The Global Village
By Robert Presser on February 5, 2017
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.
By Beryl Wajsman on January 27, 2017
Today, 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.
By David T. Jones on January 2, 2017
Washington, 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.
By Robert Presser on November 12, 2016
I 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.
By David T. Jones on November 4, 2016
Washington,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. "
By Robert Presser on October 24, 2016
After 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?
By Amb. Freddy Eytan on October 2, 2016
L’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.
By David T. Jones on September 26, 2016
Washington,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.
By David T. Jones on September 20, 2016
Washington,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.
By Beryl Wajsman on August 15, 2016
Forty-four years after the Munich massacre, the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics were finally commemorated in an official International Olympic Committee ceremony last Thursday at the Rio Games. The ceremony was held at a memorial site in the Olympic Village. Called the Place of Mourning, the site honors the memory of the Israelis as well as four other people who were killed at Olympic Games. The others are the German policeman who was killed in a failed rescue attempt in Munich; two victims of a bombing at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and a Georgian athlete who died in an accident at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
By David T. Jones on July 31, 2016
Washington, 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.
By Beryl Wajsman on July 15, 2016
It has always been a matter of some frustration that after every Jihadist slaughter too many western leaders and opinion makers bent over backwards to avoid calling the enemy by its name, drawing comparisons with other brutal dogmas and stating - with open candour - that we are in a war. A new type of war certainly. But a war nonetheless.
In the aftermath of the horror in Nice, something new is becoming evident. The "none dare call it.." mentality is being replaced by a "now they dare..." resolve.
By David T. Jones on June 26, 2016
Washington,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.
By David T. Jones on June 19, 2016
Washington,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.
By Amb. Freddy Eytan on June 19, 2016
Le massacre perpétré dans un restaurant de Tel-Aviv par deux terroristes de la région d'Hébron aura des conséquences graves sur l’avenir des relations avec les Palestiniens. Ces terroristes vêtus de costumes cravates ont lâchement assassiné et blessé des innocents venus tranquillement diner avec des copains et des membres de leurs familles. La fusillade a été commise par deux cousins, juste après qu’ils avaient savouré le repas de la fin du jeune du Ramadan. Au moment où à Tel-Aviv on apportait des soins aux victimes dans la douleur et l’angoisse, et les sirènes des ambulances hurlaient vers les hôpitaux, à Gaza et à Hébron,ce sont des cris de joie et d’allégresse qui scandaient dans les rues, tandis que les dirigeants du Hamas criaient victoire et menaçaient, durant ce mois du Ramadan, de perpétrer des nouveaux attentats plus spectaculaires.
By David T. Jones on May 29, 2016
Washington, 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.
By David T. Jones on April 24, 2016
Washington, 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.
By The Hon. David Kilgour on April 4, 2016
Since the suicide bomb tragedies in Brussels, the appeal of Senator Bernie Sanders as the next president of the United States to many across America and the world concerned about global security could diminish in favor of Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Helping Clinton’s candidacy is her “smart power” approach to world issues. Where Sanders is more focused on domestic issues, she provided a detailed policy to win“more partners and fewer adversaries” in her 2014 book, Hard Choices. She believes probably more than Sanders that determined resolve now among the 60+ member nations of the International Coalition against ISIS must prevail over fear if ISIS and global terrorism are to be defeated to a point where they no longer offer false hope to disaffected people.
By Amb. Freddy Eytan on March 27, 2016
Après Madrid, Londres et Paris voilà que Bruxelles est frappée au cœur par le terrorisme islamiste. Nos premières pensées vont bien entendu aux victimes et nous sommes toujours solidaires avec les Européens dans leur combat contre le terrorisme, ce qui n’est pas toujours le cas de leur part. Il est difficile de retenir ses larmes en observant les images effroyables, le carnage, les blessés en détresse et la panique. La réaction,à chaud, de Frederica Mogherini était certes naturelle, mais son comportement est interprété par les djihadistes comme un signe de faiblesse. Le fait que la représentante de l’Union européenne laisse couler ses larmes prouve que l’Occident perd sa bataille et demeure impuissante face aux attentats terroristes. Soulignons que l’indignation, la sensibilité et les bons sentiments n’existent pas chez les islamistessauvages.
By David T. Jones on March 6, 2016
Washington, DC - There is an ancient aphorism, both sexist and archaic (and now as unacceptable as the “n” word) that proclaims, “When rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”
But faced with the prospect of political rape by the Donald Trump presidential candidacy, Republicans are far from willing to accept an “inevitable” and certainly not prepared to find any enjoyable element in the circumstance.
