Published 3 October 2014
America , Canada , Politics & Policy
Tags: air war, America, Canada, Canadian Forces, Colin Powell, ebola, epidemic, foreign policy, humanitarian, Iraq, ISIL, ISIS, Middle East, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn rule, Stephen Harper, Syria, US
The Prime Minister and Conservative Party are beating the war drums in Ottawa today, offering a motion on the floor of Parliament to have Canada supply warplanes in support of the US mission against ISIS. A vote on the resolution will pass sometime next week, enjoying the support of a broad majority of Canadians. It will commit more than 600 Canadian Forces, six CF-18 fighter-bombers, two CP-140 surveillance planes, one aerial tanker aircraft to a six-month “limited mission” of air combat. The cost of this war has not been estimated; but Canada’s seven-month air war in Libya, which involved similar force and equipment commitments (650 personnel and 7 fighter jets at the mission’s peak) cost Canada $347 million.
ISIS is hardly the only source of bad, scary news these days. The ebola epidemic is on-pace to kill more people than ISIS ever could and has the likelihood of a much broader global calamity. By all accounts, the international response has been way too small and way to slow. Canada’s contribution to “humanitarian and security interventions” addressing the ebola outbreak total a mere $5 million, although Canada pledged last week to spend up to an additional $30 million. The United Nations and World Health Organization have estimated that it will cost nearly $1 billion over the next six months to fight the spread of the epidemic.
Here’s an idea for Canada: take all the economic and military resources we are so ready to spend in Iraq and Syria and deploy them against the ebola catastrophe. Canada could exercise real leadership in this fight, thereby re-establishing its moral credibility on the global stage and demonstrating that it chooses its international engagements thoughtfully. Continue reading ‘Picking the Right Fight’
Published 27 October 2010
Art & Culture , Canada , Media , Politics & Policy
Tags: America, Angela Merkel, Bob Mackowycz, CBC, CBC Radio 2, Germany, Great Canadian Song Quest, Hawksley Workman, immigrant, immigration, Jully Black, multicultural, multiculturalism, Ontario, Polish, Radio 2, Roncesvalles, Roncesvalles Avenue, Roncies, Song Quest, Song Quest 2010, Toronto, US, USA
Among Canada’s most famous treasures is its endless array of ever-astonishing natural landscapes. So, when CBC Radio 2 launched its second annual Great Canadian Song Quest – in which popular musicians from the 13 provinces and territories were commissioned to compose songs commemorating listener-selected roadways in those places – it was a fair bet that the subjects would largely favor broad vistas and open highways. But in Ontario, where the first Song Quest yielded a brilliant homage to Algonquin National Park by Hawksley Workman (“They Left It Wild”), CBC listeners went in another direction. The stretch of road they chose to celebrate was a street in Toronto called Roncesvalles Avenue.
Roncesvalles Avenue is a “Main Street” slice of urban landscape from a time gone by, characterized by small business and handsome single-family dwellings. The neighborhood became home to the wave of Polish immigrants who settled in Toronto after World War II and, though it shows signs of insurgent trendiness, retains its Polish immigrant character. This Song Quest selection eschews the natural beauty of the province in favor of one of Canada’s other great themes: its ongoing experiment in multiculturalism.
Continue reading ‘The Road to Multiculturalism’
Published 10 September 2007
India , Politics & Policy
Tags: America, and William Jefferson, Bob Ney, bribery, bribes, Central Bureau of Investigation, Central Vigilance Committee, CIB, corporate interests, corruption, CVC, Desicritics, dishonesty, India, populism, public interest, Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Ted Stevens, Vigilance Week
Corruption in India, like many places in the world, has risen to an art-form. A student of comparative politics might be interested to look at the way corruption is done in America and India, the worlds two greatest dysfunctional democracies.
Continue reading ‘Corruption, Indian Style’
Published 13 August 2007
Politics & Policy
Tags: Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, America, Bush, George W. Bush, illegal war, Iraq, Kabul, Kharzai, military, military finding, military strategy, Muhammed Kharzai, opium, religious fundamentalism, Taliban, United States, war
In May of 2006, I posed the question: how could the United States allow the pointless and probably illegal war in Iraq derail the imperative and morally justified conflict in Afghanistan? Mine was not an up-to-the-minute, breaking news sort of analysis. It had long been clear that Mr. Bush’s war in Iraq was draining precious resources from the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda, and, more importantly at that point, the reconstruction projects which would create the economic and social stability to allow the feeble Kharzai government to consolidate political authority throughout the county. The game had already turned by the time I wrote:
America failed to eradicate the Taliban, failed to deliver development aid in the amounts promised, and diverted troops which might have helped to secure the problematic southern provinces — all to focus on Iraq. Any reasonable semblance of a Marshall Plan for Afghanistan would have been cheap and easy, especially when compared against the invasion of Iraq. Now, Afghanistan is under siege by a resurgent Taliban and religious fundamentalism again dominates social behavior in Afghanistan’s cities. The appallingly corrupt Kharzai government has never been able to exert its authority much beyond Kabul. Opium production is at record levels. The people of the country are poor, hungry, and frustrated. Each day the situation gets worse.
Continue reading ‘Good War Gone Bad’