• It has been all Ferguson all the time.

    Circumstances remind one of the old wry observation, “Little did I know that when I started to drain the swamp that I would be up to my hips in alligators.” Our racial swamp seems to produce multiple generations of angry alligators.

    Rioters in Ferguson, Missouri, chose to riot over a grand jury decision not to indict a (white) police officer for shooting and killing a (black) criminal. The grand jury heard 60 witnesses; it produced hundreds of pages of testimony. Expert criminologists predicted the grand jury would not indict the police officer. In that regard, the grand jury took the hard way out — they could have kicked the case to a formal jury trial and avoided what will probably be personal danger for their decision.

    The rioters, however, translated “justice” into burning and looting properties and automobiles of individuals with no connection to the police officer or the victim. Essentially, they wanted the police officer dead their only

    Read More »from Ferguson: African-Americans are responsible for creating real change in the U.S.
  • Missourians are internationally known for their slogan, “I’m from Missouri; show me.” What happened in the state to African-American teenager Michael Brown last August has resulted in two sharply differing versions of what occurred. Significantly better race relations for residents of Missouri and America as a whole will require both sides to show a new willingness to reconcile and an iron determination to avoid similar tragedies in future.

    The protester view is that the unarmed Brown was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white policeman, while his hands were held up. His body was left in the street for 4-1/2 hours. The outrage was compounded when a grand jury refused to indict Wilson for any crime.

    The other side says that Brown had stolen cigarillos from a store just before being confronted by the officer. When ordered to walk on the sidewalk instead of the street, he charged and was attempting to seize Wilson’s gun when the officer fired in self-defence.

    In the background are

    Read More »from Ferguson: Americans must learn to respect their neighbours and act as one national family
  • Russian bombers repeatedly fly toward the Arctic and Canadian borders.

    Russian bombers plan long flights along the West Coast and to the Gulf of Mexico.

    A Russian naval battle group of four warships (cruiser, destroyer, oiler, and sea-going tug to address breakdowns) visit the waters off Australia.

    Russian armor and infantry – in transparent “disguise”  invade eastern Ukraine after seizing Crimea.

    Except for the final item, this activity is “ho-hum” in politicomilitary terms.

    However, it makes for good propaganda. Presumably, it will generate positive Putin PR in Moscow, ostensibly showing Russian citizens the reach of their armed forces, while distracting from economic exigencies. It can also be used as an adroit scare tactic in Europe and North America to suggest that “The Russians Are Coming” (or at least that we need to increase military spending).

    But really, these are just show-the-flag exercises with little military meaning.

    Essentially, if you have armed forces, you must

    Read More »from Putin flexes his muscles: It's best to ignore the Russian leader's manoeuvring
  • Vladimir Putin was snubbed at the G20 meeting in Australia by virtually every leader over his repeated violations of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. This would have caused a less pugnacious Russian president to reflect on his long-demonstrated contempt for international covenants intended to build a more peaceful and prosperous world.

    When confronted by Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper about Ukraine, Putin repeated his serial falsehood by denying the occupation. He left the conference prematurely, seemingly disdainful of other participants despite claiming otherwise in a subsequent Moscow press conference.

    Before the G20 meeting, Putin had sent Russian aircraft close to Canada, the U.S.,U.K., Denmark and the Baltic states. Four Russian warships crossed international waters near Australia. Russian troops without insignia on their uniforms again crossed into eastern Ukraine with 32 tanks and 16 howitzer artillery systems on Nov. 7, in violation of the Minsk truce agreed to by

    Read More »from Putin flexes his muscles: The West must continue to stand up to the Russian bully
  • Michael Zehaf Bibeau is shown in this Twitter photo posted an Islamic State media account.Michael Zehaf Bibeau is shown in this Twitter photo posted an Islamic State media account.

    It is impolite (and undiplomatic) to say “I told you so.”

    But I will do so anyway: “I told you so.”

    The terrorists’ attacks in Quebec and on Parliament Hill are wake up calls only to those willfully asleep for many years.

    Ever since 9/11, Canadians have lived an ostrich-like existence regarding terrorism.

    Americans (and Canadians) have read and listened to a protracted litany of excuses and explanations.

    “It couldn’t happen to us. We’re too nice a people (everybody loves us – really). We need to examine 'root causes' of terrorism. Islam is a religion of peace. We shouldn’t fight ISIS in Iraq. Canada must have failed these nice young men for them to have done something so misguided. These are criminals, not terrorists.”

    And more, politely, sotto voce, “The Americans got what they deserved in 9/11.” Implicitly, the United States is reaping the whirlwind from the winds it sowed. We relentlessly support Israeli repression and don’t appreciate the injustices done against Palestinians,

    Read More »from Terrorism in Canada: Time to pull our heads out of the sand and attack the terrorist threats
  • A Canadian Soldier salutes the hearse carrying the body of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.A Canadian Soldier salutes the hearse carrying the body of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.