Although Trump as the destined Republican nominee for presidency is not definitive, its likelihood appears far stronger, following his victories on 1 March’s “Super Tuesday” when he seized a substantial lead in the delegate count. It is not that Trump cannot lose the nomination, at this point, however, it is profoundly unlikely.
By David T. Jones on February 27, 2016
Washington, DC - The politico-legal battle to replace just-deceased U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonia Scalia is generating more heat than light.
Canadians, for whom their Supreme Court is a minor actor in domestic politics, are always puzzled over the intensity of the arguments over every aspect of the U.S. “Supremes.” Indeed, in some respects, Canadian have “to die for” procedures for filling their Supreme Court. Were they to apply to a U.S. president, the U.S. politico-legal scene would be infinitely different. Essentially, the prime minister proposes—and the prime minister disposes so far as naming justices to the Canadian Supreme Court. The most recent innovations of some gentle questioning by a parliamentary committee are optional rather than obligatory.
By Robert Presser on February 21, 2016
I write this as I am watching Bernie Sanders’ acceptance speech after winning the New Hampshire Democratic primary. All his typical themes are there; universal health care, pay equity and a living wage for all, rebuilding America’s infrastructure, the rich and the large corporations paying their fair share – the list goes on and on. The common thread through all of his initiatives is money – more of it, either going out as spending or coming in as revenues. Spending is not really the problem, governments are good at that. But collecting money and raising taxes? Avoidance and tax planning can deflate revenues from any new tax measure, just ask the Trudeau Liberals who discovered that their new upper income tax bracket’s revenue projections are a few billion dollars short of plan. If Bernie wins, he has a problem.
By David T. Jones on January 24, 2016
Washington, DC - Sometimes the best time to remember is after the official commemorations. The oft-inflated hoopla has ended. The parades are over. The rhetorical speechifying is now deleted from media coverage. In our 24-hour news cycle, if an event receives a day of coverage, that is all that is deemed necessary or deserving.
Thus it was for Remembrance Day 11 November 2015 (and less than a month later the 74th anniversary of the 7 December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor received similar minimalistic attention). Traditionally, on Remembrance Day, wearing a red poppy of the nature no longer available in normal U.S. outlets, I attended morning ceremonies at the Canadian Embassy in Washington and/or afternoon ceremonies at the Canada-United States memorial in Arlington National Cemetery.
By Robert Presser on January 17, 2016
As we were celebrating the new year, the United Nations adopted a resolution proposing a roadmap and negotiations to end the Syrian civil war and create a climate of stability that would end the refugee crisis that uncomfortably invades our TV viewing every night. All the major players involved in the conflict were on board; the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, even relatively uninvolved China expressed support. No one asked ISIL what they thought about losing their caliphate, but no matter, the others plan to degrade and destroy them in any case. This was a major step forward in engagement, but there are serious barriers to this initiative ever producing even a shaky peace. It is, however, a feel-good start to what will probably be another disappointing year for the region.
By David T. Jones on December 6, 2015
Washington, DC - There is a classic, albeit cynical, observation recounting an exchange between officials.
Official One: We have all of the facilities guarded.
Official Two: But who will guard the guards?
In short, the historical illustrations of dishonesty and corruption are manifest. The creation and installation of inspectors, auditors, overseers, etc may well reduce blatant corruption. But who will be watching these “watchers”?
And, from this reality to the exercise of “vetting” Syrian and other refugees seeking admission to our countries.
By Dr. Sima Goel on November 25, 2015
In light of Prime Minister Trudeau’s recent announcement that Canada will integrate over 25,000 Syrian refugees into our democratic and free country, I, a former political refugee have a message that I would wish to share.
In 1983 as an 18 year old I found asylum in Canada. I endured a harrowing escape from Iran and many months of life as a refugee in Pakistan. I was scarred by a lifetime of racism and political instability. I was obliged to go into hiding when I was sixteen, after a series of seemingly unrelated events brought me to the attention of the Islamic Revolutionary government, with the result that my name was put on a blacklist. My crime?
By David T. Jones on November 25, 2015
Washington, D. - Once again terrorists have struck. And around the world, starting with France, citizens are defiantly cringing. They wait for the next shoe to drop and fear that the Islamic State (ISIS) is a centipede. They stampede in panic when hearing firecrackers at a memorial rally. Colored lights proclaim “Vive la France” (just as “We are all Charlie” in January).
French President Francois Hollande declares the terrorism in Paris was an “act of war,” and France will strike back. Then French aircraft hit a couple of targets in Raqqa, an ISIS-controlled city in Syria. Pinpricks anyone?
