Archive for the ‘World Politics’ Category

Trump’s Triumph?

Thursday, December 5th, 2019

It will only be after someone translates the French word “merde” for him that Donald Trump will really know what the audience of world leaders thought of his plans for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Trump’s triumph this week is the meeting of the organization in England to celebrate its 70 years of protecting the world with truth and justice, in the American way.

If Brexit goes through as planned, this could be the last time that the United Kingdom will play host or any meaningful role in NATO,. Trump even had the chance to be fêted by the Queen the other day as sort of a farewell gesture. (Would that the Americans could rid themselves of him so easily.)

But Trump’s bête noire, French president Emmanuel Macron, will still be belittling the importance of NATO to annoy him. He and that kid from Canada (with his snide remarks) seem to be there just to make life difficult for the Trump-in-chief. It is assumed though that Trump made no more threats to pull the U.S. out of the alliance.

They would be luckier if Turkey made the same threat. A resignation from that quarter would certainly be accepted. Turkey’s president Erdogan thinks he can keep one foot in Russia and the other in Europe and that is not sitting well with his NATO allies. It seems Erdogan has recently bought an air defence system from Russia and nobody has figured it out yet if it is to fight off the Kurds, the Syrians, the Ukrainians or the Americans?

Turkey’s allies might baulk at the idea of rushing to the defence of Turkey, when it’s overrun by the Kurds.

Trump must be having fantasies about his triumphant return to Washington, such as entering the city with Macron in chains, dragged along behind the Trump chariot.

But like Julius Caesar, Trump might be misreading the “lean and hungry look” of the Democrats and miscounting the number of Republican impeachment knives ready to do him in.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

And when they are down, they are down.

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

Funny, that nursery rhyme has been running through my head. You know the one: The grand old Duke of York, He had ten thousand men. He marched them up to the top of the hill. And marched them down again. It seems the modern Duke of York has gotten himself into a spot of bother, he has!

The second son of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Andrew, is the current Duke of York. This is a title that has gone through many hands throughout English history. It has usually been a title given to the second son of a reigning monarch, more than a few having gone on to become the monarch—most recently Elizabeth II’s father, George VI.

But Prince Andrew would not likely make that cut today as he is behind his older brother, Prince Charles and Charles’ oldest son and grandchildren in the order of succession. He has also let the side down in his relationship with an American convicted sex offender.

In a rather ill-considered television interview at Buckingham Palace recently, Prince Andrew really bollixed up the Royal scene while trying to tone down the criticism of his actions. In fact, he made things worse.

What was surprising about it is that despite the favouritism, the Queen has always shown for Andrew, she is actually very careful of the royals’ reputation. It is a very valuable commodity.

It is going to become an even more important commodity if the silly Brexit argument takes the Brits out of the European Union. It is most unlikely that the United Kingdom will stay the same for very long under those circumstances. Scotland is most likely going to leave England to stay with the EU, as well as Northern Ireland is most likely to join the rest of Ireland.

Oh well, the royals are the Brits’ problem. Oh darn, I just remembered, they are also our royals. Too bad.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Justin Trudeau defends NATO?

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

There seems to be a difference of opinion between French President Emmanuel Macron and prime minister Justin Trudeau of Canada. Macron says that the 70-year old North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is suffering brain death, while Canada’s PM thinks it is doing ‘just fine, thank you.’

Trudeau insists that NATO is holding its own as a group of countries that come together to share values and an ongoing commitment to shared security.

And if he thinks such defence will earn him any ‘thanks’ in Washington, Trudeau is whistling past the graveyard. Donald Trump will be just as stupid when he gets up tomorrow as he was today.

The Americans who supported NATO in the past deserve much of the credit for creating and holding NATO together as any other country. Yet, to not police Turkish despot Erdogan’s flirting with the Russians is a serious error in leadership. To abandon allies such as the Kurds in Syria is also a disgrace. And yet all Trump complains about is the countries that, he thinks, are not spending enough on defence.

The Canadian government and its citizens have backed NATO since its inception. And Canada has done its part in trying to keep the organization strong and effective.

And it is hard to imagine the Canadian who would be proud of their prime minister kissing the nether parts of that ass in the White House.

As Babel-on-the-Bay reported yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron has taken a bold step forward to build a new reality in a unified Europe. He may not be the reincarnation of Charlemagne and a united Europe would not be the Holy Roman Empire but it would be a financial and military heavy weight. Monsieur le President Macron does not think small.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

The new Charlemagne: Emmanuel Macron?

Monday, November 11th, 2019

Until the last four years, the view of Europe has been as an economic union. That is now changing and we can start to think of Europe as a political union. And as a political union, it joins China and the United States of America as one of the three most powerful political entities in the world.

It used to be that as an economic union, the Brits provided the humour, the Germans supplied the industrial and organizational muscle and the French provided the ideas.  That has all changed now as the Brits write themselves out of any future importance and German Chancellor Angela Merkel retires. It is now the occupant of the Elysée Palace in Paris who can write Europe’s future.

