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David T. Jones

New START Had It Easy

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.

Victory in November: Opportunities and Perils for Republicans

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.

An unending stream of the best and the brightest

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.

OBAMA’S CRISIS: Aftermath - The "No Fun" Zone

By David T. Jones on November 4, 2010

 

obama-hope-shelter.jpgThis 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.

 

Take back the right to be offensive

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.

Fifty years later: A View from Washington

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.

Israel under siege—again. The dilemma of mutually assured discomfort

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.

Adopt Haiti

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...

Canadians are too hard on themselves

By David T. Jones on January 7, 2010

16537808.jpgThere 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).

Remembrance 2009: Past and Present

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...

Election Day USA: Virginia and New Jersey

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. 

Learning from “Teachable Moments”

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.

The Abousfian Abdelrazik Puzzle

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...

Political Correctness--the Curse of Civilization (DATE DE PARUTION 15 JANVIER 2009)

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?

The New Lilliputians — Prohibit now, discuss never (DATE DE PARUTION 15 JANVIER 2009)

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?

The New Lilliputians - prohibit now, discuss never

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?

Following Mark Twain and the Mississippi River

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...

Separatists have a point

By David T. Jones on March 19, 2009

The contretemps over the now aborted recreation of the battle on the Plains of Abraham demonstrates this reality...

The curious Canadian care for Khadr

By David T. Jones on February 26, 2009

It must be tedious and frustrating to be a "concerned Canadian."  So many errors to be corrected; so many problems to be resolved; so many wrong directions to be set straight...

Lessons for Democrats

By David T. Jones on February 5, 2009

One of life's lessons is that no man stands so tall as when he puts the monkey on some one else's back.  Appreciating that sobriquet, "Bush 43" jets into history (or at least to Crawford Texas), and a chattering troop of simians have seated themselves on President Obama's shoulders. Caging them, throttling them, or just enduring them are now the Democrats problem as for the first time since 1992, the Democrats control both the Congress and the Presidency...

Political Correctness--the Curse of Civilization

By David T. Jones on January 15, 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?..

Problems for a “Team of Rivals”

By David T. Jones on December 18, 2008

Washington DC  - Washington media has much bruited about the concept of a “team of rivals” for the Obama administration.  The label derives from the Doris Kearns Goodwin book of the same name regarding Abraham Lincoln’s assembly of a Civil War cabinet incorporating his political rivals, who individually and corporately believed themselves far better qualified than he to lead the country under any circumstances, let alone during a civil war..

More Lessons for Republicans

By David T. Jones on November 27, 2008

Journalists are inclined to depict every political bend in the road as a major turning point.  Historians know better.  And so it is after the 2008 election in which President-elect Obama is being globally greeted with hosannas and depicted as the bearer of solutions to all ills foreign and domestic. ..

Butt Out

By David T. Jones on October 30, 2008

U.S. observers of the Canadian scene are well aware of the almost obsessive attention Canadians pay to the United States. It is almost as if you don't have a life of your own...

Kirpans and Political Correctness

By David T. Jones on October 16, 2008

A kirpan is a kirpan is … a knife. A kirpan wrapped up and under the clothing of the owner is … a concealed weapon.,,

Sarah Palin and exceeding expectations

By David T. Jones on September 18, 2008

On November 3, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin accepted the Republican nomination for Vice President.  Her selection on August 31 by Senator John McCain had prompted a tsunami of "Sarah Who?" instant analysis...

The running mate is fear

By David T. Jones on September 4, 2008

Earlier in the campaign season, once Democrats and Republicans identified their presidential candidates, respectively Senators Obama and McCain, the next question for the chatterers was "Who will be the Veep (Vice President)."..

Artificial Cities

By David T. Jones on August 21, 2008

When diplomats travel, they observe. Usually those observations are of the "foreign" countries to which they are professionally assigned or are encountering for professional reasons. But it can also be interesting--and even self-instructive--to play diplomatic observer in one's own country. Having recently been a first-time visitor to Las Vegas, Nevada; the national parks of Bryce Canyon and Zion, Utah; and Hoover Dam, Nevada, prompted a series of thoughts that might interest far-away Canadians...

Omar Khadr and the straining of Canadian virtue

By David T. Jones on August 7, 2008

So Omar Khadr cried. And he wanted his mommy according to much publicized, recently released interrogation transcripts...

Why Harper got it right on McCain

By David T. Jones on July 10, 2008

Cynics are inclined to conclude that a government that makes the right decision is akin to the proverbial blind pig finding an acorn. But such pigs do find acorns and, in the instance of the decision by the Harper government to see Senator John McCain during his June 20 visit to Ottawa, the Tories got it right...

Bernier-Couillard: A little southern sympathy

By David T. Jones on June 12, 2008

Sex sells. And a good sex scandal generates 360 degree, "24/7" attention. Thus Canadians (and Canada watchers around the world) have found the Bernier-Couillard saga a perfect foil for all sorts of analysis both light and ostensibly deep—certainly more than that accorded whatever serious issue a serious commentator would select for public attention...


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