By Robert Presser on November 16, 2015
As I write this, the investigation into the attacks is ongoing in Paris and Brussels, links are being identified to a broader ISIS conspiracy for a wider range of attacks coordinated with the leadership of the caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Another attack was likely averted when a traveler bound for Paris was apprehended with a cache of TNT by French authorities. What distinguishes this series of attacks from Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket was that they were directed at soft public targets that were not part of the media establishment, nor Jewish. These were acts of terror most pure, directed at the general public to create a sustained fear of congregating in public spaces.
By Beryl Wajsman on November 15, 2015
Les lombrics se sont glissés hors de leurs repaires une fois de plus dans les attaques brutales et barbares envers la liberté. Maintenant, il est une fois de plus le devoir de tous les peuples libres de se rassembler avec audace et détermination en exposant, en dénonçant et en détruisant la vermine qui commet une telle horreur afin que nous puissions débarrasser notre société de cette peste.
Nous pouvons vaincre le terrorisme et nous pouvons vaincre malgré la terreur. Nous pouvons bâtir des communautés de conscience qui — ensemble — permettront de venir à bout des puissantes sources haine et d'oppression. Parce qu'ensemble les gens trouvent le courage.
By Amb. Freddy Eytan on November 15, 2015
La série d’attaques terroristes qui vient de frapper la Ville Lumière nous plonge dans l’obscurantisme de la terreur djihadiste et nous rappelle l’horreur et l’effroi du 11 septembre américain.
Cette nouvelle vague était prévue car depuis le 7 janvier dernier, depuis les attaques contre Charlie Hebdo et le super-casher, les autorités françaises n’ont pas réussi à adopter des lois draconiennes contre le terrorisme. Certes des mesures ont été prises mais les effectifs et les budgets des forces de l’ordre n’ont pas été augmenté suffisamment et en priorité tous les services du Renseignement.
By Beryl Wajsman on November 15, 2015
These words were spoken by French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy during the ISIS attacks on Paris. "Charlie était un symbole. Là, c'est une guerre," he said. Several hours later, French President François Hollande finally repeated what few world leaders have stated. "This is war," he declared. France's response would be "ruthless" he promised. There are lessons for every free nation in this.
ISIS has, over the past few weeks, demonstrated the capacity for military operations on multiple fronts in multiple operations against multiple nationalities.
By Amb. Freddy Eytan on November 1, 2015
Jérusalem ~ Depuis plus d’un siècle nous affrontons dans notre pays des vagues de terreur. Ces vagues ont frappé sauvagement des Juifs et ont saccagé leurs bienspartout dans le monde avant même la création officielle de l’Etat d’Israël.
La « révolte arabe » a été toujours caractérisée par des émeutes à l’arme blanche contre des civils innocents résidents à Jérusalem, à Hébron ou à Safed. Ces « Intifada » sont déclenchées toujours par une incitation à la haine des leaders politiques et religieux. Ils propagent à chaque fois des mensonges grossiers et manipulent les foules en désinformant la réalité sur le terrain et les intentions réelles des gouvernements israéliens.
By David T. Jones on October 11, 2015
Washington,Dc - What the world is seeing in Syria is a painful illustration of politicomilitary reality.
Nature deplores a vacuum.
Politics is even less forgiving of vacuums.
And the West now has the opportunity to watch Russia, accompanied by Hezbollah and Iran, fill that vacuum.
It is difficult to characterize the reactions of observers—something akin to a betrayed spouse or a naïf who believed that Nigerian prince on the internet wanted you to assist him with his million dollar bank transfers
By David T. Jones on September 21, 2015
Wasington, DC - Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore made a name for himself (and snarfed up a Nobel Prize) with his “Inconvenient Truths” film. The film, although in retrospect fundamentally and irredeemably flawed, professed to convince viewers that “global warming” (or “climate change”) was a near term peril that would inalterably damage the earth and its inhabitants (flora and fauna both) unless dramatic, near term action was taken.
Essentially, viewers rejected the Apocalypse Today (or at latest tomorrow). They decided (correctly or not) that Gore was wrong, the data was skewered, the time lines were too long to worry about in a foreseeable lifetime, and/or there was nothing normal citizens or societies could do other than wreck their economies if they embraced the solutions.
By Fraser Martin on August 23, 2015
Around 1960 the Kingston Trio recorded Sheldon Harnick's satirical ditty "The Merry Minuet" which, while underlining the climate of discord and hate prevailing in the world recalls that mankind had been endowed with "the mushroom shaped cloud"and that someday inevitably someone will "set the spark off…..and we will all be blown away". We have just recently been given a stark reminder of the consequences of such action through images of the destruction, devastation and death wreaked upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.