The Global Village

 

Paul Ryan – Is There a French Parallel?

By David T. Jones on April 29, 2018

jones_david.jpgThe three traditional lies—so time worn that they have become caricatures—are
Of course I’ll respect you in the morning;
I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you; and
I 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.

50 years ago today we lost a King....

By Beryl Wajsman on April 4, 2018

MLK_01.jpgFifty years ago today, The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis. He had gone there to champion the rights of African-American sanitation workers  surviving on subsistence wages and striking for fair treatment. They marched carrying signs that declared, "I Am A Man!"
King was slain by a rifle blast from James Earl Ray in the fading light of late afternoon surrounded by his closest brothers in arms including Andrew Young and Jesse Jackson with whom he had been  sharing laughter inside their rooms just moments before. 

The Russia Question: Stop the whining. Everybody does it

By David T. Jones on March 30, 2018

jones_david.jpgWashington, 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?

The Parkland Massacre: The NRA’s Waterloo?

By Beryl Wajsman on February 28, 2018

wajsman_beryl_02.jpg"...the wolf will lay down with the lamb and a little child shall lead them..." ~ Isaiah 11:6
The wolves haven't laid down with the lambs, but the children have picked up the standard of their fallen friends. As one American writer put it, "The kids of Douglas High in Parkland may be the NRA's worst nightmare." Unlike the other school shootings, the young survivors are speaking  truth to power. And the world is listening.
Unlike other school shootings, the kids of Parkland are older and bolder. They have used social media virally to call out the cowardice of politicians who are too afraid to act and even challenged their parents who may not know how to act. 

There may not be a solution to gun violence in the United States

By David T. Jones on February 28, 2018

jones_david.jpgWashington, 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?

Canada must show resolve against Iran or children will continue to be slaughtered

By Dr. Sima Goel on February 20, 2018

Goel_Sima.jpgIn Shiraz of 1978 when I was 13 and used to slip out of my house to protest the Shah’s corrupt government, I was never arrested nor hurt. Flash forward to January 2, 2018, an 11 –year- old boy participates in government protests in the small town of Khomeinishahr: he dies as a result. Nearly half a century later, and Iranian children still feel they have to march to get their leaders to listen to the people.
Iranians hoped that when President Obama lifted economic sanctions against Iran, inflation rates would drop, employment would rise and foreign investment and tourists would return to this country so wealthy in natural resources and potential; but under Rouhani’s government, the expected gains have not materialized.

Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's indictments are legally questionable

By Beryl Wajsman on February 17, 2018

wajsman_beryl_02.jpgSpecial Prosecutor Robert Mueller's indictments are legally questionable, intellectually dishonest and threaten an open internet and free expression...
Let the piling on begin but read my comments past the headline please. I am anything but a Trump fan. I find him offensive on so many levels not the least of which are his affronts to aesthetic sensibilities, intellectual rigour and the civil discourse demanded of all public officials but particularly of a President. But I am equally offended by the hypocrisy of these indictments which would threaten the very standards and liberties we all feel are jeopardized in the conduct of this administration. 

Running for the hills in the GOP? Not quite

By Robert Presser on January 29, 2018

Presser_Robert_new.jpgAll the US administration’s 2018 optimism seems to have vanished in the face of Wolff’s inside look at the Trump White House, Fire and Fury, coupled with the threat of a new round of indictments from the Mueller enquiry that target more insiders.  No worry, Trump is telling us that he can take the heat, and that he is prepared to take the heat for everyone involved.  Fear not, skittish Republicans, Trump has your back!
With the mid-term House and Senate elections coming up in November 2018, incumbent Republicans must make two major related decisions. 

NORTH AMERICA, JAPAN, INDIA AND THE TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP

By The Hon. David Kilgour on January 7, 2018

Kilgour_David_bw.jpgNegotiating a free trade agreement with an increasingly totalitarian and plutocratic party-state in China, which treats its Tibetan, Falun Gong, Uyghur, Christian, farm, urban worker and other communities appallingly,should be unthinkable for any democratic country.
Canadian Clive Ansley, who practised law in Shanghai for 14 years until 2003, notes that its Communist party has long operated outside and above the law: 
China is a brutal police state…There is a current saying amongst Chinese lawyers and judges who truly believe in the Rule of Law…: ‘Those who hear the case do not make the judgment; those who make the judgment have not heard the case’…. Nothing which has transpired in the ‘courtroom’ has any impact on the ‘judgment’. 

