National Newswatch

Canada, China and the Genocide Test

Feb 22 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — The word “genocide” has long presented a moral paradox, in that the people most hypersensitive to its deployment are often the same ones who should have thought of that before they embarked on the act itself. The word has a legal definition under the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime […]

The People vs. the Crocodile, or Why Myanmar Matters

Feb 15 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — When the late chef, writer, roaming cultural anthropologist and accidental foreign correspondent Anthony Bourdain launched his CNN series Parts Unknown in 2013, the first place he went was Myanmar. “Everyone I’ve met in this country so far has been to prison,” Bourdain observed during a friendly chat in Yangon with a previously incarcerated democracy activist […]

Joe Biden Didn’t Kill Keystone, Reality and Wall Street’s Green Revolution Did

Jan 30 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — In his 2020 annual Letter to CEOs — or “Larry’s Letter” — last January, BlackRock co-founder and CEO Larry Fink advised that “The evidence on climate risk is compelling investors to reassess core assumptions about modern finance,” and that his firm would henceforth avoid investments in companies that “present a high sustainability-related risk.” In case […]

‘Democracy has Prevailed’: Joe Biden Takes Power

Jan 20 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — That massive whooshing sound you heard Wednesday just before noon was the collective sigh of relief heard around the world as Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States. It was a moment that turned the page on one of the darkest chapters in the epic of American history and marked the climax […]

The Promise of 2021: A Pendulum Swing

Dec 29 2020 — Lisa Van Dusen — As a new year dawns and we magically attribute yet another dumpster fire in the rear-view mirror to a retreating anno domini rather than a confluence of largely manmade dystopian trends, hope is making a comeback. There is hope that an incoming American president who doesn’t serve as a walking, howling, tweeting indictment of democracy […]

Joe Biden’s New Role: Humanist-in-Chief

Dec 18 2020 — Lisa Van Dusen — More than any incumbent since Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office in 1933 amid the Great Depression, Joe Biden will have an epic checklist of immediate, medium-term and long-term priorities and promises to get through as 46th president of the United States. When Biden took office as Barack Obama’s vice president in 2009, the same was […]

The Biden Doctrine: Our Long International Nightmare is Over

Nov 25 2020 — Lisa Van Dusen — The most obvious takeaway for Canada from Tuesday’s unveiling of President-Elect Joe Biden’s foreign policy team was the same takeaway that surely registered in capitals across the G7 if not the G20: It was all so normal. “America is back,” Biden said as he rolled out his senior foreign policy and national security team, echoing […]

The Audacity of Normal: Barack Obama’s Promised Land

Nov 23 2020 — Lisa Van Dusen — The most obvious reason Barack Obama was a different kind of president is that he is African American. The second reason Barack Obama was a different kind of president is that his id and his ego seem to have reached an accommodation decades before it became a matter of global consequence. The third reason Barack […]

America’s Choice Between Joe Biden and Autocracy

Oct 31 2020 — Lisa Van Dusen — Two years ago, a source whose intelligence on matters pertaining to the turbid tessellations of aspiring new world order power games is usually pretty solid confidently told me that “Donald Trump will be the last democratically elected president of the United States.” As it happens, in the closing months ahead of Tuesday’s American election, Trump […]

Performative Politics and the Redundancy of Borat

Oct 29 2020 — Lisa Van Dusen — The buffoonish hamming, the slapstick vulgarity, the imbecilic racism, the bunko set pieces, the cartoonish misogyny, the elaborate dupery, the unseemly honeytraps … with such outrageous antics happening in the most powerful office in the world, politics, as has been noted, can be hard to mock these days. Sacha Baron Cohen, the British actor and […]

Trump Has Made ‘The Question’ so Much Easier to Answer

Oct 14 2020 — Lisa Van Dusen — It hasn’t come up yet in this presidential election cycle, possibly because the answer seems so overwhelmingly self-evident, but it’s status as a quadrennial ritual is so baked into US political culture that, in the West Wing episode in which it figures prominently, it enters the action as simply, “The Question”. The Question is, “Why […]

Donald Trump, Power Tool of the New Barbarians

Oct 8 2020 — Lisa Van Dusen — During the last two major global clashes between democracy and totalitarianism—unleashed by the rise of fascism that produced the Second World War and of communism that produced the Cold War—ideology was at the core of the battle, at least in theory. The process of seducing human beings as adherents until the obliteration of democracy makes […]