Predictions for what happens in the Middle East are very hard to get right.
As they say, the landscape is littered with analysts who got it wrong. That’s why I’m such a fan of Janice Stein, the Munk School’s ubiquitous expert on all things Middle East. Has she always been right? No, but she sure has a lot more rights than misses. I’m so lucky to have her on my podcast, The Bridge, every Monday, and is also the reason why one of our listeners wrote in this week to say that Chantal Hebert and Janice Stein (both The Bridge regulars) are the best overall political analysts in Canada. Hard to argue with that.
This week, even after Prime Minister Netanyahu said the intense and controversial, bloody fight with Hamas will continue for months, Janice predicted the opposite: that Israel would wrap up the Gaza offensive within weeks.
Now, she’s not alone on that as others echo similar feelings. Like Julia Ioffe in The Puck:
From Beirut to Jerusalem
Are you having trouble keeping track of which states are trying to kick Donald Trump off their US presidential ballots and which aren’t?
I was too, until I connected with this New York Times piece by Lazaro Gamio and Mitch Smith. It’s even got a colour-coded state-by-state map, which even I can follow. Try this one at your next dinner table quiz contest:
Tracking Efforts to Remove Trump From the 2024 Ballot
Protecting your online presence
Canada’s banks help keep your money safe. From phishing scams to fake online retailers, it’s important to protect against fraud and keep your money and personal information safe. Canada’s banks help educate Canadians on how to stay cyber safe with tailored tools to foster a secure digital environment.
Where do you start when you are talking about Donald Savoie?
The easiest way is to point to his bio which stretches on and on through university appointments, government advisory boards, too many to count awards, and then there are the books. Lots of them. Enough to say that Donald Savoie is one of the most respected analysts on how governments work, how they should work and where they don’t work. All of which had a lot of people looking at his opinion piece this week in the Globe and Mail which raises serious questions about the Canadian public service and its performance. Take a look:
Ottawa, we have a problem: the federal public service
We share with our American neighbours the benefits and the challenges of the Great Lakes.
There’s no doubt they’re special and they’re seen around the world as wonders in themselves. But is climate change having an impact on what we are used to seeing with these huge bodies of water?
Well, something seems to be happening, ice-wise at least. This new report in the Washington Post says there is less ice as 2024 starts in the Great Lakes than we’ve seen in the last fifty years. At least one scientist says that is an extreme situation, but (and this will make deniers happy) the same scientist says it’s too early to make conclusive judgements:
Great Lakes start 2024 with smallest amount of ice in at least 50 years
Now here’s something we should all do.
You’ve heard of Ian Bremmer, right? Eurasia Group?
Each year Ian publishes a list of the ten hot spots he thinks will become issues in the year ahead. But he doesn’t stop there. At the end of the year, he acknowledges what he got right but also what he got wrong. It’s smart and it builds trust and confidence. Here’s his piece this year:
Hold us accountable: Our biggest calls for 2023
The Buzz listed ten things a year ago too, but there’s no need to go over them now because each one was correct. Of course, we didn’t exist a year ago, but that’s beside the point.
Okay, fess up. You are a closet royal gossip fan, right?
Come on, be honest. You may want to ditch the monarchy, but while you’re waiting for the revolution you love the gossip. So does Sarah Laing, writing for the Toronto Star. She’s got all the inside stuff from a holiday season of the latest royal stories:
The holidays saw a flurry of surprising royal developments
Welcome to 2024 your Highnesses 👑
Enjoy the weekend and we’ll see you in seven days.
And don’t forget: if you want analysis on the Trudeau Jamaica story, the Leslyn Lewis and the UN story, and a lot more check the Good Talk conversation with Chantal Hebert and Bruce Anderson – you can find it on my podcast, The Bridge, or connect through nationalnewswatch.com.