Jerusalem recognition opens door to out-of-the-box solutions

By David T. Jones on January 7, 2018

jones_david.jpgWashington, 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. 

Poor Morale at Department of State—Ho Hum

By David T. Jones on December 4, 2017

poor_moral.jpgWashington, 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. 

Angela Merkel and the German election

By The Hon. David Kilgour on September 18, 2017

Kilgour_David_bw.jpgAngela Merkel’s re-election as Germany’s chancellor for the fourth time on September 24 is important for Germans, Europeans and many democratic nations around the world, partly because of regional and other international misfeasance by Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Strobe Talbott, President Bill Clinton’s leading adviser on Russia, observes, “Chancellor Merkel is the most steadfast custodian of the concept of the liberal West going back 70 years ... that makes her Putin’s No. 1 target.”
Merkel is the widely-recognized leader of Europe and defender of besieged universal values and democracy internationally. Putin is a contemporary would-be Russian czar, who wants to fracture Europe and democratic governance wherever possible. 

À la recherche de la Ménora du Temple de Jérusalem

By David Bensoussan on September 10, 2017

menora.jpgL’un des monuments les plus visités au forum à Rome est l’arc de triomphe de l’empereur Titus consacré par son frère Domitien pour marquer la prise de Jérusalem en l’an 70. On y trouve l’inscription : « Dédié par le Sénat et le peuple de Rome à Titus Vespasien Auguste, fils de Vespasien. » 

Le butin pris au Temple de Jérusalem dont la Menora ou candélabre à sept branches y figure sur un bas-relief. Tout comme l’Arche de la loi contenant les tablettes des Dix commandements, la Ménora était conservée dans le Saint des Saints dans le Temple de Salomon.

Statuary rape

By David T. Jones on September 10, 2017

jones_david.jpgWashington, 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).

Puzzling over hacking

By David T. Jones on August 2, 2017

jones_david.jpgWashington, 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.

"BREXIT" after the British election

By The Hon. David Kilgour on June 26, 2017

Kilgour_David_bw.jpgEmmanuel Macron, president of France, is correct about Britain’s post-election Brexit realities. At a joint news conference with Prime MinisterTheresa May in Paris last week, he said the UK decision to leave the EU could be reversed: “As the negotiations go on, it will be more and more difficult to go backwards...”
May knows she must respect the positions on Brexit of other parties, given her failure to secure a majority and the loss of 13 MPs. She is also under pressure from Brexiters on her own backbenches who could topple her as prime minister if she fails to deliver on their expectations.  The world, however, knows that she and David Cameron - with good reasons -supported "Remain" in last year’s national referendum.

NATO and the Transatlantic Relationship

By The Hon. David Kilgour on June 11, 2017

Kilgour_David_bw.jpgWhen 12 democratic governments seeking to check Soviet expansion formed NATO by treaty in 1949, it seems unlikely that any of their political leaders thought they would today number 28 and become the most successful defensive military alliance in history.
Post-1952 American President Dwight D. Eisenhower noted at the time, “We are engaged in a war of great ideologies. This is not just a casual argument between slightly different philosophies. This is light against dark, freedom against slavery…”.
The initiative represented a major turning point for the United States. Unprecedented in peacetime, Washington was entering a permanent alliance linking it to Western Europe in both a military and political sense.

THE SIX DAY WAR—ICONIC MILESTONE

By David T. Jones on June 7, 2017

jones_david.jpgWashington, 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.

"Masada shall not fall again! Metzadah shuv lo tipol!" The legacy of the bold and the brave

By Beryl Wajsman on June 4, 2017

nation_in_making.jpgThis week we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Israel's victory in 1967's Six Day War. A war pre-meditatively planned and instigated by frontline Arab states whose leaders promised to "drive the Jews into the sea!" It was a victory for the frontline nation in the family of the free, a precursor of the time of terror we live in today, but more than all that, it affirmed President John F. Kennedy's creed that with, "Resolve and courage, the bold and the brave can assure the survival and success of liberty."
In the weeks leading up to the War - a war that took place just 22 years after the liberation of the death camps of the Holocaust that killed 6 million Jews - Arab states flaunted international law and the international community responded with submission and impotent silence.

