballot were candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and a variety of state and county officials, e.g., school board. For a variety of personal and institutional reasons, this was the first time I’d ever voted in Arlington, having participated by absentee ballot for 45 years in my home town, Scranton, Pennsylvania. But now I was exercising my franchise where I live; it was a privilege to do so freely and one about which I am not blasé.
By David T. Jones on September 2, 2009
This summer for Americans has seen the return of the “teachable moment.” That is, in my rough definition of such, a circumstance or development from which a lesson about life, society, politics, etc can be drawn.
Our interlock in this instance, has been the interaction between Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates (an African American), Cambridge police sergeant James Crowley (a Caucasian), and U.S. President Barack Obama. Although the outlines of this event are relatively well known, they deserve recounting.
By David T. Jones on July 2, 2009
What was I missing? What was it that I didn‘t understand?
The continuing saga of Abousfian Abdelrazik, marooned in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum for over a year, had a “Kafkaesque Catch 22” quality to it that sounds more like the opening scene of some comedy/suspense thriller than a “we’re telling you this with a straight face” diplomatic explanation. Even with his return it leaves an outside observer head shaking...
By David T. Jones on June 18, 2009
We can be confident that, as soon as our long ago ancestors started living in caves, there was "correctness"--social, political, tribal, etc. Just where do you throw your bones after cracking them open and sucking out the marrow? Just where do you perform your bodily functions? Or who speaks (grunts?) in what order in the group meeting?
By David T. Jones on June 18, 2009
There are basic needs for human beings: the obvious are food; shelter; sex. And then it becomes complicated for societies where the basics are “givens,” and needs become more abstract. Are the freedoms enumerated in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (and the U.S. Constitution) “freedoms”—or limitations on the actions that a citizen might take otherwise?
By David T. Jones on May 28, 2009
Washington, DC - There are basic needs for human beings: the obvious are food; shelter; sex. And then it becomes complicated for societies where the basics are “givens,” and needs become more abstract. Are the freedoms enumerated in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (and the U.S. Constitution) “freedoms”—or limitations on the actions that a citizen might take otherwise?
Freedom of speech—but at what point does it become slander?
Freedom of the press—but what are the parameters of libel, let alone “hate” when making such speech?
Freedom of religion—but to practice polygamy, let alone human sacrifice?
By David T. Jones on April 9, 2009
It is a pity that political correctness has driven Mark Twain out of style. A generation ago, Samuel Clemens (whose nom de plume was “Mark Twain”) was both an iconic author of children’s stories (Tom Sawyer, Prince and the Pauper) and regarded as one of the “greats” in American literature for the classic Huckleberry Finn. Although “Tom” and “Huck” were often presented as a duality of “boys’ stories,” Huck was anything but a child’s tale with its sophisticated story of adult duplicity and mendacity along with Huck’s efforts to get a slave friend, “Jim” to safety...