Canada faces a crisis. Don Cherry, "Grapes" to friends, soon turns 80. It is as primary a crisis as can come to a happy people: Recall England without Victoria. Darkness descended. Cherry is to Canada what Uncle Sam was to America. He appears every Saturday night in his Coach’s Corner segment of Hockey Night in Canada. When he passes, Canada will feel an emptiness. And it will come at an awkward time, as Canada is just now rising in the world.
One day our secretary of State is negotiating with intense commitment, passion and skill to bring Israelis and Palestinians together in search of peace.
The next day, the secretary of State is championing strong action to stop mass murder by Syria including barbaric and criminal use of chemical weapons.
Secretary of State John Kerry, a man of military heroism and diplomatic savvy, is a man for all seasons who knows the ropes and speaks the truth. Kerry is right to make Herculean efforts for Middle East peace and to make equally Herculean efforts to hold Syrian leaders — mass murderers who commit crimes against humanity — accountable for their criminal slaughters.
As Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and BFF John McCain (R-Ariz.) head to Egypt on President Obama’s orders, should not Nancy Mace, who brings Graham a primary challenge, take a trip to Israel to establish contrast? Mace has the opportunity here to educate and awaken Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the avant garde of the rising conservative generation, just as Dorothy did her erstwhile triumvirate on their journey to Oz.
Give a standing ovation for Secretary of State John Kerry, whose Herculean efforts have brought the Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table.
Even though they are negotiating about how to continue negotiating, and even though the road will be long and hard, what Kerry has accomplished is an extraordinary achievement.
Earlier today I tweeted:
@hillaryclinton used # of miles traveled as measure of excellence as SOS; @johnKerry uses # of phone calls made. How'bout # of crises fixed?
I thought it worth expanding on, just a bit beyond 140 characters.
Today I write from Zagreb, Croatia, a sparkling testament to Croatia’s status as the crown jewel of the Balkans. As I walk the streets, there are several important characteristics of this region that strike me.
The first is the overall cleanliness. Crime and garbage on the streets are practically non-existent. The people proudly remind me at every opportunity that Croatia has the highest density of Wi-Fi in the world.
Hearing things like this would seem to indicate that this is a wired country filled with gadgets like iPads, Kindles and all the other trappings of the modern digital age. To my surprise, though, despite the high levels of education thanks to institutions like the University of Zagreb, this is a country clinging to its parochial roots.
The Washington Post’s offering on the Fourth, which is three days away from Canada Day, is an essay by Paul Pirie declaring “The American Revolution was a Flop.” Pirie is, the byline says, “a former historian” in Ontario. As far as the “pursuit of happiness” goes, he says, Americans are unlikely to find it, “provided that they are not rotting in jail.”
Are Canadians happier than Americans? Possibly Canadian comics are, and approximately 1 in 3 Canadians not rotting in jail is a stand up comic. They, as representative Canadians, seem happy. Canada is rising, and we have been flailing at least since Bush II, probably Clinton I. But the American Revolution was not a flop. As the British journalist John Browne has said, it was the American Revolution that democratized England (and therefore Canada).
As I write these words early in the afternoon of July 3, and America prepares to celebrate our independence on July 4, countless millions of Egyptians have renewed their campaign to restore hope to Egypt, people around the world honor and pray for Nelson Mandela, and Secretary of State John Kerry is attempting a noble and Herculean effort to bring a two-state solution and peace and prosperity to Israel and Palestine.
These are big issues. These are big events. These are big moments in history. Let me repeat here a proposal I offered some time ago.
On Monday, Croatia became the 28th country to join the European Union. While its accession may not appear that significant — it is home to only 4.5 million people and is not even as large as West Virginia — it demonstrates the ongoing attraction of joining a powerful bloc.
The New York Times reports that “the incentive of joining the union pushed it to revamp a statist post-Communist economy, pass more than 350 laws and arrest more than a dozen Croatian and Bosnian-Croat war criminals.”
Given current conditions in Croatia — unemployment is close to 20 percent, youth unemployment is over 50 percent and the country’s credit rating has been “junk” as of this past December — some Croats believe that they can only benefit by integrating into the EU.
That judgment, however, is far from universal. In the coastal city of Dubrovnik, a UNESCO world heritage site where my family and I have been visiting the past few days, virtually all of the people I’ve spoken with — young and old, occupying a wide range of professions — were either indifferent or opposed to the move. In fact, despite (or perhaps because of) the heightened scrutiny that’s being foisted on Croatia, many of them sounded like they wanted nothing more than to be left alone.
I see in press notes that R&B singer Alicia Keys has been criticized by artists such as Alice Walker for planning to perform in Tel Aviv, Israel, on July 4.
Walker doesn’t know Keys but nonetheless advised the singer that it grieved her to learn Keys was performing in an “apartheid” country and thus putting herself in "soul danger" by resisting a rising tide of resistance to Israel's policies toward Palestinians. Stephen Hawking also canceled a scientific conference when challenged to do so by Palestinian organizations on the same grounds. The phenomenon is not unique in recent history.