Le négationnisme de Marine le Pen et la responsabilité de la France

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on April 28, 2017

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJerusalem - Le président Rivlin a eu raison de condamner le négationnisme de Marine le Pen au moment même où les Français s’apprêtent à voter au deuxième tour de la présidentielle. C’était son devoir d’alerter et de remettre les pendules de l’Histoire à l’heure de la vérité.
Certes, rares sont les déclarations prononcées par un dirigeant officiel israélien contre un candidat à une élection dans un pays étranger, mais comment ne pas sursauter et se révolter contre les tentations de blanchir le gouvernement de Vichy dirigé par Pétain.
Ce maréchal, vainqueur de Verdun, l’homme providentiel de l’époque, et ses collaborateurs,ont agi volontairement et ont offert aux Allemands une aide importante, la plus considérable et la plus précieuse de tous les pays de l’Europe occupée.

Two Minutes to Midnight

By Robert Presser on April 23, 2017

Presser_Robert_new.jpgSince 1947, The Chicago-based Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has maintained a Doomsday Clock indicating how close they feel the world is to a global nuclear war.  Now the clock is set to two and a half minutes to midnight, to which it has been creeping closer over the past 26 years since a recent low of 17 minutes, recorded following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.  I think that the clock does not reflect the current danger represented by the twin threats of the Syrian civil war and persistent belligerence from North Korea.  There are more dangerous factors involved than at any other time since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, the atomic scientists need to get together and tick the clock 30 seconds closer than their most recent setting of January 26th, 2017.

RUSSIA: SET/RESET/RESET AGAIN

By David T. Jones on April 23, 2017

jones_david.jpgWashington, 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.

From Russia with Love

By Robert Presser on March 22, 2017

Presser_Robert_new.jpgDid Russian President Vladimir Putin seek to influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election?  More seriously, was there collusion between elements of the Trump organization and Russian insiders to shape the campaign, and did those interventions lead to the disclosure of damaging information on Hillary Clinton at critical moments in the closing months?  FBI Director James Comey was summoned before Congress to testify and present evidence, or confirm the lack thereof so that these questions can be settled, at least on an official level.
The only bombshell of information he has provided so far was that the FBI has been investigating since July 2016 into contacts between the Russians and certain Trump campaign officials –clearly this cloud over the Trump presidency will endure for some time.

Secretary Tillerson and he State of State

By David T. Jones on March 18, 2017

jones_david.jpgWashington, 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.  

HUMAN DIGNITY, PUTIN AND THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

By The Hon. David Kilgour on March 3, 2017

Kilgour.jpgOttawa - Across the world, in many nations with differing models of governance, it appears that human dignity is under siege.
In Asia, for example, medical agents of the party-state in China are beyond any reasonable doubt removing for commercial purposes an average of 250 organs daily, mostly from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the Falun Gong, Uyghur Muslim, Tibetan Buddhist and house Christian communities.
Among the 54 nations of Africa, we find some of the world’s best-governed states, such as Botswana and Ghana, but also some, such as Zimbabwe and Angola, which are both mismanaged and corrupt and treat their citizens with thinly-veiled contempt.

Le nouveau tandem Trump-Netanyahou

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on February 23, 2017

Freddy_Eytan.JPGJerusalem- La rencontre chaleureuse de Netanyahou avec le président Trump à Washington est à la fois symbolique et significative après huit années de tensions et de relations tumultueuses inutiles avec la précédente administration américaine.

C’est ainsi que le président des Etats-Unis devrait toujours accueillir un chef d’Etat ami et un allié fidèle.  Sur ce point, Netanyahou peut en effet se réjouir et être soulagé. Enfin, il est entré à la Maison Blanche décontracté, la tête haute, et avec le sourire. Il est reçu sans contrainte, sans animosité, et obtient naturellement tous les égards.