And he has to. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is crumbling. American leadership is erratic and unreliable. American allies in the Middle East have been stabbed in the back by America’s unthinking brutality. The Chinese want nothing to do with the American leadership while Russia’s Putin considers Trump an ally. And the despots of Turkey and North Korea sing songs of praise for their friend Donald Trump.

It is almost 2000 years since Charlemagne brought order and cohesion to Europe. It is easier this time. No wars are necessary. Logic and business are the only arguments. And the French president builds his case well.

You can read his arguments in the recent feature by The Economist. He says that Europe stands at the precipice and must stand together. With or without the Brits in tow, Europe has to start to think as a single political entity. It has to unify its armies—and probably save money in the process. It needs to understand the team spirit.

Many believe Macron has bitten off too much in trying to bring Europe together. He is a risk taker. He would not be where he is today, were he not. I am sure he understands that.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

“How dare you?” Greta Thunberg.

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

Somebody must have explained to the 16-year old from Sweden that you have to be brash to get noticed in North America. She would be quite unlikely to say ‘How dare you?’ to her elders back home in Sweden. Yet it worked at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York on Tuesday.

But the point is that it took that small-sized girl to tell hundreds of climate representatives from around the world that their climate change plans are inadequate to save the planet.

She is coming to Montreal to take part in a climate awareness march on Friday. Many schools are shutting down for the day to encourage their students to take part. And if our politicians also pay attention, it will be worthwhile.

But it is tough in a country that has climate change deniers ruling key provinces and contending in the current election. We have the premier of Alberta fighting to get the Trans Mountain pipeline twinned so that more polluting bitumen from the tar sands can be shipped to other countries to pollute some more. And he is supported by the premier of Ontario, our largest province, the other Prairie premiers and the leader of the national conservatives, Andrew Scheer.

“How dare you,” Mr. Scheer? And, “how dare you,” Mr. Trudeau?

Yes, Canadians also want to know what prime minister Trudeau intends to do with that pipeline.

Canada cannot even meet its reduced carbon emissions by 2030, let alone the proposed new targets for 2050. Maybe our politicians are hoping they will not have to take responsibility for their failures in another 30 years. Will the politicians of 2050 just move the targets to 2100? What will be the point if nothing is left? Do we want a planet, no longer worth saving? Is greed to decide our world’s future? Are we sewing the whirlwind that will destroy our world?

“How dare we?”

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Mother of all Parliaments.

Friday, September 6th, 2019

This mother certainly has her problems. And if you believed Theresa May was incompetent as prime minister, you probably should not have gotten your hopes up for Boris Johnson. The U.K. parliament at the Palace of Westminster has not seen so many comings and goings since the British civil war in the mid 1600s. (Mind you, Oliver and Richard Cromwell and the Roundheads probably kept better discipline.)

But Johnson! That guy not only shamed London’s barbers but his thinking is about as addled as his hair. I was surprised that the French police let him into Biarritz recently for the G7 conference. He looks more like an escapee from a Russian Gulag than a Brit. And does he really think that a no-deal Brexit would work? It is as though U.K. voters never realized what a ‘pig in a poke’ Brexit could be. It seems to be good reason today for the return of Northern Ireland to Dublin and Scotland to the Scots.

The Brits could pretend that the entire Brexit mess was just another of those silly Christmas pantomimes that they use to entertain the children. Someone who looks like Boris can wear a wig and play the villain and chase the long-legged girl who plays the part of a boy.

The more serious question at this stage is whether the European Union wants the English troublemakers to stay with them? This Brexit business has certainly caused some dissent in the ranks on the continent. Without the stabilizing hand of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in the near future, the EU could see a rise in the right wing that could destabilize what has been a strong and effective economic union. Brussels might have bit off a little more than it could chew sometimes but the overall effectiveness and benefits of the union cannot be denied.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

To be in Biarritz in August.

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

It is like making the scene in Gstaad in February, you really should do Biarritz in August. It is reserved for the world of the rich and famous and now the world leaders. While the Boris Johnson’s and Donald Trump’s might have lowered the bar somewhat, Emmanuel Macron knows how to throw a good party. And he knows how to treat guests.

There will be no wrangling at the French president’s party. He has already told them there will be no communique of agreement. He expects little agreement. Macron considers the tiff between the European Union and Boris Johnson and his Brexit problems are puny beside the concern for the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.

I expect the other world leaders to be civil and they will be reluctant to tell Donald Trump how childish is his trade war with China. He is not smart enough to realize that his stupidity is driving the world into a serious economic recession.

And speaking of dim bulbs, it was disgusting to see Boris Johnson going all buddy-buddy with Justin Trudeau as though the colonies could save the U.K. from economic disaster when it is outside the European Union. Trudeau has to keep out of the Brexit mess if he really wants the CETA trade deal ratified any time soon.

Macron even sprang a surprise guest on the world leaders in an attempt to reduce the tensions with the Iranians. It fell a bit flat but good for the French for trying.

While Macron is so busy trying to be a good host, it was Donald Tusk, president of the European Council who was trying desperately to pull the G5 or 6 or 7 or 8 back to its purpose of cooperation and trade. These countries account for the majority of the world’s trade and if they cannot work together, we are in a worse mess than we thought.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

The Brits are crazy too.

