This week we witnessed a world coming together and a world falling apart, a world between engagement and terror. For the first time in nearly 90 years, an American president visited Cuba, turning upside down the anti-Yanqui narrative that has been the raison d'être of one of the Western Hemisphere's most longest-lasting dictatorships. In Brussels, it appears that some children of Muslim immigrants expressed their explosive alienation in terror attacks in the very city many of them grew up, which also happens to be the capital of Europe. (continued)
Russian President Vladimir Putin's surprise announcement this week of a withdrawal of some forces from Syria has put an end to the narrative that Russia was bound to be trapped in a Mideast quagmire. Whether in Ukraine or in Syria, it has become clear that Russia's actions are as much about its role in the world order as about those countries. (continued)
When Justin Trudeau's sophisticated and cosmopolitan father Pierre was prime minister in the 1970s and early 1980s, Canada's brand became synonymous with an open, liberal and sane society that got the balance right. During the Cold War and amid the conflicts in the developing world those days, its red and white maple leaf flag was the welcome symbol of an activist, peace-making foreign policy. However small its political clout compared to the colossus to its south, Canada enjoyed an outsized influence globally as the exemplar of the values of a civilized state. (continued)
"We have become a society of anger, paranoia [and] intimidation. And artists, writers, academics -- people who have been trying to build bridges so as to promote coexistence and peace -- know that they have lost big time."