    The murders of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu evoked an enormous outpouring of national grief. Many Canadians remain affected by both tragedies.

    As both perpetrators are dead, no one will ever really know how much of the motivation was criminal, mental illness, substance abuse, religion, or some of each. If the motivation was primarily terrorism, it has had the opposite effect. Canadian values, such as respect for all members of the national family, seem stronger than ever.

    What, aside from tightening security on Parliament Hill, at the monument and similar locations across the country, should be done to minimize the possibility of recurrence? There is a major risk of overreaction, such as occurred in Oct. 1970, when the separatist Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross and strangled Quebec Labour minister Pierre Laporte.

    Since 1914, The War Measures Act has

    Read More »from Terrorism in Canada: Improving national security should not come at the cost of of our civil rights
  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan at a meeting in Ankara.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan at a meeting in Ankara.

    It is time to talk turkey about Turkey.

    Ankara, Turkey's capital, has been the proverbial elephant in the Middle East annex for years – particularly since the struggle to replace Syria’s president-dictator Bashar Assad began in 2011. Ostensibly, Turkey seeks to depose Assad for a range of political and religious reasons. Its president, Recep Erdogan, reportedly deeply dislikes Assad. But he declined to take direct action to impose Ankara’s will on Syria early in the fighting, eliminating Assad and installing the more moderate range of rebels in control of the country. And, not incidentally, this reinforced Erdogan’s position as the strongest Muslim leader in the region.

    But his decision not to decide remains puzzling.

    There is little question that the Turkish armed force, which is the strongest Islamic-Muslim military in the region, had the capability to destroy the Syrian military. To be sure, the Syrian army has proved to be tough, loyal, and effective in its own right, essentially

    Read More »from Turkey in the crosshairs: The U.S. must mobilize and strike regardless of Turkey's stance
  • An explosion rocks Kobani during a reported suicide car bomb attack by ISIS.An explosion rocks Kobani during a reported suicide car bomb attack by ISIS.

    Following the recent tragic deaths of two Canadian soldiers at the hands of domestic terrorists, who both appeared to be seeking to assist the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), some Canadians might feel that our country should quit the international coalition confronting ISIS.

    The murders, however, appear likely to cause more Canadians to be cautiously favourable to continue the air campaign against jihadis, who have been denounced by Muslim leaders and believers worldwide.

    The campaign against the estimated 20,000 mostly Sunni combatants of ISIS in Iraq and Syria can probably only be won decisively by soldiers. If so, the challenge is to obtain ground troops quickly from regional governments and communities, such as the Kurds, who are already confronting ISIS effectively. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey understandably queries why his soldiers are being pushed to intervene when other NATO members refuse to send ground troops.

    In an encouraging recent reversal,

    Read More »from Turkey in the crosshairs: Kurds from Iraq, Syria and Turkey should unite to fight ISIS on the ground
  • A woman reacts as pro-democracy protestors gather outside the government headquarters office in Hong Kong.A woman reacts as pro-democracy protestors gather outside the government headquarters office in Hong Kong.

    With the world media outside China focusing on Hong Kong’s democracy protests, it’s easy to forget that it began as a fishing village, became a British crown colony in 1841, and had Canadian soldiers help defend it until the Japanese seized it in late 1941. From 1945 to 2011, its population ballooned from 600,000 to seven million. Today, Hong Kong is a leading world financial and trade centre, enjoying the ninth-highest GDP per capita ($53,203 vs. $11,904 for China) and supporting about a third of the foreign capital flowing into China.

    Various factors have assisted Hong Kong’s development, including: The rule of law/independent courts, economic freedom, free speech/media independence, and an influx of entrepreneurial refugees from Maoist China after 1949. Despite efforts by Beijing to favour Shanghai before and since the transfer of sovereignty in 1997, Hong Kong still surpasses its rival as the principal financial centre in China.

    Canada’s Clive Ansley, who practised law in Shanghai

    Read More »from Hong Kong: It's a difficult battle, but the students should get their say
  • Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying toasts with Chinese commander Tan Benhong.Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying toasts with Chinese commander Tan Benhong.

    Watching events in Hong Kong play out – even from thousands of miles away left an anticipatory sick twinge in one’s stomach. Their conclusion now appears more likely to end with a whimper than a bang.

    There was a “deju vu all over again” element to what we were seeing. It was not just the quarter-century ago Tiananmen Square massacres. It is the more recent, ended badly, “democracy” surges in Tehran, Cairo, Damascus, and Tripoli. The prototype “color” revolution immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union no longer appear to be the paradigm for peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy. And February’s bloodshed in Kiev is still being played out in sanguinary exchanges on Ukraine’s eastern frontier.

    The blunt reality is governments have an overwhelming monopoly of force. If they choose to employ it against their essentially unarmed citizenry, they will prevail. Armed forces are increasingly divorced from citizens and/or their beliefs. They have a greater

    Read More »from Hong Kong: Picking a fight with China probably isn't a good idea


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