Monday, July 29th, 2019

There is a pattern emerging. What particular hell we are heading for might still be a mystery but I fear the pace is accelerating. What you would have thought impossible a few years ago is to-day’s horror.

To make matters worse, there is no discerning a rational path for the phenomenon. For one, I think it started with Donald Trump arguing with President Obama about where he was born. Now, why would that lead to Donald Trump defeating Hillary Clinton? You can hardly blame Clinton for not knowing how to put down Trump. Nobody knew what to do about Trump; least of all Trump. He was surprised as every other American when his ridiculous campaign won the Electoral College and the presidency of the United States of America.

And America has suffered the indignity ever since.

But Canadians have nothing to laugh at. We had an indication of the problem when that misogynist Jason Kenney torpedoed Rachel Notley in Alberta. A third of the Canadian population soon got their come-uppance in Ontario when that nitwit Doug Ford suddenly landed in our laps as premier of our province. And we had no idea why we deserved it. All we knew was that there was a strange disease invading our lands. We were electing fools and charlatans.

But, not to be undercut by lesser minds, the Brits were out to show us up. It started with some Brexit agitation and soon got out of hand. In their typical way, the Brits delegated the task of soothing the pain of Brexit to a person who would do better running a private girls’ school.

They have now replaced the headmistress with one of the nincompoops who started the Brexit business. Would you believe that the guy with the perpetual bad hair day is now the first minister in the Queen’s cabinet? This could drive the poor old dear to consume more of the palace’s Sherry.

Can you not just imagine Boris Johnson flying back from Brussels one day soon, waving a piece of paper and claiming: “Brexit, in our time!”

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Trudeau should listen to McCallum.

Monday, July 15th, 2019

John McCallum was building a very solid career as a professor and as an economist when he took a misstep into politics in 2000. While it took him a while to learn the ropes, his greatest political success was in Justin Trudeau’s government as immigration, refugees and citizenship minister. He brought in large numbers of Syrian refugees with help from Canadians from coast to coast. He made his mark.

But what amount of ego encouraged him to take the post of ambassador to China, we might never understand? He could hardly be so foolish as to think his ethnic Chinese wife gave him a leg up. This man, who throughout his career had been paid for his opinions, was now supposed to be a noviciate to Chrystia Freeland in Canada’s foreign affairs. That was a bad position for a free thinker.

John McCallum would have been introduced in Beijing as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary (meaning he had the right to speak for the Queen in the right of Canada). He barely opened his mouth for the next two years but that was learning the job time. When he did speak his mind, he was fired.

And that firing did no good for John McCallum and it did no good for Justin Trudeau. What John said was his opinion that Canada would be better off to release Huawei executive Meng Wanzhuo. Donald Trump had indicated that the request for extradition was political. Canada has an obligation to comply with legal requests for extradition to the U.S. for legal reasons but not for political.

The prime minister ignored the door that the American president had opened. What it said to the Chinese was that Trudeau was so firm in his desire to support the Trump position that he would fire a man who told the truth.

To make matters worse, John McCallum was fired at the end of January and no replacement has been announced six months later. That is an insult to the Chinese. They have recalled the Chinese ambassador in retaliation.

And just to rub salt, the conservatives are now complaining about some recent McCallum remarks. He told the Chinese that further retaliation would just help the conservatives in the coming election in Canada. The conservatives told the Canadian Security Intelligence Service about it. What exactly CSIS can do about a private citizen expressing an opinion, we are not sure.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Now pinch hitting for Canada: Donald Trump.

Saturday, June 22nd, 2019

We really need that. Can you think of anyone less able to speak for Canada to the Chinese? Donald Trump was grandstanding with Canada’s prime minister in the Oval Office in Washington the other day. The media had been allowed in for some quick questions and to get their pictures and quotes. Trump told the media that he would be going to bat with China on behalf of the Canadians.

Mr. Trump was telling the media that he was meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan next week. He said he would take the opportunity to ask for the release of the two Canadians who are being held hostage by the Chinese in retaliation for Canada’s detaining of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou for possible deportation to the face the courts in the United States.

What is surprising about this is that Canada is also a member of the G20. Obviously, Mr. Trudeau could meet with Xi Jinping and ask for himself. It is hard to believe that the Chinese president would listen to Donald Trump before he would listen to Justin Trudeau. It is hardly likely that Donald Trump would make a more cogent argument for the release of the Canadians.

And if there was any horse trading involved, the Huawei executive is presently vacationing in her luxurious Vancouver mansion awaiting an extradition hearing. We have something China wants. China has something we want. Is that not the essence of a horse trade?

And Justin Trudeau should stop giving us all the lip service about Canada being a country of laws. He has recently proved that is all B.S. Especially when you consider his actions with Jodi Wilson-Raybould, who was a fair to middling justice minister for Canada, until the prime minister wanted to play patty-cake with SNC-Lavalin, to save them the embarrassment of being found guilty of bribery.

It would certainly be appreciated by Canadians if Justin Trudeau would have his own discussion with the Chinese.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me