David T. JonesDavid T. Joneshttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/author/20engBernard Landry and the country that never washttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1714http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1714Washington, DC - Bernard Landry died on 6 November.  Former Prime Minister of Quebec, a leader of the Parti Quebecois, and life-long devotee of an independent Quebec, Landry was a senior figure in Quebec politics throughout his career.  Now that the official period of mourning has passed with a state funeral, and the tributes and formal recognitions have been written, perhaps there remains a moment for an engaged outside (American) observer of Canada-Quebec to offer further perspectives.David T. JonesSun, 02 Dec 2018 13:33:00 -0500Security clearances have sunset clauseshttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1709http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1709Washington, DC - A U.S. security clearance is a privilege, not a right.But now we have a selection of once-upon-a-time senior officials squealing like stoats caught under a fence because their security clearances have ended.This is viewed by the ever-hostile media as petty vengeance against critics of the Administration.Having held a security clearance since I was a young Army intelligence lieutenant through the present, I have long recognized that clearance is contingent on circumstances.A security clearance is accorded essentially on two criteria:  an investigation of the individual and “need to know.” David T. JonesWed, 05 Sep 2018 21:51:00 -0400NATO: TIME FOR A REBOOT?http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1704http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1704Washington, DC ~ NATO was conceived in 1949 as an international security alliance against the imminent prospect of a Soviet/Warsaw Pact invasion to conquer that part of Europe it did not already dominate.  The situation was, if not desperate, intensely challenging as massive Soviet forces had smashed Nazi armies on the Eastern Front and captured Berlin in 1945—only four years earlier—and consequently held the eastern half of pre-war Germany as well as half of Austria.  And, subsequently, Moscow eradicated any traces of incipient democracy in countries such as Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania, and Romania.  More disconcerting, the Soviets orchestrated a coup in struggling democracy Czechoslovakia, transforming it into a Soviet satrap.  Communist parties were strong in France, Italy, and Greece (where armed insurgency was in progress).David T. JonesMon, 16 Jul 2018 15:37:00 -0400When Two Great Egos Collide: Lessons from the Truman-MacArthur Meetinghttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1701http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1701Washington, DC - The “on again/off again” Summit between President Donald Trump and Pyongyang’s leader Kim Jong-un, has been media played more as farce (and Trump incompetence) than serious examination of the circumstances in play.Clearly irritated by Trump’s “break the box” maneuvers to address the existential threat of North Korean nuclear weapons, the “professionals” (having been cut out of the planning) found ways to denounce it—and predict failure.  Thus, Trump’s decision to cancel the Summit was vindication of the “I told you so” nature by these axiomatic nay-sayers.  And, consequently, they are disconcerted by the intensive efforts to “retrack” the Summit and, if anything, have redoubled their demurs over any Summit prospects.David T. JonesSat, 09 Jun 2018 19:54:00 -0400Paul Ryan – Is There a French Parallel?http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1699http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1699The three traditional lies—so time worn that they have become caricatures—areOf course I’ll respect you in the morning;I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you; andI need to spend more time with my family.The final lie—the one to which Paul Ryan resorted when announcing that he would not run for reelection this November—is always hard to disprove definitively.  The individual may have “jumped” before being defenestrated.  (S)he may be totally burned out from effort (either successful or not) that health may be an imperative for departing.David T. JonesSun, 29 Apr 2018 22:50:00 -0400The Russia Question: Stop the whining. Everybody does ithttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1696http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1696Washington, DC ~ If truth is the first casualty in war, perspective is the first casualty in politics. Indeed, the ongoing frenzy of what Russians did when, where, how, and with whom during the 2016 U.S. presidential election is an illustration of disingenuous naiveté. One would conclude that the U.S. political structure was the equivalent of a convent of innocent religious refugees savaged by a barbarian horde. The longstanding historical reality is that “everybody does it.” And thus the question arises, “Do you remember Philip Agee?David T. JonesFri, 30 Mar 2018 21:40:00 -0400There may not be a solution to gun violence in the United Stateshttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1690http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1690Washington, DC Although not the most costly in terms of lives lost, the killing of 17 students in Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school on February 13 has unleashed an unprecedented “I’m mad as hell and not going to take this any more” reaction.Poignant scenes and finger pointing have dominated the national media, coupled with commitments on various political/social levels to “do something.”  