2017-06-14 Wed

Construction

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I knew that this was coming. On the north-east corner of College and Yonge we will have another tall Condominium. This one 72 storeys.

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The westbound streetcar stop on this corner is already a zoo. Imagine what it will be like once the sidewalks are behind the construction barriers.

I shall have to say “Goodbye” to Bulk Barn and its monthly 30% discount scheme.

Sigh.

Clear Thinking

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When you are my age, you’ll be my age. And if you ARE my age, you will have grown up in the world of West versus East. Capitalism versus Communism. The United States of America against the Soviet Union and whose side are YOU on? The United States of America against the Soviet Union and Communist China and whose side are YOU on? The United States of America trading with Communist China and whose side are YOU on?

Between the age of ten and thirteen I accumulated, read, and swapped comics, and all too often the comics were American and portrayed “The Japs” as slit-eyed monsters and “The Krauts” as coal-scuttle helmeted ignoramuses who wouldn’t recognize a booby-trap if they trod on it. Or walked through it.

Seven years later, age Seventeen, in High School, our matriculation class was being encouraged to write to pen-pals in Japan. Five years later the northern part of Western Australia began selling entire mountains to the Japanese. Hematite iron Ore, about 65% pure iron.

Ten years after that (circa 1978) I was traveling in Germany and spotted nary a bayonet-wielding German in my travels. Indeed, there were far fewer armed police in Germany than I witnessed on the streets of Paris, city of love.

So we should not be surprised if things change. A cursory reading of, say, “The History of Europe for five-year olds” would chronicle the shifting powers and allegiances.

But humans have short-term memory. We evolved to need to know only where the Leopard Lair was this year, and didn’t need to remember last year’s favoured spot.

World war Two ended about seventy years ago. At that time Europe was bombed to hell and back, crops were ruined, people who raised the crops were displaced, livestock was reduced in number, hay stacks had been burnt, buildings torn apart. What a mess.

Seventy years later, capital has been invested and much of Europe is sparkling, robust, on its feet again.

So, seventy years ago there was a great need for an alliance with a great industrial power, such as the United States of America, and with great diplomatic powers such as Britain and France. European countries could not afford an army, or weren’t allowed to have one, and didn’t have access to nuclear weapons.

Today European countries can afford an army, are allowed to have one, and do have access to nuclear weapons – either their own, or those of (currently) allies.

Today Europe operates much more like a single power than it used to. It is not yet a single power, but it takes a brave stand in economic and trading terms.

So we should not be surprised when the United States of America backs away from Europe and Europe says, in effect, “OK. Bye. And thanks for all the help”.

The Europe of today is not the Europe we knew when we were young.

And so the United States of America of today does not have the impact we knew when we were young.