Week of April 4th 

I have fallen behind so some of this is not from the week of April 4th. Amongst the things that I found interesting: 

  • Vietnamese investment in the United States
  • US insistence that Putin and Russia be charged for war crimes in the Ukraine
  • “Don’t Say Gay” laws
  • The Good Country Index
  • Sunflower oil shortage

VinFast invests US$2 billion in North Carolina

The Vietnam war dominated much of my youth. It was the first TV war with daily body counts and with lots of gory video. The American propaganda machine hyped  the threat of a communist Southeast Asia and the villainy of the Vietcong. The US officially withdrew on March 29, 1973 after signing a peace accord two months earlier. The US government had finally understood that it could not win this domestically unpopular conflict.  

Fast forward almost fifty years and VinFast is making a US$2 billion investment in a factory in North Carolina. There it will produce batteries, electric buses, and SUVs and create 7000 jobs. VinFast is the automotive arm of Vingroup, the largest conglomerate in Vietnam. I wonder how accepting this investment from a company listed on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange and a socialist entity  went over with the likes of the loony Madison Cawthorne (R-N.C.) Did he make it to the announcement party?

Hey North Carolina! How do you like socialism now?

Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin, and the ICC

There can be no doubt that Russia, multiple members of the Russian armed forces, and Vladimir Putin are guilty of war crimes in the Ukraine. No surprise! They committed the same atrocities in Chechnya, Syria, Afghanistan, and Georgia. Getting justice for any of these war crimes faces long odds

I find it ironic that Joe Biden seeks criminal prosecution by the International Criminal Court  (“ICC”). The 123 adherents to the ICC signed and ratified the founding treaty (the “Rome Agreement”) in  July 1998.  The US never ratified its adherence. 

Why? Because of concerns that ICC prosecutors would have unchecked power to subject US servicemen and politicians to the judgement of the court. The US initially pushed for the creation of the ICC. However, once it realized its jurisdiction could apply to potential US war crimes, its congress refused to ratify. Clearly, a case of what is good for the goose is not good for the gander. The gander may have something(s) to hide.

There are 123 countries party to the Rome Statute. Some forty countries never signed the treaty, including China, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Several dozen others signed the statute, but their legislatures never ratified it. These include Egypt, Iran, Israel, Russia, Sudan, Syria, and the United States.

Council on Foreign Relations
The ICC and the US have a troubled history!

“Don’t Say Gay” Laws

Did you see the photo of Ron DeSantis signing Florida’s HB1557 – a law that bans instruction of sexual orientation and gender identity until after grade 3. Suited white men and uniformed children! Scary!

So, if kindergarteners John or Mary show up at a school event with two moms or two dads, can teachers then answer Billy’s questions about different parental situations? The Evangelicals may just say John’s and Mary’s parents are sinners! That would be evil! Also, the law requires school personnel to “out” LGBTQ students to potentially unsupportive parents. Also mean-spirited!

Margaret Atwood – you got the location of Handmaid’s Tale wrong! Florida is Gilead! 

The Good Country Index 

We Canadians are hard on ourselves. Count me amongst the discontented because I think we can do better. The Good Country Index measures what each country on earth contributes to humanity’s common good and what it takes away. Canada ranks sixth behind three Scandinavian countries and two other European nations. Sweden topped the list. The US ranks 46th. 

US News ranks Canada as the world’s best country in 2021. Monocle Magazine ranks Canada eighth on its “soft power” index. 

I know – all indexes are subjective. That being said, they are indicative that the country remains respected on the world stage. 

Sunflower Oil Shortage

I hesitated. I don’t want to make light of the human tragedy that is the war in the Ukraine. However I did find it interesting that:

  • 80% of the world’s sunflower oil comes from Russia and the Ukraine
  • It is a key ingredient for the manufacture of potato chips or “crisps” in the UK
  • This commodity is already being rationed in Spain and Greece
  • The UK consumes more crisps than the rest of Europe combined
  • UK consumption – six billion packets or 150 packets per person.

So, maybe there will be more pork scratchings  served at the pub!

I love going to a good pub!

Quotation of the week:

The fog of war, social media rat holes, political demagoguery, are all economical with the truth so I thought this was a suitable quote for the week of April 4th. 

“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” 

George Orwell
Golden wheat fields / sunflowers and blue skies symbolized on Ukraine’s flag

So that is it – for the week of April 4th

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