Consequently, the cynical, ritualized reaction of “been there; done that” so far as public manifestations of grief/concern are concerned may not suffice to mitigate the outrage.A fresh examination of realities might be useful.  Will they fit the United States socio-political circumstances?David T. JonesWed, 28 Feb 2018 20:35:00 -0500Jerusalem recognition opens door to out-of-the-box solutionshttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1679http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1679Washington, DC - After more than a generation of excavation in the Middle East, the US government has finally concluded that the hole it has been digging for the “Two State Solution” has no foreseeable “pot of gold” at the bottom.  Nor, to mix metaphors a bit, does the room filled with manure have a pony in it as hypothesized by the little optimist.So we have stopped digging (and closed the door to the manure pile). It was not that that “the two state solution” has not seemed both tantalizing and seductively attainable.  It should have been Political Science 101 simple:  a state for Israel.  A state for Palestine.  Land swaps transferring parts of Israel to Palestine to compensate for the major settlements constructed in the West Bank post-1967.  And Jerusalem as the capital for both Israel and Palestine. David T. JonesSun, 07 Jan 2018 08:27:00 -0500Poor Morale at Department of State—Ho Humhttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1676http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1676Washington, DC - In recent media stories, there has been a flurry of excitement among the fluttering class prompted by a State Department spokesman’s comment that morale is poor at State.The announcement is as dramatic as “The sun rose in the east this morning” or “It was really hot and humid in Washington this summer.”Drawing on 50 years of experience with State, both on active duty and as a retired officer, I can say that there has never/never been a period when one could say that morale at State was good, let alone excellent. David T. JonesMon, 04 Dec 2017 10:07:00 -0500Statuary rapehttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1670http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1670Washington, DC ~ The current  search for “feet of clay” throughout the United States is curious almost beyond puzzlement. We are self axle-wrapping over what statue should be permitted to commemorate whom and what. And not just statues and memorials associated with the Civil War Confederacy “losers” but other historical figures who don’t fit 2017 parameters for veneration.  These range from George Washington (slave holder); Thomas Jefferson (slave holder; alleged sexual relations with a slave); Benjamin Franklin (owned slaves); Teddy Roosevelt (violent expansionist); Woodrow Wilson (ignored racism and promoted segregation—and didn’t “keep us out of war” as he promised).David T. JonesSun, 10 Sep 2017 11:46:00 -0400Puzzling over hackinghttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1667http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1667Washington, DC ~ For an extended period now, Washington and President Trump’s administration have been wrapped around the axle over Russian “hacking” of Democrat-associated e-mails and Moscow’s alleged concurrent effort to assist the Trump campaign win the election.The effort to “get to the bottom of it” does not seem anywhere near to reaching any bottom.  Indeed, it has metastasized into investigations by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller that appear to be casting their investigatory nets in ever-widening directions, ensnaring President Trump’s son and son-in-law as well as assorted odds-and-ends deal-makers/fixers/lawyers of one nationality or another.David T. JonesWed, 02 Aug 2017 16:19:00 -0400THE SIX DAY WAR—ICONIC MILESTONEhttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1661http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1661Washington, DC ~ Four times in the 75 years of my life, Israel has had to fight its Arab neighbors:  1948, for the creation of the country; 1956, to restore freedom of navigation through the Straits of Tiran and the Suez Canal; 1967, in pre-emptive strikes against Arabs on the verge of their own attacks; and 1973, beating back a surprise Egyptian attack across the Suez Canal that was initially successful.Each time there was the basic appreciation that Israel could not afford to lose a single war or “never again” would be implemented to catastrophic effect.It is the 1967 “Six Day War,” now in its 50-year commemoration starting on 5 June, that has proved the most enduring and consequential.David T. JonesWed, 07 Jun 2017 17:47:00 -0400CULTURAL APPROPRIATION IS A CROCKhttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1658http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1658Washington, DC - Sometimes one is impressed over the trivial pursuits of injustice collectors.  (One of) the latest “viewings with alarm” has been the contretemps over “cultural appropriation.”The intimation appears to be that the “culture” of a specific group is itself the equivalent of patent-protected material, and that nobody is permitted to act in a manner that reflects another member/group of society.It is hard to imagine anything more absurd.  History and society advance by the spread of ideas, inventions, and associated technology.  Culture, not just biology, is constantly evolving.  Otherwise, my Chinese mother-in-law would never have been permitted to read Shakespeare as a child.  Or members of First Nations to use rifles while traveling on snow mobiles.  David T. JonesSun, 28 May 2017 23:44:00 -0400RUSSIA: SET/RESET/RESET AGAINhttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1654http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1654Washington, DC - The United States has a “Russia problem.”  (And to be sure, Russia has a “United States problem.”)This is not “Cold War II”—much as media always in search of a conflict to which they can attach a tag line might prefer.  The “Soviet Red Army” of the 1980s that we feared for a generation would crash through the Fulda Gap headed to the Rhine—where we would have to fight outnumbered and win for the West’s survival—hasn’t existed since 1989.To be sure, Russia remains the only country whose nuclear strikes could comprehensively destroy the United States--at the cost of its own annihilation.  But despite this disconcerting reality, we “trust the Russians” to continue to act in sane self-control over their forces.David T. JonesSun, 23 Apr 2017 12:27:00 -0400Secretary Tillerson and he State of Statehttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1649http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1649Washington, DC - In recent media stories, there are floods of tears (some of the crocodile nature) regarding the degree to which the U.S. Department of State and Secretary Tillerson have (not) controlled U.S. foreign policy.To an extent, this observation is accurate.  Secretary Tillerson stands alone atop a bureaucratic pyramid of senior State Department officials of the deputy secretary, under secretary, and assistant secretary ilk that are empty.  Or at least empty of specific designees selected by Tillerson and/or President Trump.  They are filled by “acting” officials, essentially long-term civilian government employees and career Foreign Service Officers.  Their political predecessors were defenestrated or made to feel sufficiently unwelcome that with their backs up against the wall, they read the writing thereon.  David T. JonesSat, 18 Mar 2017 12:37:00 -0400WHAT DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND ABOUT “ILLEGAL”?http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1646http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1646Washington, DC - Language changes over time.  Try reading Shakespearean plays without constant reference to explanatory commentary.  Words take on new meanings.  “Cute” once meant “short and fat.”  Some words are transient—notably “slang” seldom lasts from one generation to the next (or even one year to the next).Thus anyone still extant who would respond to “Twenty-three skidoo” is not of the current generation.  Indeed, even the “It’s cool” of the 1950s-60s is long passé.  When “pimp” arrived on the linguistic scene, it had a positive connotation—not a man running a string of whores.But “illegal” still has a solid basis.  If an action is illegal, it is contrary to the law and subject to official sanction.  Killing is illegal; assault is illegal; theft is illegal.  Trespass is illegal—or is it?David T. JonesMon, 27 Feb 2017 09:05:00 -0500THE DONALD MEETS THE JUSTIN—NO “BROMANCE”http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1644http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1644Washington, DC - On Monday, 13 February, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington.The likelihood of a “bromance” equivalent to that between President Barak Obama and Trudeau is akin to anticipating icebergs in the Potomac.However, the president and the prime minister have some points in common:  remarkable hair and wives more attractive than they.Thus, we should not anticipate President Trump offering an official state visit to Trudeau (President Obama covered that base after denying former PM Harper the honor).  Nor should we anticipate that Trudeau will propose Trump visit Ottawa to give an official address to Parliament. David T. JonesSat, 11 Feb 2017 22:41:00 -0500THE U.N., ISRAEL, OBAMA, AND KERRYhttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1637http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1637Washington, DC -The Thesis: The Second Coming will arrive before peace in the Middle East. The Corollary:  Nobody ever lost money betting against peace.For close to a generation, ever since the historic Begin-Sadat agreements leading to peace with Egypt and the Rabin-Hussein accords and the peace with Jordan, the peace process has been frozen.  It has not been for lack of trying and, indeed, following the 1994 Oslo peace accord, the ‘90s saw enormous efforts by the most skilled diplomatic professionals to bridge differences between Israelis-Palestinians-Syrians and other Middle East actors.  