Trump to America: "Did you love my huge, huge, first week?"

By Robert Presser on February 5, 2017

Presser_Robert_new.jpgDear Americans,

I am doing Fantastic, I know you think so.  I feel it, feel it clearly, no matter what the dishonest media is reporting. Spicer did an amazing job, totally amazing, Spicer was, standing up to the White House reporters, telling them that I had the biggest inauguration crowd ever, ever!  Period!  Way to tell’em!  Spicer and I are going to get along great, great guy, Spicer is.
Obamacare is history, I made it so on day one, everyone saw me do it.  I love executive orders, it’s just like running a business, sign the papers and make it so, but Reince tells me it is more complicated than that.  

The Holocaust: On memory and witness

By Beryl Wajsman on January 27, 2017

holocost.jpgToday, January 27th, is the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops. Perhaps for this reason, this date was chosen as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Curiously, and sadly, it took the UN sixty years to give recognition to this most seminal and apocalyptic event in human history. The organization at whose entrance are carved the words of the prophet Isaiah that, “Swords shall be beaten into plowshares and nation shall not make war against nation anymore,” got around to commemorating Holocaust remembrance only in 2005. We are not only still waiting for Isaiah’s prophecy to be realized but also for that day when those other prophetic words “Justice shall roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream…” have life breathed into them.

THE U.N., ISRAEL, OBAMA, AND KERRY

By David T. Jones on January 2, 2017

palestine.jpgWashington, 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. 

Lessons from the American election

By Robert Presser on November 12, 2016

Presser_Robert_new.jpgI write this barely 17 hours after Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the New York Hilton, so emotions are still raw all around.  Protesters are in the streets in seven American cities, urban voters expressing their frustration at his unexpected victory.  America’s progressives should not be so surprised – the African American and Latino vote participated less than in 2008 and 2012, and working-class white men and women voted more for Trump than they did in those previous elections.  Trump won the White House with fewer votes than John McCain and Mitt Romney received, but the overall participation rate was down, which favours Republicans.  Therein lies the first lesson of national campaigns – energize your base and make sure they turn out.  

The Strangest Election

By David T. Jones on November 4, 2016

jones_david.jpgWashington,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. "

Mosul will fall. Who’s in charge then?

By Robert Presser on October 24, 2016

Presser_Robert_new.jpgAfter months of threatening to move against ISIL in Mosul, 25,000 Iraqi army and Kurd militia fighters are slowly closing in, supported by US and coalition airpower and advisors.  Two years ago, Mosul collapsed as Iraqi forces fled the city when faced with a confident and insurgent ISIL force that had seized vast territories in Iraq and Syria and established Raqqa and the capital of the “Greater Syria” originally promised to the Arab armies by Lawrence of Arabia.  Two years later, Mosul is the last major Iraqi city in ISIL control and their expulsion will leave only Raqqa as their urban stronghold.  It will be a long, tough battle, brutal for the remaining 1 million civilians in the city, half of its pre-conflict population.  It may take longer and produce more casualties than expected for the Iraqis and Kurds, but after the victory who’s going to get the spoils? 

Shimon Pérès- Combattant pour la paix et éternel optimiste

By Amb. Freddy Eytan on October 2, 2016

peres.JPGL’ancien Premier ministre et Prix Nobel de la Paix est incontestablement l’homme politique qui a marqué de son empreinte l’Histoire de l’Etat Juif depuis sa proclamation par David Ben Gourion jusqu’à nos jours.
Toujours dans le peloton de tête et au carrefour du destin de son peuple, il est le dernier leader israélien né avant la Shoah.
J’ai suivi durant cinq décennies la carrière de Shimon Pérès. J’ai eu le privilège de l’accompagner dans ses voyages et de pénétrer avec lui dans les arcanes du pouvoir et des chancelleries. Personne n’en doute, Shimon Pérès est un animal politique.

Dangers In Demonization

By David T. Jones on September 26, 2016

jones_david.jpgWashington,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.

A Republican Secretary of State – Whoever Wins

By David T. Jones on September 20, 2016

jones_david.jpgWashington,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.


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