At times President Clinton almost assumed the role of State Department’s Middle East action officer and seemed to meet the principal players more often than any other foreign officials. David T. JonesMon, 02 Jan 2017 19:54:00 -0500The Strangest Electionhttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1632http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1632Washington,DC-It took me considerable time to appreciate just how strange this presidential election has been. Being enough of a historian to recognize that finding something new under the sun is unlikely, I recalled the seriously dirty elections of the past and the ad hominem commentary that characterized them.Thomas Jefferson accused of having sexual intercourse with his slaves.Andrew Jackson characterized as a wild man from out of the West who would militarize the United States.  Jefferson denounced him as “one of the most unfit men I know for such a place.  He has had very little respect for laws or constitutions.  He is a dangerous man. "David T. JonesFri, 04 Nov 2016 22:14:00 -0400Dangers In Demonizationhttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1625http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1625Washington,DC - Donald Trump (Republican candidate for president) will debate Hillary Clinton (Democratic candidate for president) on Monday, 26 October.  It may be the most watched TV show in history (100 million projected viewers) rivaling Super Bowl figures.And most eyes will be on Trump, perhaps the most reviled major U.S. political figure in modern history.And we all know Trump.  Bullying, bombastic, bigoted, racist, male chauvinist.  He sneers at cripples; mocks menstruating females; endorses torture; believes that “blue lives” (police) matter more than black; is hostile to immigrants of all variety, but particularly illegal immigrant Hispanics described as replete with rapists—as well as taking jobs from honest U.S. citizens.David T. JonesMon, 26 Sep 2016 11:04:00 -0400A Republican Secretary of State – Whoever Winshttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1624http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1624Washington,DC ~ The current focus in the United States is on the day-to-day campaign vagaries of the candidates in the presidential election and in particular the upcoming debates (one in late September and three times in October). Foreign policy will feature in the debates and the campaign, although for the moment it seems to have boiled down to loving or hating Putin and hating ISIS (but unsure how to kill it off).  There is much more in play, notably the fate of trade agreements now in effect (NAFTA) or prospective (TPP); the North Korean nuclear threat; containing/relating to China in every particular, notably Beijing’s effort to make the South China Sea a personal lake; our relationship with NATO and other allies; and if/when/where to put “boots on the ground.” Any one of these problems could become incendiary crises before election day.David T. JonesTue, 20 Sep 2016 21:42:00 -0400PEACEKEEPING? MAKE HAITI THE PRIORITY NOT AFRICAhttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1620http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1620Washington, DC - Canada is contemplating a return to “peacekeeping.”  The Liberal government’s concept of peacekeeping falls into the “we’re not Stephen Harper’s Tories” category of avoiding expeditionary military activity such as Afghanistan like the plague.  There is even the thought that Canada-the-Peacekeeper will get more votes when seeking a seat in UN committees. But if there is some vague amorphous concept of once-upon-a-time peacekeeping which featured the equivalent of civilians in military garb, “back to the future” will prove a bitter and perhaps bloody comedownance.David T. JonesSun, 11 Sep 2016 10:25:00 -0400THE TRIUMPH OF THE NOSEY PARKERhttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1618http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1618Washington, DC ~ Politics is now in the phase of “let it all hang out” and, if there is reluctance to such exposure, rip it out of the recalcitrant.Thus the endless clarion calls for politicians to release their federal tax returns.  Ostensibly, these demands are couched in dulcet “good government” terms designed to reveal whether certain financial claims by a candidate are accurate or that income is honestly obtained.  “Transparency” is the new buzz word.In truth these demands are hypocritical and self serving.  They are emphasized by political opponents who suspect that published tax returns will provide further grist for derogatory attacks.David T. JonesFri, 19 Aug 2016 04:24:00 -0400NATO: Myths and realitieshttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1613http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1613Washington, DC ~ Sometimes it is useful to review the realities underlying myths, And this is an opportune time to clarify some of the accepted mythology around NATO. I have spent eight plus years of my diplomatic career either at the US Mission at NATO, on the "NATO Desk" at State, or addressing arms control negotiations with the then Soviets regarding intermediate nuclear force (INF) missiles in Europe.  So I think that I have sufficient background to make these observations. Particularly in light of the current debate in the Presidential campaign on whether NATO allies are shouldering enough of their financial and military responsibilities or depending too much on the United States. And the discussion with regard to Article 5 of the Treaty needs some perspective.David T. JonesSun, 31 Jul 2016 17:48:00 -0400BREXIT MAKES DE GAULLE ULTIMATE WINNERhttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1610http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1610Washington,DC - French leader Charles De Gaulle was one of the protean figures of the 20th century.  His monumental physical stature (6 foot 5 inches) was exceeded only by his monumental ego and arrogant self regard.   Not that he was without accomplishment.  When Europe and France had collapsed under German aggression in 1940, De Gaulle as leader of the “Free French,” surviving in North Africa and England, provided a rallying point for his countrymen.  As such he was a useful tertiary figure for England (Churchill) and the United States (Roosevelt) to prop up as an ally against fascist Germany/Italy.David T. JonesSun, 10 Jul 2016 11:51:00 -0400BREXIT? EVERYBODY TAKE A VALIUMhttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1608http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1608Washington,DC - Following the frenzy over his Parti Quebecois victory in the 1976 Quebec provincial election, Rene Levesque was portrayed in a famous Aislin cartoon as saying, “Okay, everybody. Take a valium.”  In other words, relax.  The PQ victory was not world’s end.Nor is “Brexit’s” victory by those Brits who want to divest themselves of links to the EU.Essentially, the entire issue was a campaign over national philosophy disguised as an economic debate.  The existential question was whether British wanted to remain Great Britain or whether they be content to become “Britain;” a homogenized element of a 27-member European Union taking direction from a non-British majority of states.David T. JonesSun, 26 Jun 2016 17:11:00 -0400Judge may be wrong, but Trump's attack is inadmissablehttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1606http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1606Washington,DC - Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be a single category for controversy into which Donald Trump, putative Republican nominee for president, doesn’t plunge.  Or that he epitomizes the sobriquet that he opens his mouth only to change feet.Although Trump is now engaged with critics/opponents over his comments regarding the mass killing in Orlando, Florida, other slanging matches remain unresolved albeit not (entirely) forgotten.  The penultimate high-profile contretemps was a nasty barrage of vituperation from Trump against Gonzalo P. Curiel, the federal judge trying a class action suit against Trump brought by individuals formerly enrolled in Trump University.David T. JonesSun, 19 Jun 2016 19:46:00 -0400Sorry, no apocalypse today or tomorrowhttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1604http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1604Washington, DC - The lack of perspective among political and/or foreign policy commentators is remarkable.  One would sometimes believe that their sense of history when they awaken in the morning is limited to when they went to sleep.Even when appreciating the imperatives of the 24-hour news cycle and the imperatives that reporters must serve the Twitter/Tweet/Social Media gods while attempting to provide stories, their absence of historical perspective ranges from amusing to pathetic.Thus one would believe that the current U.S. presidential primary competition is somehow uniquely horrid in its political atmospherics and prospective consequences. David T. JonesSun, 29 May 2016 01:30:00 -0400Gender and bathrooms: A tempest in a piss pothttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1602http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1602Washington, DC - For most of human existence and identifiable history, toilet facilities were wherever the urge struck one. The world was one’s toilet for those actions which could neither be delayed nor delegated. One memorable and illustrative little jingle went: “In days of old, when knights were bold, and toilets weren’t invented, they left their loads upon the roads and went away contented.” Chamber pots from standard dwellings were dumped on the streets (often just hurled from upper story windows). Creeks and rivers were open sewers.You were into relatively modern times before society recognized the close connection between sanitation and disease. And while there was an appreciation that clean water was a significant health benefit, it is still recognized primarily in “Western” civilization.David T. JonesMon, 09 May 2016 09:27:00 -0400The United States owes no apology to Japanhttp://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1599http://www.themetropolitain.ca/articles/view/1599Washington, DC - There is no question that Japan continues to seek a U.S. apology for having delivered atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.When Secretary of State John Kerry visited Hiroshima on 11 April 2016, he made no apology nor did he speak. His appearance, however, was a “first” by a sitting U.S. Secretary of State.  Separately, press release/documentation indicated Kerry’s strong desire (reflecting that of President Obama) for a world without war and nuclear weapons.  In 2010, then U.S. Ambassador John Roos was the first U.S. diplomat to partake in memorial ceremonies at Hiroshima.David T. JonesSun, 24 Apr 2016 17:42:00 -0400